Posted Celi Merchant on 8/29/2014 |GOTR Picks
Kids today are spending an average of 7 hours per day in front of a screen. Much of this time is spent watching television or playing games, but it can be redirected for more positive outcomes. Apps exist that can help girls engage in healthy behaviors while using the technology they enjoy.
One of Girls on the Run’s core values is “nurture your physical, emotional and spiritual health.” The ways we address this in our curriculum emphasize connection and mindful interaction. But for girls with access to smartphones or tablets (and adults trying to sift through all the games and apps for kids) the following apps could play a role:
1. iDiary for Kids
Journaling can help girls learn to express their creativity, process their thoughts and convey their emotions. iDiary for Kids helps kids journal on their phone or tablet through writing, drawing or with photos. Girls can choose to share certain entries while keeping the rest of the diary private. iDiary even includes prompts for inspiration.
LiVe encourages kids to lead healthy lifestyles through goal setting. Girls can set goals for what types of food they want to eat and what types of exercise they want to do. The app also provides great ideas for healthy foods, physical activities, positive body image and even games they can play at family dinners.
3. NFL Play 60
The NFL Play 60 app—part of the NFL’s initiative to help kids be active for an hour a day—is like many kid-favorite, screen-based running games, but this one actually encourages real life movement! When users run, jump or turn, their character in the game will do the same. Girls will learn from the healthy lifestyle tips and be motivated by short-term goals throughout the game. The app also links to a website that includes extensive resources to extend learning. (Note: Talk to your girl about common-sense safety guidelines for playing, running and jumping while holding an electronic device).
4. Stop, Breathe & Think
At Girls on the Run, girls learn about the importance of taking time to slow down. They practice quiet movement and visualization exercises to experience how these can help them relax and cope with stress. Stop, Breathe & Think can help girls learn to center themselves through guided meditations that make the practice more approachable. Stickers for consistent use will help keep girls motivated to try daily meditation.
5. Middle School Confidential
The Girls on the Run curriculum emphasizes lessons that prepare girls for challenges like bullying, unhealthy relationships and self-esteem issues. Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are tackles the similar topics. The unique graphic-novel format of this app will keep girls absorbed as they follow the story of six friends who navigate the adventures of middle school together.
6. We CookIt
Learning to prepare healthy meals is an important lesson that kids can learn young. WeCookIt provides recipes and cooking tips specifically for kids. Users can search through recipe categories or even post their own creations. A helpful “Get a Grownup” warning will appear if tools like knives or a stove are necessary for the recipe. Try a few recipes together to learn about cooking terminology and measurements, as well as kitchen safety. Then see what type of creative meals your girl can come up with on her own! (Note: If you want to give your girl the option to share recipes with others through the app, it’s always best to use a nickname or otherwise non-personally identifiable username.)
Do you have any favorite apps for girls? Share them with us in the comments!
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