Thursday, April 28, 2011

Helicopter Taxi and Toca Tea Party

I would mostly use these apps by Toca Boca for role play. I got Helicopter Taxi when it was free one day, but now it is $.99.  If you have an iPad 2, you can take advantage of the camera.  The helicopter overlays your background (whatever room or location you are in).  It make it look like the helicopter is in the room with you.   To take off, you have to lift your iPad from a flat surface.  To fly, you hold it upright and walk around with it.  To land, you again set it back down (flat) on a surface.  For the missions, a garbled voice (no real words) speaks from a phone booth.  This is where I (or another student) will say, "You need to fly to ______".  I either select a location in the room (that we previously labeled something) or a student.  So they may need to fly to Johnny or fly to the 'hospital' (small table).  We usually decide these parts ahead of time via a group discussion...we meet in a huddle and come up with scenarios, plots, characters, etc.  Obviously, some students are going to have potential issues, like not wanting their turn to end (the route is a fixed keeps saying you need to land) or veering off course/going where they want to go instead.  These are all great teachable moments. Sometimes, I am the one who forces the issue and flies off course or ignores my commanders directions.  My son (almost 4) and I play this at home quite a bit, he enjoys thinking of silly scenarios.  I also tell him he has to give me directions like, "fly low" or "fly high"..."fly past the window" or "fly inside the closet". We do the full role play, "Pilot to Mommy, Pilot to Mommy, come in!  You have a pick up!" We took it outside for a 'nature tour by helicopter' extravaganza as well.
**Some careful adult supervision is needed as kids will be carrying the iPad and walking while looking at the screen.  Just a note of caution!  (Although, as my husband said, the caution should really be directed at me...I am clumsy!)
**This app was made for an iPhone/iPod, but it works well on the iPad.  Not superior graphics, but still good and the camera/backdrop ability makes it well worth it. Also, when I first got this app, the camera feature would not run on my iPad2...I contacted the company and it was working 1 business day later...not sure if they fixed it or if my iPad had a glitch.

Toca Tea Party
I bought this app for $2.99, I chose not to buy it on sale for $.99 and was sorry!  For just under $3, it seems to be worth it, although $.99 would have been better!  You build a tea pick your blanket/cloth, pick/set the plates, pick/set the cups, pick the beverages, and pick the desserts.  Each person can pick their own plate/drink/food. If your child/student is dining alone, they can bring animals to serve as friends. 
Fun things you can do:
  • Drink your beverage by tapping it
  • Blow out candles (tapping), you can also relight them
  • Eat your food
  • Play the radio or turn it off
  • Get more food or pour more beverages
  • Spill your beverage and wipe it up with a kleenex (although it seems random when it spills)
How I would use this:
  • Role play
  • Turn taking
  • Asking questions ("May I have...")
  • Non-verbal communication (using eyes, head nods to convey what you want)
  • Following and giving directions
**I wish that the kids could actually 'wash' the dishes, that would be a fun added step vs. all of the dishes going into the water/the app ending. 

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