Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dexteria Jr. - Fine Motor Skills Development for Preschoolers - Review

Dexteria jr New_threeandahalf


Bottom Line: a series of fun exercises to strengthen fine motor control in the littlest of fingers and possibly bring on a serious case of the giggles.

To download Dexteria Jr., ($2.99 iPad only), please use your fine motor skills and click our button which supports the fine work of Smart Apps for Kids:



Dexteria Jr., from Binary Labs, is the newest and youngest member of the developer's growing app family. Binary Labs' apps are marketed towards Occupational Therapists, and targets areas some individuals may have difficulty with such as fine motor, reasoning skills, and letter reversal. Dexteria Jr. is no exception! What sets this app apart from the rest is the way it's geared towards youngsters.
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Three activities are included in this app: Squish the Squash, Trace and Erase, Pinch the Pepper. For each of these 3 areas, the tasks can be independently performed by your tot. Each effort is timed and, when completed, recorded. Each level becomes more challenging than the last so as to grow with your little developer's skills. Data can be reviewed under the "report" section on the main menu.

Squish the Squash: Simple auditory directions are given to "tap the squash". Little tikes isolate an index finger and "squish" the smiley squash to improve fine motor control. Squash appear all over the screen, 1 at a time to begin with, but as the levels increase, so does the amount of squashes to squish! (Say that ten times fast, I dare you…) The squishing sound effects are quite good.
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Trace and Erase
: Sections appear with an arrow at one end and a star at the other. The auditory directions say to "Drag the arrow towards the star." So your kiddo does just that! But watch out-he must land precisely on the star otherwise it doesn't count. If that's not hard enough, little fingers must also stay inside the lines of the shape; otherwise a "boing" noise occurs, letting kids know they've gone outside. (Think the popular kid's game "Operation").

Once all the lines have been properly drawn, your tot then drags erasers down the lines that he so carefully drew. A variety of special effects are revealed as the eraser passes. This is the only section with a reinforcer at the end - once all lines are erased your tot turns on his best grin and in 5 seconds a photo is snapped. The special effects are applied to the photos and some are very cool. Being able to Chuck Closeify your child is a neat bonus that kids may not appreciate.
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Pinch the Pepper
: The kind lady comes once again and says "Using your thumb and index finger, pinch the pepper." So game play goes…just like that! The first level starts with three stationary and happy peppers, but come level 2, those peppers are movin'! And there are also five of them. This area is said to target "Pincer Grip Development". And just so you know, I tried every which way to get rid of those peppers without pinching them, and it simply can't be done. A thumb and index finger must be used. Oh the miracles of modern technology….

Now here's my bottom line: This app is good. I'm not running out to tell all of my family and friends about it, but I like it. The graphics are cute and the music is light, and I really like the detail in the data collection. But personally, I have a hard time getting caught up in practicing fine motor skills on an iPad.

I'm not an Occupational Therapist, but I am related to one. I showed the app to my sister, who has worked as an OT in First Steps and a developmental preschool for the past 12 years, and she liked it too. However, she and I both agreed that there's something to be said about teaching any kind of developmental skill in the real world setting. Pinching small pieces of cereal, isolating a finger to press buttons on a toy, using hand movements to manipulate Play-Doh…this app isn't reinventing the wheel by any means.

This app is great for practice- just another way to get those skills where they need to be. But I'll say it again, making those skills functional for kiddos in their natural environment is key. If you have a nugget who is crazy motivated by the iPad, or can use all the practice he can get, then this app is absolutely worth the time spent. I mean, who doesn't love Squash and Peppers with happy faces?!
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Lil rachelRachel had occupational therapy in elementary school because her fine motor skills didn't quite come in like everyone else's. She still is somewhat clumsy and detests cutting on the lines to this day. smartappsforkids.com was paid a priority-review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner. 

Originally posted on Smart Apps for Kids. 

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