Teach Through Apps: Pepi Tree

Teach Through Apps: Pepi Tree

Age level: Preschool, Early Elementary
Description: I cannot express how much I adore this app. It’s a beautifully designed and simple to use app that practices some basic preschool skills using the animals that all live in the same tree. The music and sound design app is also much better than most of the apps designed for young children, which frequently leaving me frantically searching for a mute button. It opens on an owl sitting in a tree. When your student touches the screen, it goes dark with a spotlight around the finger. The student searches for nocturnal animals in and around the tree, then matches them to their shape once found. After that, the child has an option to move up or down in the tree to discover more animals and activities with a variety of activities at each level. Children get to help a butterfly come out of it’s cocoon, help a spider build it’s web then catch bugs in it, and find the appropriate food for a family of squirrels that live in the tree. I also love that it is a natural conversation-starter for preschool science, and could follow or lead to outdoor activities.
Modifications: This is not an app that is easy to modify without taking control of the screen, which is the antithesis of what this app is created for. Some of the activities could be modified by showing prepared picture prompts of the activity before the student engages in the activity (such as pictures of what a squirrel does eat.)
Skills: Scanning, motor skills, picture comprehension, matching
Pros: Again, great design. It offers a strong variety of activities and, as mentioned in the description section, it can follow or lead to outdoor activities. There are so few apps that connect science knowledge so well for preschool-aged children. The activities and design are strong enough that kindergarteners or slightly older students with developmental disabilities would still be engaged in the activities. It uses a child’s natural motivation to encourage skills that are difficult to teach for young students with significant delays, and the reinforcement for completing tasks is immediate and strong (such as when the child releases the butterfly from it’s cocoon – the music swells and the child can make the butterfly fly around the screen.) So many apps and other media designed for young children do strange things to “inspire a sense of wonder,” I love that this app inspires wonder about nature in a realistic way.
Cons: I can’t think of a single con.
Cost: $1.99 Should I buy this? If you have a preschooler or teach preschoolers, this is a great purchase.
ABLLS: A10, B5, C11, G2, G9
VB-MAPP: Listener Responding 5, VP-MTS 1, VP-MTS 5, VP-MTS 6

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