A comment on this blog questioned if there were apps that supported early imitation of lines and shapes also known as pre-writing skills. My search (which could easily have missing apps) found that such apps seem to be in limited supply! Most of the apps focus on practicing letters and numbers and not what OT’s consider the prerequisites to letter formation.
Apps that provide some of practice in making or tracing basic shapes or pre-writing skills include:
Geometry (Mathomatix) – (free) app that has a game “Say Cheese” that practices making basic shapes as circle, square, triangle and rectangle. It provides feedback on student performance giving auditory feedback when you are not successful. It does not provide cues to directions for tracking and I found the triangle to be somewhat hard. This app does provide additional shape matching games that I believe would be motivating for students.
Let’s Make Shapes lite – (free) this app practices tracing over lines for basic shapes. There are lines to trace but limited visual cues of direction of drawing is provided. Using the lite version had some limitations but was great to be able to trial the app. This app appeared to have possibilities despite the lack of visual cues given for direction of drawing. Worth trialing.
Pattern Painter – from Tickle Tap Toddlers (1.99). This app is primarily for practicing drawing shapes. I did not trial this app. Rating in iTunes were a 2 of 5 which made me reluctant to purchase and trial the app.
Kandy Fish– (.99) Also has a game that traces shapes using a cute ocean with fish theme. Made only for iPad, I did not trial this app however it looks appealing for young children.
Other possibilities for tracing to consider are:
Whizzy Kids – (free) The Finger Mazes that is one among other games provided in Whizzy Kids app. Students trace horizontal lines with graded degrees of difficulty in the Finger Maze game. It does not provide the tasks of developmental sequence of writing, but good visual motor skill development for kids.
SkyWrite – (free) – this is a fabulous app with an airplane that flies and draws where you draw on the screen with an air stream (you can size this and do other customizations). The air stream stays on the screen for a period of time until it fades or you erase it. You could model drawing shapes and basic lines on Sky Write and have the student trace around or over it with another color of the air stream. It is a really an incredibly cool app that students enjoy.
Doodle Buddy – (free) is a must have drawing program that allows you many tools within its drawing program. Here are a few things you could do to work on pre-writing skills using Doodle Buddy:
- Use stamps or stencils for a student or yourself to make a shape in Doodle Buddy app.
- Draw the shape and have the student trace over it with another color in Doodle Buddy.
- Draw a shape or beginning lines using a wider line, then have the student use a thinner line to draw on top of the wider line and within the line.
- Draw a shape in Doodle Buddy and have them erase the shape with the eraser tools.
- Take a picture of a shape or line drawing worksheet your iPad2 or iPod Touch camera and bring it into Doodle Buddy as a picture. Have the students trace over the shape or line drawing using the drawing tools in Doodle Buddy.
- Locate an on-line worksheets of basic shapes or lines. With the worksheet open on your iDevice, take a screen shot (press home and power off button simultaneously) of the online worksheet. A picture of the worksheet will be placed in your Photo Album. The picture can be opened in Doodle Buddy and available to be traced on in Doodle Buddy using the colored marker/crayons. You could insert arrows for cues of where to start and what direction to draw.
You won’t have the verbal feedback but you will have a mobile, electronic worksheet(s) available to you. There are endless things you can do with the camera and tools in Doodle Buddy.
If you have a chance to try any of the apps or tracing activities let us know how it works! If anyone find any other apps please share!