12 iPad, Xbox, and Wii Games That Help With Occupational Therapy

Technology and Occupational Therapy

In occupational therapy, there are many ways to use motivating technology to address specific fine motor, sensory processing and sensory-motor skills.  Here is a parent’s guide to apps and game systems that will keep children entertained while also assisting in their development.

iPads & Tablets

iPad Handwriting appsGames such as Temple Runand Fruit Ninja help with visual tracking and scanning, as well as overall attention and focus on tasks

Handwriting and letter apps are great to work on fine motor skills. Our favorites include Dora ABCs and ABC Tracing. Both help kids learn their letters and give instruction on how to properly form them.

Sequencing games such as Cookie Maker and Pizza Maker address how to follow multi-step directions and increase kids’ attention on tasks.

Challenging cognitive and problem-solving apps work to increase these higher-level skills in a creative way. Our favorites include UnBlock Me and Where’s My Water?

Xbox Kinect & Nintendo Wii

Wii occupational therapyVideogame systems address lots of body movements to increase and improve a variety of skills, including balance, coordination, strengthening, and endurance.

Kinect for Xbox is a system that allows for full body fun, in which the child controls the movements on the screen and doesn’t need a controller.  Nintendo’s Wii system is a classic favorite that offers motion-controlled action play, incorporating lots of coordination work with a variety of controllers and accessories (such as a balance board and dual-hand controllers).

Both systems provide tons of sensory input, allowing for improved body awareness, movement processing, and overall motor skill acquisition and development.  Games that focus on these areas include:

Have fun and learn with technology!
What are your favorite games that can help with occupational therapy?

This post was written by the occupational therapy department of The Kaufman Children’s Center for Speech, Language, Sensory-Motor, and Social Connections. Kaufman Children’s Center provides individual speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, social skills instruction, and applied verbal behavior therapy for children from birth to 17 years old. 

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  • Dave

    None of the Ipad Apps have vety good reviews???? How much research went into this?

  • Elephantintheroom

    iPad- Better Letters and ABC Cursive Writing been fabulous for us.

  • Renny

    My 7 yr old son loves Temple Run.

  • Nico

    Happy action Theatre and kinect party are great. (for the xbox360 with kinect. they are on the online store.

  • http://twitter.com/InstridePT Julie Freschi

    I use Twister and Reflex Ridge on the XBox for motor planning and body awareness.

  • Stephen

    Nice! Recreational Therapy has been using games as therapy for decades, even before video games! :)

  • D. Austin

    Recreational therapists also use video games in therapy and rehab.

  • Shelly

    We have a Wii, but my younger son (age 7) is unable to do any of the games listed. Are there any out there that would be useful without such intensive directions or coordination? He has autism and low tone. We also have a Kindle Fire, but anything that even looks remotely “educational” sets him off, so I need to find something easy enough for him to understand and do, that doesn’t actually LOOK like he’s “working” or “learning.” HELP?? He has a LeapPad 2, but again he cannot understand most of the directions for the games or doesn’t have the coordination to play any of them and of course “losing” over and over gets frustrating for anyone, especially a child with autism.

    • Monica

      check this page out Shelly. Hope you find something here.

      http://www.oneplaceforspecialneeds.com/main/library_special_needs_apps.html

    • k

      try leapster stuff … the leapster explorer is very good, and is a video game where they have to play … than do a test to pass to the next level, than play some more … our kids loved it! And the train track once are like mind puzzles

    • Sunil

      Dear Shelly, Our situation seems exactly same as yours. My son (age 7) with severe speech issues. he like temple run and jetpack. but any thing educational will turn him off. since he’s 2 we are teaching him ABC…,colors, language…. we know that he knows, but purposefully pick wrong letters… i have a Wii with MarioCart which he has never completed a single race, he sometimes takes it and plays, but keep failing as you said… he just has not gotten the concept of game yet.
      I think we should share more of our success so to make our learning curve a bit easier. my email id is kksunil2@rediffmail.com