Oh my!! Have I got a gem to pass along today! If your young (or young-at-heart) child operates a computer with eye gaze, head mouse, joystick, or just needs help developing basic mouse skills or switch skills, you are both going to LOVE this site!!
OwlieBoo (or El Buho Boo for our Spanish-speaking friends) is a free collection of fabulous kids’ games to play online. They have simple but darling graphics and simple instructions. The thumbnails are even animated to give you a hint as to what the games do. Clever!
|The home page for OwlieBoo, featuring keyboard access (red arrow),|
mouseovers (yellow arrow), and click or drag (blue arrow) access.
Let’s take a look…
The top row has games activated by keyboard swats. Any key will work. This also means switch users can operate the games with a single switch. Bang away and make the magic happen! Great for cause and effect learning. Many of the games have animals appear in their habitats. Be sure to look at the Egg game…not only cute, but a great chance to teach about some of the curious egg-laying mammals of Australia!
|By pressing any key or a switch, animals appear in their habitat.|
|Help a wide variety of animals hatch from their eggs by swatting the keys.|
The middle row is controlled by moving the mouse across the screen. There is no clicking necessary with this group of games, so kids can concentrate solely on controlling cursor movement. This is awesome for beginning eye gaze or head mouse use! Some games have no time requirement, such as the matching activities at the end of the row (Kids, Forms) or the Bugs game. Others ask that you move the cursor with some speed, such as with Bubbles or Monkeys, but the speeds are much more forgiving than some other mouse games.
|Pop the bubbles to free the owls in this arcade-style game.|
|Move the babies to their mothers by sweeping them with your cursor, |
using whatever method of cursor access you have.
The bottom row incorporates left-clicking or dragging . Some activities involve simple targeting and clicking, such as Music and Painter (coloring book pages). Others use a drag-and-drop function, as in Toon Me, Stickers, jigsaw Puzzles, and Complete the critters games.
|A simple and successful coloring book using just clicks and mouse sweeps.|
|Drag and drop body parts to copy the prompt picture.|
|Create your own scenes by dragging and dropping cute stickers on a background.|
Notice that you can even print your artwork.
These games are built for success. All are cognitively simple, which is great for kids whose concentration needs to go towards the motor movements of controlling access. Most of the timed games move fairly slowly. The games use forgiving targets, so puzzles pieces stick if you get close to the right spot rather than requiring that they be placed with precision. There are no scores.
If you Google “mouse games for toddlers,” you’ll get a zillion sites for free online play. Some are outstanding; others not so much. But I promise that OwlieBoo (El Buho Boo) is a sure-fire winner that you’ll want to check out for sure. Happy playing!!