The new year has arrived and so has winter in New York City. January may be the month to start fulfilling resolutions, but how do we encourage children to exercise even when it's cold outside? Many parents may wonder if there are new ways to encourage kids to eat healthier and to develop better habits. Here is a list of some popular products and free apps for children (and adults) that can help reach your and your child's new year goals.
The National Football League and the American Heart Association created an app encouraging kids to run and jump around. Kids guide their avatar through courses by running, jumping, and turning while holding their device. We’ve tried playing this game without actually moving and it was difficult to do which means your kids will have to move to play this game. Besides, why wouldn’t you? This app is a fun game with great design.
2. Fitquest Lite
Fitquest Lite is another running game that requires children to run, jump, and duck while holding their device. Children play as a baby squirrel trying to run safely to its tree house. The game requires players to jump for acorns, duck for eagles and maneuver around obstacles along the way.
Available on iOS.
We know what red, yellow, and green lights symbolize on traffic signals. Studies show that these colors can also encourage self-control and help people view food in a new light. Kurbo uses the traffic light system to help children see which foods are healthy (green) and unhealthy (red) and how many unhealthy food they're consuming. Users can create customized health and weight goals by recording how many red, yellow, and green food they have eaten per day and week. Kurbo’s design may have playful avatars and fun games geared toward kids, but its simple and informative layout can also attract adults.
4. Awesome Eats
Whole Foods Market’s Whole Kids Foundation created an enjoyable app about food and healthy eating. Kids unlock levels and earn points by identifying and moving different fruits and vegetables to their appropriate bins. Healthy eating tips and food facts are shown on the screen after finishing each level. The animation and sounds makes this game an addictive game. The only downside to this app is the helpful tips and food fact section. Although they are educational, very young children may not understand the facts and can easily ignore the screen.
Learning about and managing asthma can be fun for kids thanks to Wellapets, an app that allows children to care for a fire-breathing dragon with asthma. Through colorful animation, kids takes care of their pet by giving them virtual inhalers twice a day and earn rewards when they complete educational and entertaining missions. The app even shows kids how to use an inhaler correctly. This app is a great tool for kids to learn more about asthma and gives them a chance to become doctors for their virtual pets.
Make tooth brushing a fun experience by adding music to your child’s dental care routine. Brush DJ plays two minutes of music, the recommended amount of time the American Dental Association suggests, through the app. You can choose songs from your personal music library or play a random song using the app. Brush DJ buzzes and softly rings every 30 seconds letting their app users know how much time has passed. Brush DJ is a very simple app that makes toothbrushing fun.
Sick children may squirm away at the sight of a medicine dropper, but they are more likely to take their medication with the help of a friendly, talking animal. Ava the Elephant is a medicine dispenser shaped like an elephant with an opening in the back to insert and disguise liquid medicine droppers. When you're ready to feed your child, just push a button located on the back of the elephant, and Ava will say, “One, two, three! Open up!” encouraging kids to open their mouths to take their medicine. The elephant then says, “Good job!” providing positive reinforcement. Watch Tiffany Krumins, creator of Ava the Elephant, pitch her product on ABC’s Shark Tank.
If only all chores can be made into an enjoyable game. The Grush, which stands for the gaming toothbrush, makes toothbrushing an entertaining experience. The Grush is a toothbrush and a gaming controller rolled into one. Children can play Grush games on smartphones by brushing their teeth with the Grush. Some games include conducting an orchestra, vanquishing monsters in between teeth, and grooming pets. Parents can view their child’s toothbrushing habits from a dashboard because all of the child's information is stored in Grush's cloud service.
Available on Grush.
We’ve all been there. Sometimes willpower is just not enough to stop us from reaching for our favorite junk food. Kitchen Safe is a plastic container with an electronic lid that can store and lock anything from junk food to electronics. It is a precommitment device that allows the user to time when the items will be locked and for how long. There are no overrides, which means the only way to reopen the container is to wait until the timer runs out. Ryan Tseng, David Krippendorf, and Nick Tseng is the team behind Kitchen Safe. They pitched their product on Shark Tank and their product was recently featured on PBS’s Newshour's video on gifts that can improve lives through behavioral economics.