I am a little giddy about hosting a guest blogger later this week (!!!), but I wanted to share a fun little app in the meantime. I found this app when I was on the hunt for a reinforcer app to use with a 5-year-old who loves bowling. There are about a million bowling apps out there, but surprisingly few are both simplistic and free. Here’s the best one I’ve found yet.
What It Is: A bowling app by Chinh Nguyen.
Price: Free! (This gets you three scenes. Five other scenes can be purchased if desired–but see note in “cons”.)
How It Works: It’s pretty basic: use your finger to swipe the ball forward to knock down the pins. The three free scenes are space, beach, and garden. You can swap out different bowls and pins. The score is shown in typical bowling format at the top.
Therapy Applications: My applications for this have also been pretty basic; I’ve used this as a reinforcer and as a structured way of practicing turn-taking. Since bowling naturally features built-in pauses, it’s easy to use this as a reinforcer throughout the session (e.g. one turn for x # of correct responses) or as a reward at the end (e.g. an entire game for earning x tokens during the whole session).
Pros: 1. Price! Love free.
2. Settings. You can turn on/off the ability to change the direction of the ball by tilting the iPad, for example.
3. Simplicity/ease of use. Seriously, you’d be surprised how complex most of the other bowling games are. This one is pretty intuitive and straightforward.
4. Age range. It’s easy enough for preschoolers but isn’t childish and would definitely be age appropriate for an older crowd. (I’m sure plenty of teens and adults play with this app, even.)
5. If the app is accidentally closed out, the game restarts where it was left off.
Cons: 1. For some reason, I can’t get to the in-app purchases by touching them within the app. (It’s like my touch isn’t even registered–initially I thought my device froze.) Since I don’t want the children clicking on this anyway, it actually is more of a “pro” for me, but it may bother others who want to purchase other scenes.
2. No bumpers! It can be difficult for people with fine motor challenges to not get gutter balls. Turning on the “tilt” feature to control the direction of the ball helps my clients with this.
3. Advertisements. There are ads, but thankfully they’re at the top of the screen, are appropriate for all ages, and haven’t been a distraction so far.
4. This game is set up for just one player. I’ve found that kids don’t really care about the score (or you can track it on a piece of paper), but it would be nice to have the option.
The Take-Away: I’m realizing that bowling is almost as cool to my kiddos as the “three T’s”. The app is simple but great for use as a reinforcer or turn-taking facilitator. It’s free and fun, so I’d definitely recommend you try it if you have clients with interests in bowling.
My Questions for You: How else would you use this app in therapy? Would the population(s) you work with have fun with it?