Apps that Teach Association Skills

Teaching early association skills, such as items that belong and items that do not belong, will be  important from kindergarten through first grade.  Learning how to associate items will build your child’s language abilities and increase early problem solving skills.   These two apps will work really well with young children:  Which Does Not Belong and Which go together.  You can get them from

Which Does Not Belong:  Your young child will probably need assistance to understand how to answer questions on this app.  First, label the four items on the screen along with your child.  For very young children, I will often ask them:  Which one is not a ____ ?  This will give your child opportunities to also learn how to answer questions containing negation (e.g., the word “not” in the question), which are usually difficult for language delayed children to pick up.  After your child answers correctly, you can say: A book is not a food item.  It is a ____.”

Which Go Together:  Like the app mentioned above, you can label the pictures with your child.  If your child can not answer the question independently, you can identify one of the associated items, and ask your child:  What goes with the ___?  The App will then ask your child why the items go together.  If your child has a difficult time answering, you can start the sentence off for your child.  For example, you could say:  The bacon and the pan go together because you use the pan to _________.  This will give your child a model on how to answer your questions.

Categorization App

This is a fantastic and free app!  Search for “Clean Up” in the app store.  I use it all the time with students to help them with categorization, learn new vocabulary, learn the function of items, and associate where items go.  Here are some things you can do with your child:

1.  Ask your child: “What is this?”  when the item pops up on the screen.

2.  Ask your child:  “What do you do with a ____?”  You may have to give him a choice, such as, “Do you wear it or do you eat it?”

3.  Ask your child:  “Is a _____ a food item, a toy, or clothing?”

4.  Ask your child: “Where does it belong?”  You may have to give him a choice, such as, “In the closet or toy box?”

Have fun. Your child will really enjoy this one!


Preschool and Kindergarten Apps

I often find that many apps for children are either too stimulating to be educational, or too boring to engage them.   When I find an app that is able to engage and teach, I get really excited. has excellent apps for preschoolers and for children in Kindergarten.  The apps are created using actual photographs of items and actions, making it easy for young children to identify the items displayed.  These apps are wonderful because they target the vocabulary and early concepts that children need to learn.  Many of these apps are created for the iPhone, but you will be able to use them with the iPad as well.  Many of these apps are also free!  I listed the ones that I use most often below, with a general description of how you can use it with your child:

1.  ABA Flash Cards-Actions: Nouns and actions are the words that children pick up first.  If your child is mainly saying one word utterances, prompt your child to imitate the verbs itself (i.e., tell him/her “say jumping“).  Emphasize the “ing” in your voice so your child picks up the ending for the verb.  You can have your child say it without the “ing” ending at first (i.e., say “jump”).  For children with 2-3 word utterances, you can model a sentence (i.e., “boy is jumping“), and have your child imitate.  Say one word at a time to help your child say the whole sentence.

2.  ABA Receptive Identification by Class:  I love what they did with this app!  You can work on receptive, and expressive identification of categories with this app.  First, have your child choose the item that belongs within the stated category.  He will then be prompted, by the app, to verbally express other items within that category.  You can model the answers for the second part of this app, if your child is not ready to do this by himself.

3.  ABA Receptive Identification by Function:  Your child will be given three choices to respond to.  Before your child points to the item, take your time to verbally state each choice so your child also learns the name of the various items.