Smiley and the iPad : Our Favourite Apps

Since the iPad arrived in our house by sleigh last Christmas, it's become a major part of our lives.  I am completely hooked, Smiley less so.  As usual, she was really excited at first with her new toy, but she is not in control of it and that has dimmed her enthusiasm.  But I join her for a brief play session on it most days and - as I expected - it keeps us both entertained in waiting rooms and on ferries...

Currently Irish Autism Action is running a great fundraiser that also provides families with iPads in return for old mobile phones.  And I've seen many requests for information on what Apps to get.  So perhaps someone somewhere might find our list of favourites useful for a young child or an older one with a moderate or severe intellectual disability, especially if they have a motor impairment as well:

Line Art - the first one we got and still a favourite.  Like a sensory room effect on the iPad that she can control with light movements of her hand.

Fireworks - similar to Line Art but with firework sounds :)

More of the same include Fluidity, Fluid, and Bubble Snap

Peekaboo Forest - I love this as the graphics are not so babyish.

Goldilocks - love the story and pictures and so does Smiley.

Fairies Fly - strictly for girly girls, but very popular here.  The intro is watched over and over and Smiley takes an interest in the simple games, which we play hand-over-hand.

Timmy's Pre-school adventure - interactive story that Smiley can enjoy with a little help.

Colouring - a simple introduction.
Spot goes to school - a lift the flap book with activities.

Apps that have sounds and pictures (they're a bit babyish for my 15 year old):


For the music lover, try Virtuoso which is an easy to use virtual keyboard.

I also plan - soon, I promise - to introduce Smiley to the idea of communicating through the iPad, using iComm, and hopefully Grace, which is one of many Apps reduced in price during the Christmas break.

I hope that someone finds something useful on this list, and if you know of anything that Smiley might like, please let me know xx


  1. Thanks Beautiful. I should also recommend Ian Bean of for the latest updates in accessibility and cause and effect switches that might make it more engaging for Smiley.
    Happy new year darlin' xx

  2. Bubbles- very simple, one of our first apps, and both boys love it! Also iTouch iLearn Numbers, and Words. I need to write another app review post.... Thanks for these ideas, I will check out them all!

  3. Great list, Blue Sky!

    Did you see the post from one of my tweets yesterday?

    Shows a mount that could be useful.


  4. @lisadom Grace App - thanks for the advice and Happy New Year xx

    @Bonnie - thank you, I'll check those out.

    @TherExtras - yes I like that mount very much - and Smiley got some money for Christmas so I will investigate :)

  5. Thanks for this list. I've gotta add my endorsement for Sound Touch--Noah loves that one. The rest of these are new finds for me, so I'll definitely check them out!

  6. Does Smiley have a fav tv programme? Check out these free downloads

    If she likes these there is a program available from Inclusive technology which allows you to easily make your own tailored to Smiley's interests.(called Slideshow Maker I think)

  7. Great list - thanks Blue Sky, have downloaded a few of these for my boys now. :)

  8. These look fab, thanks for this list - I'm sure, looking at them, there are a few in there MC would love. We don't have an iPad (yet!) but I have an iPhone and MC is always pinching it. Thank you xx

  9. Good ideas to share her favourites. Hope you get some more ideas!

    xx Jazzy

  10. great idea for a post. The iPad is so intuitive that I defy anyone - young or old - not to enjoy it and learn something from it. My Mum is very disparaging of 'computer games' but my kids learn actual skills from the iPad!

  11. @Tessa - hope some of them will be of use.

    @Susan - thanks for that, I'll check it out.

    @Little Mamma - I hope the boys like them :)

    @SAHMlovingit - that's where it starts :)

    @jazzygal - I have already xx

    @Actually Mummy - yep, they do, and iPads have been life-changing for kids with special needs :)

  12. Thanks four your information and your work, I'm also looking for blue sky :-)

  13. those look like great apps... my family have threatened to buy us an ipad but haven't yet (we are an apple free house to date!). i think that eilidh would hugely benefit from starting to use one now because we are unsure how well she will do with writing because of her poor muscle strength... maybe we should concede and bring apple to our family?

  14. @ever hopeful mummy - Well everyone I know who has a child with special needs absolutely raves about iPads, for lots of different reasons. I would say go for it, I'm sure there are writing Apps on there and there's certainly lots of other Apps to entertain and teach her stuff x