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Child Neuropsychology A blog by Dr Jonathan Reed
  • 5 apps that help improve motor co-ordination whilst having fun

    Motor co-ordination is a key factor in development and also seems to be important for general brain regulation and development – see previous post.

    The i-phone and i-pad devices are unique in that they allow you to interact with games and programmes using movement and touch.  They have the potential in my opinion to develop and reinforce motor-co-ordination.  I have chosen 5 apps that I think particularly focus on key aspects of motor  co-ordination.  Games in particular are a fun way of developing skills- they are designed to engage and encourage repetitive play (practice) and all the ones I have chosen start off easy and build in difficulty over time.    Also the apps I have chosen are beautifully designed, often with a good soundtrack and most appeal to adults and children alike.

    My top 5 are:

    1.  For fine motor control –  Doodle Jump This requires fine hand control by tilting the device to allow the character to jump.  It is very intrinsically rewarding resulting in continued practice.

    2 For motor inhibition and regulationWhale Trail .  This game requires tapping the screen to make Willow the whale fly and eat bubbles. The key to success on this game is to inhibit the urge to tap the screen too much or too little and thereby avoid the hazards (thunder clouds) and  follow the rewards (swallowing bubbles).  It is fast moving and you need to anticipate what is going to happen adding an element of motor planning.   Again it is great fun, with a great sound track and very rewarding encouraging you to keep trying (and getting better).

    3  For motor planning- Bumpy Road .  This requires trying to move a car along a bumpy road by lifting the road beneath.  The game requires anticipating ahead by moving the car not too fast, jumping and avoiding hazards (rivers).   This is a beautiful app that is just fun to play for the graphics and music alone.

    4 For developing visual motor co-ordination –  Dexteria - This is a more formal teaching app focusing on tapping, letter formation and pinching objects (fine motor control).  This is definitely aimed at children but is the best example I have come across of a comprehensive  motor co-ordination teaching app.  There are timed elements which are challenging.  The app allows you to monitor progress over each session showing improvement over time.

    5 For visual motor planningFlight control – With this game you have to guide airplanes into land by tracing their flight path into the airport.  It requires anticipating future events and altering plans when you see that two planes may crash.  It gets hard when lots of planes are coming into land together .

    So if you want to improve your or your child’s motor co-ordination playing with these apps may well help.  Although I am not aware of research in this area from a clinical point of view these apps all tap abilities that are important for development of visual motor-co-ordination (and perhaps wider brain regulation).  They are also brilliantly designed, addictive and fun.

    Published on January 5, 2012 · Filed under: Uncategorized;
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