The App: Dexteria
Compatibility: iOS and Android
Price: $1.99 (on Android) and $4.99 (on App store)
This week we will have a look at another app that focuses on fine motor skills, however this one is more specialised than a number of the others available. Dexteria is an App designed by OT’s to support fine motor skills in a fun and interactive way. The app has three games, ‘tap it’, ‘pinch it’ and ‘write it’, all of which cover important foundation skills of he hand, required for furthering fine motor skills.
The ‘tap it’ game requires users to ‘anchor’ their thumb on the screen, while splaying their 4 fingers across the screen. When a colour appears that corresponds to a specific finger, the user touches the screen with that finger (e.g. green for little finger). This is a very effective game for finger isolation. For many children, especially in early writing years (3.5-5) finger isolation is a difficult task, but an important requirement for developing an appropriate pencil grip. The bar in the top left gauges accuracy, which increase when a child gets closest to tapping the centre each time a corresponding colour appears.
The ‘pinch it’ game requires children to find all the crabs on the screen, and with their thumb and first finger, pinch these two fingers together (creating a pinch grip) to squash all the crabs on the screen. This again is an important step in finger strength, endurance and developing finger isolation for the first two fingers. The game starts to include more challenges, including visual scanning and visual attention – when the crabs move – accessing visual skills required for writing.
The final game is the letter formation game, where children are required to trace letters (big, small) and numbers within the lines and connect the dots. There is instant feedback, where tracing outside the line will result in the line stopping and the blue dot flashing signalling you to ‘get back on track’. This game has a strong focus on motor accuracy, which is an important early skill especially for letter formation and letter sizing. This combines the skills developed form ‘Tap it’ and ‘Pinch it’ to add in a functional component (writing and letter formation).
Each game has an (i) button, containing information, located at the bottom right of the screen. As shown above, some of the games describe the skills each game can improve. (e.g. The ‘Tap it’ game covers a number of important ares to improve fine motor skills)
As the game has been designed by Occupational Therapists, the foundations of the game are strong and the activities are specific to developing strong fine motor skills foundations. In addition to ‘Dexteria’, there is a ‘Dexteria Jnr.’ app, also developed by OT’s, which follows a similar format, but targeted at a younger age group (<4 yrs). Both Dexteria and Dexteria Jnr are engaging games and when used on a daily basis for 10-15 minutes can provide ‘educational screen time’ for children and further develop their fine motor skills.
*Note: OTFC has not received royalties or endorsing this app or product