If you’re an iPad fan like me, I’m sure you’ll agree that iPad apps have a lot to offer us as school-based speech-language pathologists. Not only does this digital device give us access to some of the coolest and most unique speech therapy apps out there (like Multiple Choice Articulation, Charades Articulation, etc.) but there are tons of apps on the App Store that, while not made specifically designed for SLPs to use, can still be extremely beneficial for the kiddos on our caseload, especially when used as a reinforcer. One genre of iPad apps that’s often overlooked or just plain unheard of is the one that I call the multiplayer, single device genre. In short, apps that fall in this category are games that have a 2-player component to them (or sometimes even a 4-player component!), thus, making them ideal for small group therapy sessions that contain more than one student.
Two-players using ONE device?!
Yup! If you look hard enough, you can find a slew of fun apps for your iPad that allow students to play side-by-side with one another on the same device. But here’s the catch, you have to look kind of hard to find these types of multiplayer, single device apps because they aren’t the most popular apps out there. But don’t worry though because I’ve done the heavy lifting for you. I’ve discovered a handful of apps that I’ve happily been using for some time now. And not only do I dig these apps, my elementary and middle school students all give them two thumbs up, WAY UP. These apps are the types where you can easily convince students to, “let’s just do about do about 20 minutes worth of these questions and then after that, we can play this quick game on the iPad as a brain break.” Believe me, you’re going to adore these apps.
So without further ado, I present to you my top 7 favorite multiplayer apps that are MUST HAVES for SLPs.
- 1. Wrestle Jump by Otto-Ville Ojala – This one is first on my list for good reason. It’s because Wrestle Jump is my absolute favorite multiplayer, single device game EVER! This was the first app that showed me how two students could successfully play with one iPad at the same time. This 2-player game takes no more than a minute and a half to play. The game is simple, two wrestlers are locked in hand-to-hand jumping combat. Your goal is to bang the other wrestler’s head against the ground in order to win the round. The first wrestler to do this on 5 separate occasions wins. It’s currently $1.99 and so worth it. Perfect for both elementary and middle school-aged kiddos.
- 2. Tug the Table by Otto-Ville Ojala – From the makers of Wrestle Jump comes yet another beautifully made multiplayer, single device game. In this tug-of-war inspired game, both players are tapping on a button on the iPad’s screen in hopes of pulling the opposing player over the line. Just like Wrestle Jump, Tug the Table is also good for elementary and middle school aged students. It’s $1.99. Buy it right now, you won’t regret it.
- 3. OLO game by Sennep – I have to give this game BIG props because it’s one of only a few games out there that has a 4-player component to it. Imagine that? One device and four students successfully cooperating and playing the same game? Yes, it’s possible with OLO. This game of skill and strategy reminds me of a variation of shuffleboard (or maybe the Olympic sport called curling). Your goal is to slide your team’s circle into your target zone to score a point. If your circle doesn’t go far enough, no point. If it goes too far, no point. You have to slide your circle JUST RIGHT in order to snag the point. It’s currently FREE so you have no excuse to not give it a go.
- 4. Cat Pong by SinSquid – My middle schoolers adore this silly variation of ping pong. This 2-player app let’s each person play as a cat and each cat hits the ball of yarn to the other cat. But don’t blink because if you tap your cat at the wrong moment, the ball of yarn will just fly past you! First cat to score 10 points is the winner. I’ve noticed that the game play of this app is a bit tricky for my younger elementary school students to get the hang of, but my middle schoolers have no problem at all. So download it today for your older kiddos! This app is FREE and each round takes no more than about 45 seconds.
- 5. Air Hockey Gold by Acceleroto – From younger students to older students, this game never fails to excite! We’ve all played air hockey before and this app digitizes that fun experience perfectly. In this 2-player game, you use your mallet to hit your hockey puck into your opponent’s net. First player to score 7, wins! The mallets are easy to control and the puck rockets so nicely across the table. It’s extremely realistic and totally FREE! Does it get any better than that? I think not.
- 6. Air Hockey Mania – Disky by Crazy Labs – While we’re on the subject of air hockey, I’d be crazy not to mention this one crazy variation of the classic air hockey game that we all know and love. It’s called Disky and the goal of this game is to use a slingshot to blast your colored disc into your opponent’s court. And yes I said slingshot. You use your finger to pull back the slingshot to shoot your disc and let me tell you, it gets VERY intense. The game take about a minute and change to play and it’s FREE! Will you give this app a download? (You better!)
- 7. Tap Tap Power! Multiplayer Party Game by Voyage Travel Apps – This is a fast, frantic, and fun multiplayer game for two to four players that you MUST try. Yup, another 4-player game, just like OLO. All you need to do with this game is tap your area when it’s lit to score a point and don’t tap your area when it’s not lit or you lose a point. It’s really that simple, but trust me, it gets very tricky to keep up! There are also a couple of wacky twists that the developers added into this game like power ups that can be dragged to your area for more points or these cool hazard icons that can be dragged over to your opponent’s area to cause them to lose points. This game is FREE and totally wants to live inside of your iPad. So, why don’t you download it and give it a nice home?
In closing . . .
Use these multiplayer iPad apps as a refreshing pause from the usual speech therapy routine. I guarantee you that you’ll absolutely see the efficiency and morale of your students increase once they have these apps to look forward to after a block of speech therapy drills. Oh, and full disclosure, I don’t personally know any of the app developers that created any of the apps mentioned in this top 7, nor was I given any promotional codes to download them. I downloaded them under my own free will and I truly believe that their creations seriously ROCK! You will, too.