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On the JJ Barnes Blog, I check out some online games that teach my children about healthy eating so I can make nutrition accessible and interesting!

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Teaching Children About Healthy Food

I’m always interested in ways to teach my children about healthy eating habits, but it can be tough to get them excited about eating vegetables and fruits. While I am a big believer in showing them food in the original form, they know what tomatoes, onions, carrots, and apples look like, and I try to make sure they eat as healthy a diet as possible, I always want to find a way to make it fun, rather than just mummy rambling on about how much garlic to use in a pasta sauce. That’s where online games can come in handy!

Children find it easier to retain information when they are engaged and entertained, so online games are a perfect approach. When kids learn how to cook and grow healthy food in a game, they are more likely to be interested in learning how to do it in real life, and making fruits and vegetables familiar in a game makes them less scary on the plate.

Additional tips for using online games to teach children about healthy eating:

  • Play the games with your child. This will help you to bond with your child and make the learning experience more enjoyable.
  • Talk to your child about the games. Ask them what they learned and how they felt about the games.
  • Make sure the games are age-appropriate. There are many online games available, so it is important to choose games that are appropriate for your child’s age.
  • Set limits on screen time. Even though online games can be a fun and effective way to teach children about healthy eating, it is important to set limits on screen time. Too much screen time can have negative consequences for children’s health and development.

Online Games That Teach My Children About Healthy Eating

Fruit Snake

Fruit Snake
Fruit Snake

This is a variation of the classic Snake game where the snake has to eat fruit to get bigger. The snake starts out as a small little creature and as you control the snake, by moving it left, right, up, or down, you get it eat different kinds of fruit, that make it grow longer. The goal of the game is to make the snake as long as possible without crashing into yourself before you run out of time.

Seeing the little fruit icons gives kids the chance to learn each one. Each time a new fruit pops up, I get my kids to shout out what fruit it is, and if they don’t know I tell them and get them to shout it out next time they see it. By familiarising them with the names and looks of different fruits, when we buy them in the shop they are excited to see them and try them, because that’s what the snake eats to get bigger.

Feed The Fidgets

Feed The Fidgets
Feed The Fidgets

In the game, players help a group of fidgets (small, colorful creatures) eat healthy foods by planting and harvesting vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The more healthy foods the fidgets eat, the happier and healthier they become.

The game also teaches you how to grow vegetables indoors, such as using pipes and a fishtank to grow spinach, and why it’s environmentally friendly. You have to structure your pipes around the tanks and use the right number of fish so that the plants can keep the tank clean, and the fish poop can fertilise the plants.

My children particularly love this one because of the design element of building the growing pipes, and the idea that if we get a fish tank they too could grow their own vegetables! After harvesting the plants, you have to move a cute little fidget creature around the garden so they can eat what you’ve grown, and the cute little chomping noise tells them the vegetables are delicious, not something to be scared of.

Pancake Maker

Pancake Maker
Pancake Maker

In the Pancake Maker game, you are prompted to use different ingredients to create the batter for a pancake before blending and going through the cooking process. Once the pancake is ready, a selection of toppings, such as strawberries, bananas, cheese and more are offered. It’s a simple way of kids learning how to take different food items and mix them together to create a meal they’re familiar with, and like, but get to see the raw elements that go into making it.

Learning how to cook at home is such a fundamental part of getting a healthy diet, rather than relying on fast food or preprepared foods, so this game is a great way of getting kids excited about learning to cook. My kids love pancakes, but they tend to just want sugar, so by introducing them to healthy fruit options to go on their pancakes in a game, they’re more willing to try them in real life because they’re already familiar with how it looks and are excited to recreate the game they love.

Fruit Memory Game

Fruit Memory Game
Fruit Memory Game

The fruit memory game is a classic game that can be played by children of all ages, and is a great way to improve memory and concentration, and teach children about different fruits. We used to play this when I was little with cards we bought, or pictures we drew ourselves, but now it’s available on online!

To play, you flip two cards over and if they match, you have a set. If the cards don’t match, they flip back over and you try to remember where they are so next time you can find the matching pair. The time runs down and you try to complete the set before it runs out.

By getting your children to name the different fruits, they become familiar and exciting, and easy to recognise when you give them to try in real life. You can also do this with vegetables or anything else you want them to remember and have fun with, as long as you’ve got matching pairs mixed into the set.

Vegetable Rush

Vegetable Rush
Vegetable Rush

Vegetable Rush is a connect-3 game where you must connect 3 or more adjacent vegetables with a line. Lines can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and turn an unlimited number of times. You can make your rows as long as possible by turning an endless number of times, as long as the vegetables match the one before it.

The goal of the game is to clear as many rows of vegetables as possible before the timer runs out. You can also earn power-ups by clearing certain combinations of vegetables. Power-ups can help you clear more rows, slow down the timer, or even give you a second chance if you make a mistake. The game gets progressively more difficult as you progress, with more vegetables appearing on the screen and the timer getting shorter.

Just as with the memory game, this is a way of getting kids to recognise the different vegetables, and be excited by them. Making foods fun and interesting means when they’re on the plate, they’re not scary, they’re something they want to see!

Conclusion

Making my children excited to try new and healthy food is always a positive, and using games to do it is a fun and light hearted approach. Plus, I won’t lie, I find them fun too.

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