Monday, February 24, 2014

Top List of Ideas for Rewarding Good Behavior Without Clutter (with apps!)

Everyone is motivated by some form of reward. My daughter was potty trained by earning M&M's each time she used the potty and didn't have an accident. Many elementary teachers have treasure chests and sticker charts to reward positive behaviors. I know it works, however, when my kids asked if we could do a treasure chest at home, I cringed. I did not want more knick knacks and kids meal type toys cluttering the house. So I started to brainstorm what motivates kids and in an "ah-ha" moment it came to me -- apps!

Before you start handing out rewards, it is beneficial for the kids to know what they are working towards. Heather S highlighted a few ideas in her post Top Apps for Behavior Management. Whether using a digital chore chart or an old fashioned sticker chart, make sure the child knows what they need to do to earn points and how many points each reward costs. The key with children is to find their currency. For many, that is linked to technology.

Instead of stars or stickers, we use a role of carnival tickets that I picked up at an office supply store. Each kid decorated a container with their names and stickers. I created a chart listing my kid's "Please, Mommy, can you buy this for me, I'll love it and play forever" apps. Next to each app I assigned a ticket value, as well as how many tickets it costs per 30 minutes of iPad play. This way they know how much they need to pay and they can choose which they want first.

We do have some non-electronic items in our reward chest. These include picking what is for dinner one night, going to the park, staying up 10 minutes late, and one-on-one parent day.  Again, not something that clutters the house or even costs money but that speaks to a child's heart.

Not only do apps not add to the clutter in their bedrooms, but many have educational benefits. A win-win in my book. Many of the Smart Apps for Special Needs as well as Smart Apps for Kids' staff began talking about what our kid's top apps are and compiled this list.

** Please note: Some of these apps have in-app purchases, but they can easily be disabled in the settings of your device. There are also ads and social network links in some of these apps.

Only the app's developer can control when an app is free or not. All apps that we post as free are verified to be free at the time of this post. We make no guarantees otherwise.**

Offer an in-app purchase:
I don't know about you, but I have in-app purchases disabled on my iPad. My kids know that they can't get add-ons that cost real money. So when I added that as a possible reward, they were thrilled.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush by Gameloft
(FREE, iPad/iPhone) In-app purchases for coins to unlock additional minions and power ups

Gru’s loyal, yellow, gibberish-speaking Minions are ready for their toughest challenge in Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Play as a Minion and compete with others in hilarious, fast-paced challenges in order to impress your boss, (former?) super-villain Gru! 

WordWorldLearn with WordFriends by WordWorld
(FREE lite version or Full version for $2.99, iPad/iPhone)

Learn with WordFriends is the exciting new educational game from WordWorld, the Emmy-winning show seen on PBS that was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education. Build and discover words with all of your favorite characters: Dog, Duck, Sheep, Ant, Bear, Pig and Frog.

FREE with in-app purchases to add Duck, Sheep, Ant, Bear, Pig and Frog

Fully Unlocked Version ($2.99)

Dragon City Mobile by Social Point
(FREE, iPad/iPhone)
In-app purchases for gems to purchase additional game boosts

Build and decorate a magical, floating Dragon City! Breed dragons and hatch eggs to discover new species!

ROBLOX Mobile - Roblox Corporation
(FREE, iPad/iPhone)
In-app purchases for Robux to purchase game boosts

ROBLOX Mobile lets you explore thousands of games created by our community of builders and developers. Play everything from adventure games and RPGs to battle arenas and FPS on iPod, iPhone and iPad. 

Scribblenauts Remix - Warner Bros.
($0.99, iPad/iPhone)
In-app purchases for additional content

Help Maxwell acquire the Starite by creating any object, bringing it to life and using it to solve each challenge. Let your imagination run wild in this groundbreaking puzzle game. Summon to life a ‘colossal, winged car’ or a ‘shy, frost-breathing, robotic hippopotamus’! If you can think it, you can create it.


Favorite apps kids could be willing to work to earn

Minecraft – Pocket Edition by Mojang
($6.99, no in-app purchases)
One of iTunes top-grossing apps

Pocket Edition includes Survival and Creative modes, multiplayer over a local Wi-Fi network, and randomly generated worlds. You can craft, create and breed anywhere in the world so long as you have hands spare and battery to burn. 

Slice Fractions by Ululab
($2.99, no in-app purchases)
This is one of iTunes top new apps.

Make your child hungry for his or her next math discovery! Knowing that slicing games are incredibly fun, we teamed up with university education experts to craft a creative and new way to master fractions. 

Dr Panda by TribePlay
($1.99-2.99 each, iPad/iPhone)
Dr. Panda creates kids games with educational values that get kids familiar with life and the world around them.

Dr. Panda's Hospital              Dr. Panda's Restaurant
Dr. Panda's Airport                Dr. Panda's Supermarket
Dr. Panda's Daycare              Dr. Panda's Handyman
Dr. Panda's Beauty Salon     Art Class with Dr. Panda
Dr. Panda's Restaurant 2  The newest app from Dr Panda received 5 Stars from Rachel J

Apps by Toca Boca
($2.99 each, iPad/iPhone)
Toca Boca is an award winning game studio that makes digital toys for kids. We think playing and having fun is the best way to learn about the world. 

Toca Hair Salon     Toca Band
Toca Store              Toca Kitchen
Toca House            Toca Lab

Disney Jr Apps 
There are many Disney Jr apps out there, but here are the ones that topped our list. Smart Apps for Kids has a full list of FREE Disney apps. (iPad/iPhone unless noted otherwise)

Minnie Bow Maker ($1.99)
Jake's Never Land Shapes and Patterns ($1.99)
Disney Princess Royal Salon ($2.99)
Doc McStuffins: Time For Your Check Up! ($3.99)
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint & Play HD ($3.99, iPad Only)
Disney Princess Palace Pets (FREE with in-app purchases)

Mo Willems apps by Disney
Three-time Caldecott honoree Mo Willems invites you to join some of his most beloved characters in this collection of entertaining games and activities to play anytime, anywhere!

Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App!
($5.99, iPad/iPhone)

Pigeon Presents Mo... on the Go!
($3.99, iPad/iPhone)

For more ideas, check out Our Picks for the Top 100 Apps for Kids which includes both FREE and paid apps.  Did we miss any apps that are big with your child? Add them in the comments below to give more ideas to other parents.

Rachel H really debated putting Candy Crush on her family's reward chart as a reward for herself.

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