Joy's iPad Apps

All the app-links on this page are to the App Store.  Prices are what were in effect in August 2012 or when we bought the app, whichever is later -- subject, of course, to change.

Apps with a strike-through are those that we downloaded but later removed.

Some apps that include multiple activities are listed in more than one category.

In general, when possible I go into the iPad settings and turn OFF any extraneous option-settings (like the possibility to explore related purchase possibilities).  Joy tends to get caught up in the options to the exclusion of the game itself otherwise.

Books and Music: 
  • Toca Band - Toca Boca (1.99) -- so much fun! This app lets you assemble a band, choosing from a variety of characters who each make a particular vocalization or play an instrument.  Pull a collection of characters on to the bandstand and make them play slow, medium or fast... or take a special turn in the spotlight!  Joy's favorite character is the rap-dude.  I like the tap-dancing spider.
  • Five Little Monkeys - Loeschware (1.99) -- Joy has loved the Five Little Monkeys song for years.  This app displays the room with the monkeys on the bed, and lets you play with different aspects of the room (open the window, make the monkeys stop or go, pull the tail of the cat under the bed!)
  • Blue Hat, Green Hat - Boynton (3.99) -- Blue hat, green hat, OOPS!  The "oops"es in this book get more and more fun as you go along (explosions of socks and underwear!)  Joy tends to fixate on the oops-es to the exclusion of most of the rest of the book.
  • Barnyard Dance - Boynton (3.99)
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider HD - by Duck Duck Moose (1.99) - Joy enjoys this one a lot, particularly the "Easter Eggs" that appear if you play with the spider long enough.  With this book and the other ones in the series, it helped a lot when I went into iPad settings and turned OFF the ability to change the music.
  • Old MacDonald HD - by Duck Duck Moose (1.99)
  • Wheels on the Bus HD - by Duck Duck Moose (1.99)
  • One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (3.99) -- nice reading of this Dr. Seuss classsic, but didn't take full advantage of the possibilities inherent in an app-version of a book.  Joy finds this one a little boring.
  • Dr. Seuss ABC - Oceanhouse Media (3.99) 
  • The Monster at the End of This Book - Sesame Street (4.99) -- I'm not sure we've gotten to the end of this one yet, but Joy loves to hear Grover's agonized wails on certain of the pages as the book moves along.
  • Toddler Bells (.99) - a very simple octave xylophone app, no options or settings or add-ons or anything beyond the xylophone.
  • Toddler Sing and Learn - Kiboomu Publishing (1.99) - multiple activities - you can choose "Sing" and pick among ten cheerful songs including Old MacDonald, The Ants Come Marching, and Three Little Fishes.

Echo Games: 
  • Talking Carl! (.99) -- A red box-like character repeats back, at a funny high pitch, what it "hears."  Joy likes to "talk" to Talking Carl and hear her noises re-interpreted!  You can also do other things with Carl -- feed him, tap him, have him blow a horn -- there is a "baby" setting option to hide some of the activities and all of the add-on come-ons, though Joy has figured out how to undo the option!
  • Talking Tom Cat (free) -- A cartoon cat repeats back, at a funny high pitch, what it "hears."  Unfortunately, you can also tickle the cat, punch him, pull his tail -- Joy got all wound up in the extras and wouldn't use the app for echo-ing!  She also got very frustrated with all the come-ons for paid add-ons.  Not worth it to us.


  • ProLoQuo2Go ($189.99) -- reviewed here.
  • My First Words - Flashcards by Alligator Apps (.99, upgraded from free version) -- we used this for Joy to "say" a poem from school.  You can program in your own flashcards (images, words, and sounds), and one can't tap to the next one until the first one is done speaking.

Writing / Tracing: 

  • Write My Name - Injini (3.99) -- The app leads you to use your finger to trace letters and make words, offering a bright dot to "pull" around the contours of the letters.  If you go off track, there's a warning sound and you have to start again from where you lost the track.  Choices include individual letters, pre-programmed words, or an option to program in your own names/words.
  • iWriteWords (2.99) 
  • Injini: Child Development Game Suite - NCsoft (29.99) -- multiple activities -- includes a tracing game that lets one choose from 8 levels of complexity, from straight horizontal or vertical lines, to squiggles, to shapes.  You pull a dot along the track, to the accompaniment of a musical flourish.  When you finish each task, an image appears that incorporates the shape you just drew.  Joy learned the ropes on this one first, and then was able to transfer the skill to the Write My Name and iWriteWords apps.
  • Dexteria - Fine Motor Skill Development - Binary Labs, Inc. (4.99) -- the least useful of the letter-tracing programs we've downloaded.  It's less flashy, and more "fussy" than the others when it comes to tracing exactly-perfectly.  Joy gets frustrated.


  • Splish Splash Inn - Short Stack (.99) -- count various undersea creatures from 1 to 10, with pleasing sound and graphics.  
  • TallyTots - Spinlight Studio (1.99) -- user chooses a number between 1 and 20 to get a musical counting, and then can complete a different game/task for each number (drag 16 apples into the cart; feed 15 flies to the frog, etc.)
  • Whizzit 123 - Fairlady Media (.99) -- up to 20 objects appear on the screen for the user to "count" by touching them; there's a sound and an animation on each object when you touch it.  The theme song when you open the app is extra-loud, and the "home" button is more prominent on the counting pages than the activity!  It took Joy a while to appreciate the activity as much as the theme song & menus.
  • Fish School HD - by Duck Duck Moose (1.99)
  • DotToDot Numbers and Letters (1.99) -- touch numbers or letters in order to trace a shape.  Joy finds this unmotivating.

