Children love to play. They need to play. Through play children develop motor-skills, they learn to problem solve, they practise social interactions and role-playing, and they develop their imaginations. For typically developing children, play comes easy. The inner drive to explore and enjoy comes naturally and they typically need very little guidance from adults. Children with disabilities, however, may meet obstacles at every step. Motor limitations may prevent them from playing with toys or even getting to the toy they want. Cognitive limitations may affect their ability to understand the game, or may affect their motivation or interest to play. Communication and social limitations may affect their ability to play with other children or make their desires known.
Tablets and play apps, have been a game-changer for these kids. They can play store or kitchen with just a swipe or drag of a finger, they can dress up a doll, or dress up themselves, using funny photo apps. At Beit Issie we put a big focus on play for the sake of play and one company that we love for these types of apps is Toca Boca.
Toca Boca promotes play for play’s sake and not as a medium to practice other skills. Their apps are whimsical, imaginative and encourage play without boundaries. They are open-ended and make kids laugh. They are a big success at our school, despite the fact that they were not developed with a special needs population in mind. With a little tweaking, like the ability to choose a cleaner background with less distractions, the apps could be even more accessible to our students. We are in no way promoting the replacement of traditional play, but for many children at our school digital play has allowed them to engage in imaginative play on their own, for the first time.
Toca Boca recently launched a blog and we believe it is worth sharing.
Here is a recent article that we loved.