I have recently stumbled upon a nifty little app (actually, my 22 year old son had it on his iPhone!) which is sure to be a hit with kids young and old! Swackett is a unique weather app, available for your Mac and all your nifty handheld devices, that provides a visual weather report featuring an array of figures they call “Peeps” (male, female, dog and kitty icons) dressed for the weather! So, your “Peep” might be dressed in shorts and a tank top carrying a water bottle on a hot day or in a coat and earmuffs when temperatures plummet! You can view current weather, weather changes across the day, or a week at a glance. For hardcore weather junkies, it includes satellite and radar images as well as watches and warnings. Oh, and did I mention it is FREE? (Swackett is a well developed app that generates its income from an ad banner that runs across the bottom of the screen – you can pay $.99 to have the ads disabled). You can also customize your Swackett by uploading pictures and or purchasing special editions (I could not resist the 1950’s edition – which tells me that today I should be dressing in my poodle skirt and sweater set! I do love a sweater set on a crisp Fall day!) A “Little Peeple” edition with full color icons of kids engaged in weather appropriate activities is due to be released soon!
Besides the cool factor – this app offers tons of language opportunities!
- Start your child’s day with a quick check of the weather forecast – stress weather vocabulary (For little guys: “rainy, sunny, cold, warm, wet, cloudy.” For your budding meteorologist, emphasize terms like “temperature, forecast, advisory”). Great material for practicing adjectives!
- Build comprehension of temporal concepts (time related concepts such as before, after, now, soon, earlier, later, tonight, tomorrow). “Now it is sunny, later it will be raining” The ability to scroll from screen to screen is a nice visual aid to help teach these concepts (start on the “current” weather tab, as you move from left to right, you are moving into the future – today, tonight, tomorrow).
- While using temporal terms, don’t forget to review verb tense! “Right now, it IS raining!” Tonight it WILL be sunny!” “Yesterday WAS cloudy!”
- Avoid those clothing choice confrontations! (Even the youngest of my clients seem to have very definite fashion opinions!) Together, check the forecast and help your child pick out their clothes. Be sure to offer choices, “It is going to be cold today, you need a sweater – do want to wear the blue or the green sweater?”
- Develop categorizing skills – what kinds of clothes/activities go with a sunny/cold/rainy day?
- Work on those essential planning skills (so important for children with Executive Functioning weaknesses). “Today is Tuesday. Let’s check the weather for the weekend. It is going rain. What are some rainy day activities we could plan?”
- Throw in a little Occupational Therapy! Clothes are great for developing those fine motor skills. While donning and doffing (Oh, how I love those words!) clothes have your child work the snaps, buttons and zippers. Bonus – while your child is dressing emphasize prepositions! “The shirt goes under your sweater.” “Your hat is on your head.”
- Use this app in Circle Time when discussing the weather. Sing the weather song: (to the tune of My Darling Clementine) “What’s the weather? What’s the weather? What’s the weather like today? Is it sunny? Is it cloudy? Is it rainy out today?”
So many fun ways to use this app! Ooops, while writing it has started to rain. My Swackett Peep says I need to find my umbrella. Don’t want to get my poodle skirt wet!