Developing language with your child: talking about family photos using Photo Buttons app


The app has a number of pre-programmed photos of everyday food/transport etc. but I deselected them all and added in my own. I added several family photos and recorded my voice saying the name of each person. My daughter and I had fun pointing at the different family members as they appeared and talking about them as we popped each picture.

For more ideas for how to use apps with your child at home, click here.


Home language activities using iPad photo apps


Photos (especially those taken on the spot) always seem to be an successful resource for communicating with children. It might have something to do with the way that the child can be engaged with the creation of the activity, as well as starring in the results.

I recently wrote a blog on using iPad videos and photos to support language development without the need for any apps. Here are some more ideas for home which involve photo editing apps or apps into which you can insert photos.

Photo Grid (free)photo grid

A great way of editing photos with speech bubbles, text and colour. This is a creative way of looking at photos of an outing or holiday. If you have photos saved in the photos section of your iPad, it makes it very easy to edit.

You can choose a few photos to make into a grid or choose to work with one at a time. Talk about the pictures by guessing what people in the photos were saying or decide what title to give each picture.










doodlecastDoodle cast (£1.99)

A lovely app where you can annotate photos which you take on the spot. Start recording and draw pictures on the photo. Then play back the video of it happening.

A lovely one for taking turns to give each other instructions e.g. ‘Draw a blue hat on my head’.

Also try talking back over the video using basic sequence e.g. ‘first, I drew the hat and then I added some red shoes’ lab (freephotolab)

A range of professional looking special effects for photos including magazine covers, montages and interesting backgrounds. Insert a photo of you or your child into the app and choose a design. You could invent a story around it  e.g. ‘how I came to be on the cover of Vogue’ or ‘why my photo is on a £10 note’.

You need a wifi connection while using this one.






Abricot jigsaws (free) – making a photo into a jigsaw. See earlier blog.

shadow puppetShadow Puppet (free). There are a number of story telling apps for which photos can form a central focus – see my earlier blog on story telling with your child.

One that I’ve recently found is Shadow Puppet. It’s very easy to move between photos and talk about them rather than having to record an individual message for each photograph. For example, I created a mini video about a trip to see the book benches in London by flicking through the photos and recording a voiceover narrative at the same time. Very user friendly.








General tips for using photos:

  • Whenever the app asks you whether you will allow access to photo library, say ‘yes’. You will sometimes need to change the privacy settings under settings/general if this is not set up.