The iPad camera is a fantastic tool for promoting communication which doesn’t even require you to use any apps.
Below are three ideas to get you started at home:
Making a movie (Using language to make plans)
- Plan the shooting of a short ‘movie’ together using the iPad video function
- Talk about Who will be in the movie, What they will be doing and Where it will take place
- The movie can be anything from a short video of your child singing a song or jumping on a trampoline, to an acted out sequence. It doesn’t need to involve any words – it’s the planning that can inspire discussion!
Do and Tell (Using language to give instructions)
- Choose an activity to do together e.g. making a collage, building a tower or baking a cake.
- Take several photos on the iPad which break down the activity into several clear stages and talk about it as you go. Save the photos in a folder with the name of the activity.
- A few hours, days or even weeks later, ask your child to tell another family member how to do it using the photos as a prompt.
The emphasis in this activity is that your child is using their language to tell someone else how to do something but the photos give them a visual prompt and help them describe the steps in the sequence.
What is it? (Using language to problem-solve)
- Take turns to take a photo of something difficult to identify in your house: the underneath of the kitchen table, the inside of a vase or behind a door. The more obscure the better!
- The other person asks questions to help them guess what it might be.
Time for a blog on my favourite iPad tool – taking photos and videos.
As long as you have an iPad 2 or more recent, you’ll have an inbuilt camera which makes it incredibly easy to use photos in activities with children (and you can delete them at the end of the session if there are any difficulties with consent).
Here are a few ideas for short language based group or individual activities using the camera function which don’t even require you to download any apps.
Attention activity – What’s different?
- Take a photo of a person, room or area.
- Change one thing about it or them and take another photo.
- Ask the children to work out what has changed.
This provides an easy attention activity without having to rely on children closing their eyes!
Social skills activity – Guess the emotion
A quick activity for a social skills group exploring different emotions.
- Ask each child to make a facial expression and take a photo.
- Show the photo to the group and talk about what the expression might mean.
Expressive and receptive activity – Listen and Make
- Ask someone to carry out a simple activity, e.g. making a collage, building a tower or threading beads.
- Take several photos which break down the activity into several clear stages.
- Show the photos to one child and ask them to convey the instructions to another child without showing them the pictures.
- Compare the end photo with the finished product.
The emphasis in this activity is on one child using their language to tell the other child how to do something. In addition, the other child can develop skills in listening to their peers. The art/craft activities work particularly well with younger children who are not confident with colours and preposition words. Examples of stages from a few different activities below:
Expressive and receptive activity – What’s happening?
I’ve already blogged about this in the past but worth repeating here as this is a tool I use regularly.
- Take a short video of a real or acted out scenario and ask the group questions about it. It could be a video of a busy road on your way to work, a video tour of a supermarket aisle or an acted out scenario by a teacher who has discovered her bike is broken.
- Show the video, ask Wh questions and talk about what could happen next.
There are plenty more ways of using photos and videos – please share any other ideas you might have tried!