While too much screen time can be unhealthy for kids, there are a handful of apps to help them appreciate their body, how it works, and what they put into it. These health, fitness and nutrition apps do everything from encouraging your kids to "smash" doughnuts and soda pop for points, to exploring human anatomy, to teaching them a proper downward dog yoga pose. Breathe easy and check these these healthy alternatives.
Smash Your Food HD ($2.99 iPad)
Smash Your Food is extremely informative and interactive. It teaches children real-life skills like how to read a nutrition labels. Students are asked to first identify their age and level of exercise so they can be given target levels of sugar, salt, and oil consumption. Using the nutritional labels on common fast foods, they're asked to estimate the number of sugar cubes, and teaspoons of oil and salt in each item. After submitting their answers, children will be able to tell if this food is healthy for an average kid. Finally, they'll be able to smash the food and watch a jelly doughnut or can of soda rip apart. The combination of competitiveness and food destruction will grab your students attention and keep them playing.
This is my body - Anatomy for Kids ($1.99 iPad)
This is the perfect app for kids of a wide age range to learn about the human body, inside and out. The animation is flawless. The design and art are brilliant. The interactive games are great for younger users, and the in-depth educational aspects are great for older ones. Within this app there are several subjects to navigate though, and each offers details on the topic at hand, alongside interactive puzzles or other animated elements. The navigation and interface are fantastic and geared specifically for kids, keeping them interacting on every page. Younger children need not be able to read yet to get the full experience, while older kids will be engaged by the available descriptions.
iMuscle 2 ($2.99 iPad)
iMuscle is a great reference app to learn the muscular system, and to learn exercises specific to certain muscle groups. Learning about the muscular system will carry over into the student's awareness of their fitness levels, and help them continue a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise. Students will enjoy the 3D models and animations explaining the exercise. The detailed animations make it very easy for even the novice to understand. Being able to customize a personal workout and see their progress is also a plus!
FitnessKids ($2.99 iPad)
FitnessKids teaches children how much fun it can be to be active, by offering examples and motivation for 25 different exercises. The colorful backgrounds and fun music offer a stimulating experience while the real-life examples act out the poses for each level. Kids will keep coming back as their abilities grow as there are several different difficultly levels. The training portion of the app keeps track of progress so you can keep an eye on how they are progressing. The 'joust' portion offers competition among kids to try to best others in the same exercise.
Super Stretch Yoga HD (free iPad)
The Adventures of Super Stretch is a wonderful app for teaching kid-friendly yoga moves to children. With cartoons that tell a quick story of an animal and short videos for each move, your children will be moving like a cat or cow in no time. Instead of watching a movie on their iPad, children can try out poses modeled by kids their own age. This app features twelve yoga poses, each with an accompanying video and description. Tap on your favorite animal, learn about the character, and watch a video of children doing each pose. The videos include advice on a good time of day to try the pose and reassurance for beginners. Videos are AirPlay compatible and can be mirrored to your television with an Apple TV.