Drawing / Coloring:

  • DrawFree (free) -- nice little drawing program, but Joy got too frustrated/obsessed with it and we had to take it away.
  • Toddler Sing and Learn - Kiboomu Publishing (1.99) - multiple activities -- Choose the "Color" activity, then pick a song.  A line drawing illustrating the song appears, and you can choose among a sidebar of colored markers to fill in the the drawing.  Joy mostly does spirals, but she does choose the activity herself, so that's a good step.

  • United States Puzzle Map - Jenny Sun (1.99) -- this is a good example of an app that's mostly beyond Joy's ability but she can get SOME of it and learn more later.  On the easy-setting for putting together a map of the US states, she can get Alaska and Hawaii and Texas and a few more before she loses interest.  She also likes to change the language settings.  More challenging features include multiple choice quizzes for state names and capitals.
  • Shape Puzzle HD - Word Learning Game for Kids (.99 - upgraded from free version) -- best puzzle app Joy's got!  There are multiple puzzles in multiple scenes; each puzzle is a drag-and-drop with 7 pieces, with options to control how precisely you must position each piece to have it be correct.
  • Injini: Child Development Game Suite - NCsoft (29.99) -- multiple activities -- the drag-and-drop puzzle section of the suite has multiple levels of complexity, from a single-item piece up through nine-piece rectangles.  Joy has mastered the whole sequence.
  • Monkey Preschool Lunchbox (.99) - multiple activities -- there's a puzzle-app among the activities, drag-n-drop four pieces.
  • Zoo Train - Busy Bee Studios (1.99) - multiple activities -- there are two puzzle areas.  In one area, you get a group of pieces to pull into a picture.  In the other, you get to assemble a train track.  Joy just figured out the train track one recently! 
  • Toddler Sing and Learn - Kiboomu Publishing (1.99) - multiple activities -- The puzzles on this app go along with the songs.  You're offered one piece at a time in the upper left corner, to drag into the appropriate blank area on the page.
  • My First Tangrams HD (1.99) -- Drag colorful shapes to match the designs specified by the puzzle.  Joy can only do the first level right now, where you drag the shapes to fill an outline.  On other levels, you drag shapes to re-create example-designs.
  • 20 Children's Wooden Puzzles (1.99)
  • Kids Puzzle (Wooden Animals) - Nordportmedia (.99) -- just one puzzle, not a favorite.  Twenty animals, each pictured on its own piece.  All the pieces are scattered around the face of the puzzle until you touch one, and then the rest disappear and you pull the chosen piece to its correct shape-hole.
  • Kids Puzzle (Wooden Animals 2) - Nordportmedia (.99) -- same as the puzzle above, with different animals.

Alphabet and Words:

  • Zoo Train - Busy Bee Studios (1.99) -- A puzzle-app made of letters!  A word appears in the lower half of the screen, and then the scrambled letters appear as tiles above.  Drag the letter-tiles down into the word, hear each letter as you put it in, and then hear the word and see a related picture when the tiles are all correctly placed.
  • Fish School HD - by Duck Duck Moose (1.99)
  • Injini: Child Development Game Suite - NCsoft (29.99) -- multiple activities


Entertainment / Other Games:

  • Peekaboo Friends - Night & Day Studios (free)
  • Toca Hair Salon - Toca Boca (1.99)
  • Toca Hair Salon Christmas Gift - Toca Boca (free)
  • Toca Tailor Fairy Tales - Toca Boca (free)
  • Toca House - Toca Boca (1.99)
  • Toca Kitchen Monsters - Toca Boca (free) -- Try to please the palates of one of two cheerful monsters -- choose food from the fridge, puree or fry or boil or chop or microwave it, add salt or pepper, and feed it to the monster for a reaction!  Can hardly believe this one is free; Joy & Rose both love it.  A hidden delight is that you can go into iPad settings and choose to make the food all-vegetarian.  :-)
  • Kapu Forest HD - Kapu Toys (1.99) -- ten mini-games with animals in the forest.  Nice storybook graphics!
  • Stress Popper, v2.1 (.99 - upgraded from free version)
  • Pocket Pond (free) -- touch the iPad screen to trouble the water, make splashy-noises and scare the koi; add fish and lily pads and fish-food.  We took this one off for a while because it was so addictive for Joy, but it's back and she enjoys it in moderation now.
  • Scoops (free) -- Joy's first real video game!  Tilt the iPad back and forth to catch falling scoops of ice cream on your cone; avoid the falling onions and tomatoes.
  • Poke Me! (free) -- tap a little purple monster character to make it react; drag a fingertip to make it walk; send it down in a submarine or up in a rocket.  Sometimes a little bit frustrating and buggy.
  • Angry Birds (.99) -- use a slingshot to fling birds at structures of increasing complexity, to demolish the pigs within.  Mom and Rose loved this app.  Joy kept trying to make it work, but kept wanting to pull the slingshot from left to right, thereby shooting the birds in the wrong direction.  Very frustrating.

Daily Living:

ABA / Discrete Trial Training:

Additional lists of iPad apps for users with autism:
iPad Apps for Communication, Learning, & Fun (pdf) -- by Amy Nelson, Kristi Otto and Connie Biksacky, presented at an Autism Society of Greater Madison April mini-conference

iPad Apps & Resources for People with Autism: Reviews, Links, Prices (Google spreadsheet) -- by Shannon des Roches Rosa, Corina Becker, and Jordan Sadler -- a parent, an adult with autism, and an SLP -- updated frequently

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