Dexteria Jr. is a pre-writing app from Binary Labs, the developers of the popular fine motor and writing app, Dexteria. Dexteria Jr is aimed at preschool age children and was developed in response to feedback that Dexteria can be too challenging for younger children.
Dexteria Jr consists of three games that target fine motor and visual motor skills.The first activity, Squish the Squash, encourages finger isolation to touch (and squish) each squash. As the levels progress, the squash begin to move around, and the higher levels require the squash to be double tapped.
In the second activity, Trace& Erase, a series of progressively more challenging mazes must be traced. This works on both finger isolation and visual motor control.
Below is a screenshot of diagonal lines. While this is great for finger isolation, you could also have the child use a stylus if you wanted to introduce tool use and start developing a pencil grasp.
The third activity, Pinch the Pepper, works on developing a pincer grasp. This is very similar to the crabs in the "Pinch It" game in the original Dexteria. As the levels progress, the peppers move around more and even begin to change colors. If you pinch a pepper that is yellow, it will turn into even more peppers!
How I use Dexteria Jr in therapy:
- I like to use Dexteria Jr as a warm-up activity prior to completing other fine motor or visual motor activities.
- When playing Squish the Squash, I make sure the child is correctly isolating the index finger and not just hitting at the squash with multiple fingers or the whole hand.
- Like I mentioned above, Trace & Erase is a good time to use an iPad stylus, which allows me to introduce tool usage and to teach appropriate pencil grasp. This can be a great option for students who are less motivated by paper and pencil activities.
- In all of the games, I encourage the use of the dominant hand (if a dominant hand has emerged), rather than switching hands or using both hands at once. This helps develop good habits for writing activities.
- With writing and pre-writing apps, I like to have the child transfer the skills learned to paper. This can be done using screenshots from the Trace & Erase game. For more information on how I use screenshots to create therapy activities, check out the multisensory activities I created using screenshots from the Shelby's Quest app.
What I like about Dexteria Jr:
- Fun graphics
- Easy to use
- Developmentally appropriate for preschoolers
- Developmentally appropriate progression of tracing skills in the Trace & Erase game
- In-app purchase for multiple user data collection is only $0.99
Best for Ages:The developer states that this app is for children ages 2-6. I would recommend it for any child who is working on developing pre-writing skills, typically between the ages of 3 and 5.
Bottom line:While no app can replace traditional fine motor play, this app is a great complementary activity for children developing their fine motor skills. Teachers, parents, and therapists will all find that this app targets developmentally appropriate fine motor and visual motor skills for preschoolers. Preschoolers will find the graphics fun and engaging!
Name of App: Dexteria Jr
Publisher: Binary Labs
Compatible with: iPad, requires iOS 5.0 or later
Disclaimer: This app was received via a promo code provided by Binary Labs. However, all opinions expressed are entirely my own. This post also contains affiliate links, App information was correct at the time of publication of this review, but is subject to change,especially compatibility and price, so please confirm prior to downloading.