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    Info Exchange Magazine Apps Alert & Sensory Surprises

    No. 42 - August 2014 ___________________________________________________________________

    Free or Lite indicates that the app is free today. Some apps may be for Android devices, as well as for iPads.

    Music Ball Free (Android too) A simple sound toy app. Touch the screen and enjoy the music.

    First Calculator (Android too) This is the calculator with very large buttons very handy for clumsy fingers (like mine)! It was produced by St. Madeleine Sophie School (USA). The calculator features fun, cartoon-like digits to attract attention. It also provides voice feedback, speaking out the numbers as they are used, the

    operations and the calculated result. The voice is provided by one of the young students at the school.

    Aaluminate This app provides adjustable colour overlays for the iPad or iPhone. They are promoted as aids for people with Irlens syndrome or sensitive vision or stressed vision.

    Have a brief look at this YouTube video to see it in action:



    Starry Night in Interaction Animation A fun app that enables the artist to have a go at creating a Van Gogh masterpiece! Love it! This is really twinkly and interactive and so creative. Not sure what Vincent would think of it…

    Watch it in action on YouTube: 4W6PLmX4&v=Ph1SEFWcL58

    Dexteria Dots 2 This new app from the Dexteria company, Binary Apps, helps early thinkers practice their fine motor, visual tracking, and visual memory skills while learning math concepts such as ‘greater than, less than and equal to’.

    Each coloured dot has 4 attributes - numeral, colour size and pips. There is a beginner level where there is lots of help with all the attributes shown. SAs the learner progresses, then the attribute diminish until they learner reaches the level of size only.

    Reviewed by Gary James on YouTube here:

    Don’t forget the Smack Talk app (also Android and Free) for amazing squeaky voices and a range of animals that talk back!



    INfo exchange Sensory surprises



    Autumnal Sensory Boxes and Baskets This is a very seasonal sensory box linking to the ‘delightful learning’ website. There you will find an autumnal book ‘The Busy Little Squirrel’ by Nancy Tafuri, and how it has been expanded into a sensory topic and art project.

    The book is on



    Planning a Harvest Festival with a Difference Linking to the autumn is the major Chinese autumn festival on 8 September 2014 (but it could be celebrated any time during autumn). Mid-Autumn Festival is an inherited custom of moon sacrificial ceremonies. The ancient Chinese observed that the movement of the moon had a close relationship with changes of the seasons and agricultural production. So, thanks are given to the moon and to celebrate the harvest. A sacrifice is given to the moon on autumn days. More information can be found at:

    Wiki How Information ‘How to Enjoy a Chinese Moon Festival’ gives a good set of steps to follow for a Moon Festival. The sensory elements include moon cakes, incense, the light of the moon, lanterns and tea. There is also a very Chinese book - ‘Thanking the Moon: celebrating the autumn moon festival’ - by Grace Lin, that can be found on Amazon.




    Hand/Eye Coordination for Emergent Reading & Mark Making:

    Early encounters and playful interactions

    Touching Hands blow on them brush them pull them / gently feeling them enclosed by other hands moved by other hands in different rhythms hands with sensory objects/environments to touch

    Closed Hands

    opened by a gentle hand massage stroking gently stroke palms and see what happens inserting a small object into the palm and close vibration on the hand to see if it relaxes pull string, ribbon or rope through the closed hands and fingers

    Open Hands

    open in warm water in a bowl of custard put in a glove "banged" on different textures feeling hot and cold



    Clasped and Unclasped Hands

    clasp, unclasp and clap tap, tickle, bang and thump together cover in scented oil so they move all around and squelch

    Regarding Hands

    decorate them with face paints hand rhymes wear glittery bracelets and rings dye them a bright colour weave ribbons around them

    Regarding Fingers

    nail varnish rings, thimbles rings of string pull each finger (gently)

    Two Hands Full

    place objects in both hands that so they can be seen and tracked from hand to hand — textured balls, strings of cooked spaghetti

    Hands that Drop and Fling

    objects on elastic inside a box big or small tied to table play as a game balls confetti a vest with objects attached that ping back! reach out for interesting sounds / vision / touch that are in range of the hands now try out of range of the hands

    Hands that Have Fingers

    fingers that are encouraged to point, prod, tap, rub, crumple play finger games press into clay tap on a nose push into soil pointing, prodding and probing fingers push a button press a button point at YOU



    Hands that Have Fun and Encourage Thinking

    encourage spontaneous use of the hands to play in simple ways with their own

    choice of desired toy or activity

    Squeezing Hands

    squeeze foam shapes or bath sponges clay, squeeze a squishy grape squeezy, squeaky toys

    Feeling Hands

    place hands around unusual and interesting objects use blue tack or elastic to keep the object in the hands, fingerless, net gloves on hand to insert small object into

    Moving Hands to a Face

    stretch them to chest, to head, to face, make them glitter so they are very visible use a variety of gloves or puppets as they move around face

    Moving Hands to a Mouth

    hands that have been moistened and dipped in icing sugar or sherbet that smell nice that hold an exciting piece of desirable food if the child ‘over’ mouths, give materials that do not taste so good such as sand in a

    sock/a bristly brush

    Two Hands Together

    squeeze, shake, bang, rattle and use noisy toys with both hands, move two hands in rhythmic patterns to music clap

    One Hand by Itself

    see if one hand is dominant and have it push, pull, hold and pass object to other

    hand try with the other hand



    A Reaching, Grasping Hand

    hands encouraged to reach out to attractive toy or object beginning to judge distance catches a beanbag use underhand technique to present materials for choice and play that holds noisy and colourful rattles, small boxes, full of beans, and plays

    Reading Hands

    hands that hold a book and explore the contents – from a one-page tactile book to

    an encyclopaedia!





    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… My grandchildren have this mirror (with a folding front cover, but in red fabric) and every time the young ones come into the room, they rush up to open the magic mirror and look at themselves. It never fails to enchant. The mirror is unbreakable and is rugged in construction. It is a triptych so can stand alone as a child is on the floor. Use it for peekaboo play plus hide and reveal. Add some hats and face paints for a peep at a changed face! Cost £16 at the IKEA store.

    A Little Mirror Test A baby does not realise that they are looking at their own reflection until around 9 months of age. Try this trick to see if the child or student realises they are looking at themselves. To test to see if the concept is grasped, place a small sticker or blob of bright lipstick on the nose. Watch as they sit in front of the mirror. If they try to wipe it off their own face (and not the face in the mirror) then they have grasped the concept. Also, as they are looking in the mirror, put a toy or interesting object behind them. If they try to reach for the reflection (rather than reach behind to grab the toy) they are still not aware that they, and the reflection, are one and the same.




    Gripping Magnetic Ideas for Clumsy Hands

    Magnetic Retrievable Tool This extendable tool, available from ironmongers and DIY stores, has a power