Tech Tools to Encourage Healthy Habits for Kids
Healthy Habits for Kids
The topic of health and wellness has been a big one for the last two years. We have discussed health apps for medication management and telehealth visits as well as apps that support mental health. However, most of these focused on use by parents and caregivers.
We decided to take a fun approach to look at helping to build healthy habits for children, teens, and young adults using games. Read below to learn about games that work on following directions, problem-solving building healthy habits like brushing your teeth and choosing healthy foods, and even an app that can be used to create social stories to reinforce the learning of these skills.
Toca Kitchen Monsters
By Toca Boca AB
Toca Kitchen Monsters is a fun, creative game that allows kids to prepare and cook food. The child then can feed the character that they choose. If the food is prepared correctly, the character likes the food and smiles, and makes happy sounds. If the food is not prepared correctly, the character makes yucky faces and sounds. This is a great app to use for following directions, and the app is entirely nonverbal, so language is not required.
Toca Kitchen 2
By Toca Boca AB
Toca Kitchen 2 app is a fun way to explore food, cooking, and nutrition. Toca Boca apps are known for their engaging and interactive games that can be customized to fit the needs of all users. Toca Kitchen 2 is a sequel to the popular Toca Kitchen series. The app features three new characters, new ingredients, and new tools. Users choose foods from the left side of the screen and cooking utensils from the right side of the screen. At the bottom of the screen, the user is given seasonings to spice or add a citrus twist to foods. Toca Kitchen 2 can be used as a conversation starter for discussions about food groups, healthy choices, and ways to cook. After using the app, families can prepare items to show how the foods look in real life.
Price: Itune – $3.99 / Google Play – Free
By LaLa Lunchbox, LLC
LaLa Lunchbox: meal planning for kids is a fun meal-planning app that can be helpful for nearly all families. The app has multi-user functionality, allowing each family member to create his or her own account and “monster” avatar. Family members then click on a calendar to access a week’s worth of lunchbox menus. Each lunch box contains multiple food options (managed by the parent or caregiver) that can be selected and include fruits, vegetables, proteins and snacks. Users can choose up to 6 items per lunch box. All selected foods are used to create a grocery list, which can be synced with any mobile device to make grocery shopping quick and easy. LaLa Lunchbox is helpful for children ages preschool and up. Children who are picky eaters will especially enjoy being involved in the meal-planning process and are more likely to eat foods that they have selected themselves. Additionally, LaLa Lunchbox can help those families with nonverbal members who may have difficulty communicating their meal preferences.
Price: FREE • Offers In-App Purchases
Food for Kids
By Ventura Educational Systems
This app introduces food and nutrition to children and does require some reading skills. Users are presented with the types of nutrients that are in foods and how they promote healthy eating habits along with fun facts about the origins of different foods. The app uses a game format to teach about nutrition. It can be used as a tool for teens and young adults preparing to take a more active role in their meal planning and grocery shopping.
By Benjamin Underwood
Brush DJ is an app that encourages proper oral hygiene care by playing music chosen by the user while they brush their teeth for the recommended 2 minutes. The app has an age-neutral appearance, making it appropriate for children just learning to brush as well as adults who may be re-learning healthy habits due to disability or those that have trouble sticking to healthy habits. The app even has an option to connect and play music from one’s own personal playlist making it fun and appealing for the whole family.
My Story School eBook Maker
By My Story, LLC
My Story School eBook Maker is a user-friendly story-building tool that promotes literacy, engages students in the creative-writing process, and allows users to share their work in a variety of digital formats. My Story comes preloaded with hundreds of free images (and hundreds more for purchase), and can be personalized by uploading individual’s photos and unique clipart. Because My Story also has an audio feature, users can record themselves reading their stories and share with others as a movie; this is helpful for early-readers, or for therapeutic speech therapy. My Story would be a great tool to create social stories or picture-based instructions and schedules to help users build healthy habits.
Price: $4.99 • Offers In-App Purchases
By Transform Health Inc.
Kinsa app is for families and caregivers who want to track health. The Kinsa app can be used to not only take temperature readings, but also to keep track of other symptoms and medication. The app works best when paired with one of Kinsa’s Smart Thermometers, which include styles that scan for contactless fever detection, check in the inner ear or a more traditional stick thermometer. At the time of publication, these thermometers range from $24.99 to $39.99. The Kinsa app provides parents or caregivers with guidance prompts based on age and symptoms that are recorded and make suggestions such as “Here’s what doctors recommend for high fevers at your child’s age.” Kinsa thermometers and app are user friendly, fun for kids, and an accurate way to keep track of healthcare information for every household member.
Price: FREE • Pairs with a Kinsa Smart Thermometer that must be purchased separately
Check out BridgingApps App Search Tool to search for apps, create lists and even share them.
BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, therapists, doctors, and teachers who share information about using mobile devices with people who have special needs.
Amy Fuchs is the Program Coordinator at BridgingApps and a former special education teacher. Amy Barry is the Content Manager and Editor at BridgingApps and mother of five children.
Cristen Reat is co-founder of BridgingApps and a mother who found success when using a mobile device with her younger son who has multiple disabilities. We share a passion for using mobile technology to enhance the lives of people of all ages with disabilities.
More Healthy Food Apps
- Fun Food Apps to Encourage Healthy Eating
- Health & Nutrition Apps for Family Fun
- Fall into Healthy Routines with Technology
- Tech Tools for Family Holiday Cooking
- Benefits of Special Diets for Special Needs Children
- Most Popular Gluten Free/Casein Free Products and Where to Find Them
- Traveling with Special Dietary Need
- Ways to Advocate for Yourself While on a Special Diet
- Focus on Color
- Taking Care of Your Child’s Special Food Needs
- Eating Breakfast When You Are on a Special Diet
- Family Fun Doesn’t Have to Stop Because of Special Diets
- Handling a Special Diet at School
- Special Diets: Food Allergies
- How To Achieve A Healthy You
This post originally appeared on our March/April 2022 Magazine