For those that work with preschool to early elementary aged students, Toca Boca is a familiar name for the creative apps they produce. For a limited time, their app Toca Builders (iPhone/iPad) is free. Developed with 6-8 year olds in mind, this is a fun app that features building with directionality and spatial relationship skills needed while constructing and operating the builder. Here’s a trailer from Toca Boca featuring what you can do with the app:
A fun and motivating app, the Toca builder moves and builds requiring changing directions left/right, back/forward and up/down. Definitely a spatial activity!
You also can paint and choose different colors of blocks when building. Playing with the app is the best way to understand what is required to operate it. I would guess kids who game would be far better than I at learning how to operate the builder, as it took a little bit of time for me to learn to understand how it works (I am so not a gamer!). The app definitely took spatial skills to operate the builder and direct his moves.
Although I have not had a chance to try this out with a student, I could envision this app as a motivator for some students. Certainly those who have difficulty with spatial relations may not have an infinity to apps as such, but it might be a motivation after a hands on activity working with real 3 dimensional blocks and a visual block model. Reproducing block designs with Toca Builders might definitely be more challenging than performing the hands on task, but might be a great follow-up or reward activity after completion with real blocks. Could Toca Builders construct these Color Cubes Activity Set designs?
You may need to scale down the type of designs you are doing on Toca Builders due to the additional spatial requirements of the app. This would seem to be a fun, free (for a limited time!) visual perceptual app for kids ages 6-8 years given some practice and the appropriately selected activity!
Toca Builders is also available for the Kindle tablet.
Have fun building! More for your OT mTool Kit.