Animal Train

What It Is: A game that involves collecting various animals from different scenes and placing them on the train.

Price: $1.99 (both Apple and Android)

OS: Apple, Android

How It Works: Opening the app, the child first chooses his avatar (an animal) and then the scene (e.g. jungle, farm, polar region).  Multiple scene-specific animals are then shown (e.g. a seal, whale, and more in the “polar region” scene). A voice instructs the user which animal to pick up first. Once the user picks up the animal and places it on the train, the train leaves and comes back empty, ready for more animals. The game becomes increasingly challenging by asking for more animals at once.  Also, the train eventually no longer stops and instead continues on, making it a “race” to get the animal in the train before it disappears.

My Therapy Applications: I’ve used this app for a variety of functions.  The main one is vocabulary. It can be used for receptive vocabulary or expressive vocabulary (if you turn the sound off) and point to the animal, asking what it is. I’ve also used it for increasing basic direction-following abilities. In addition, it can be good for spatial/”where” questions. (For example, I may ask where the bear is, and we can work on responding appropriately by saying “near” or “above” or “under” the appropriate adjacent animals.) The voice can be kept on to practice auditory processing, attention, and working memory. Or, it can be turned off to work on reading.

Pros: 1. The price is great for how many scenes you get. (There is a “lite” version, so you can check out the jungle scene before purchasing the full deal or if you only wish to use that scene.)

2. The multiple scenes keeps it interesting and allows the child to use it frequently without getting bored or memorizing the correct sequences.

3. It is versatile and can be used for a variety of goals/objectives.

4. It includes familiar animals as well as more exotic ones.

5. The point of the game is straightforward so kids of all ages can play; however, the multiple steps and increasing difficulty keep it challenging for the various goals that are being taught.

Cons: 1. Setting customization is lacking. For example, you can’t change the speed of the train or if you want the narration on or off. You also can’t make it so that the train has to stop on every turn.

2. For children with auditory processing difficulties (or OT challenges), the game may get too challenging at the end, and they may become frustrated.

3. Lately, the app has been freezing in the middle of the game. Hopefully a bug fix will be released soon.

Overall Rating: 4/5

The Take-Away: The app is good at what it does and seems to be motivational for children. It’s certainly worth the money. I’d like to see more settings options in the future to make it more user-friendly for kids of all ranges of abilities.

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