Apps and ideas for the Holiday Season

By: Rachel Blum and Dana Cappel 5, December 2015

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The holiday season has arrived again!  Whether you celebrate Chanukah or Christmas there are many great apps out there to enhance the holiday experience. Below are some of our recommendations.

Funny Holiday-themed Photos
icon175x175Doodle Bomb Jolly Holiday Edition (Appstore)
An excellent photo decorating app, providing a variety of fun animated stickers to dress up your holiday photos. This version has a nice selection of Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve stickers. In app purchases for each holiday are available but the Lite version definitely has a sufficient selection.
Decorating the Christmas Tree
imagesChristmas Tree Pro (Appstore)
Decorating the Christmas tree is a holiday tradition that families wait for the whole year.  With this app you can decorate a new tree every day of Christmas or even every day of the year. The collection includes over 200 ornaments and a number of backgrounds to create an endless variety of trees.  Creations can be saved and shared as Christmas cards.
Holiday Sing-a-long
Who doesn’t love to sing holiday songs?  The iPad can be your karaoke machine, setting the stage for hours of sing-a-long fun.  Make sure your phone or video camera is ready because the kids will definitely want to watch themselves over and over.  Add a few costumes to make it even more fun.   A quick search of the App Store revealed over 50 karaoke apps for Christmas carols.
icon175x175 (1)Christmas Karaoke App Lite had some nice reviews and comes with a paid version as well.

Make holiday cards
UntitledThe options to create holiday cards on the iPad are practically endless.  There are many Christmas card apps available, but you can easily create your own, for Christmas or Chanukah.  Simply take a photo and edit or embellish them in apps such as Doodle Buddy or PaintSparkle.  The photos can be printed or uploaded into other album apps such as Tiny Tap or Story Creator and shared with family and friends.
Holiday themed educational games
UntiשtledBitsboard (Appstore)
Bitsboard is a fantastic app to create personalized learning games.  A simple search in the catalog reveals many games related to Chanukah and Christmas. Chanukah games can be searched in English (using the various spellings like Hanukkah or Chanukah) or in Hebrew ( חנוכה).  If you don’t already have this app, download it and start to play!

Tiny Tap games designed by Beit Issie Shapiro
Of course, we can’t have a holiday post without reminding you of our Chanukah games on Tiny Tap.  The games include engaging word and picture matching activities.  Once downloaded, the games can be played as they are, in Hebrew, or you can edit them and translate the recordings into English.

Untitlדדed Chanukah: A picture and word matching game




UntiזזtledChagi’s Chanukah Holiday



You can also search Beit Issie Shapiro in the search window and download these and other wonderful educational games created by our therapists and teachers.

Light the Menorah
icon128My Menorah  (AppStore | GooglePlay)
A delightful interactive game narrated by an endearing menorah that includes lighting candles, spinning a dreidel, and even receiving virtual presents. The app can be played in either English or Hebrew and includes a selection of holiday songs.


Spin the dreidel
icon175x175Dreidel, Dredel, Dradel (AppStore)
A simple app that allows the user to spin a dreidel with just two taps, allowing those with motor difficulties to engage in dreidel games as well.

Make virtual latkes (potato pancakes)
i_d5cf376aec605491_html_m462370f2Toca Kitchen (AppStore)
One of our favorite apps.  Surely many of you have played it with your children and clients, but did you know that you can actually make virtual latkes for your favorite Toca characters? Choose the potatoes from the fridge, grate them in the processor and fry them in the pan.  See if the characters like your Chanukah delicacy. A great activity to play before making your own edible ones in your kitchen at home.
Adaptations to Encourage Participation
Holidays are full of family gatherings that include family meals, games and traditions. To encourage greater participation of children with disabilities in these activities, you can take screenshots of the various app menus, then enlarge, print, and cut them out, as appropriate, to allow for easier choice making.  If your child is able to use switch scanning and external switches then you can turn on those features in the iPad settings and allow them to choose their options themselves.  If your child uses a communication device with voice output make sure to add appropriate phrases or even links to songs so they can participate in the voice recording options as well.  In addition, the switch settings in the iPad allow for switch control of the camera so children that use switches can also participate in taking family photos.  Using a mount or stand that keeps the camera lens clear gives the child even more independence if they can’t hold the iPad themselves.

Enjoy your family time and please let us know how YOU use your iPad for family fun.  Happy Holidays!







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