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Best Nutrition, Health, and Fitness Apps for Kids

These health-focused apps, games, and sites give kids the straight dope on a host of essential and often taboo topics about bodies. They’ll be moving: practicing yoga, enhancing motor skills through teamwork, and analyzing sports techniques. Whether it’s in physical education (PE) and health class, or core content areas like science, students are sure to find the vital information they need to stay energized and active.

Get the list from Common Sense Media

Tips to Get Kids to Drink More Water

Adapted from VeryWell

It’s summer in Florida which means it’s hot and we need to pay close attention to how much water our kids are drinking. Staying hydrated is essential to good health (for children, teens, and adults) and for safety in the Florida heat. Research even shows that when kids have better access to drinking water at school, obesity rates go down.

A child’s exact water intake needs will vary based on their height, weight, and even the weather.  Here’s a chart to provide guidance:

Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements

Age Range Gender Total Water (Cups/Day)
4 to 8 years Girls and Boys 5
9 to 13 years Girls 7
Boys 8
14 to 18 years Girls 8
Boys 11

Data is from Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Tables. Recommended Daily Allowance and Adequate Intake Values: Total Water and Macronutrients.

How do we help ensure our children are drinking enough water?  Here are some tips:

Drink More Water? There’s an App for That

Dozens, actually! If your child has a smartphone or tablet, you can download a water-tracking and reminder app for her. There are lots of free and paid options, but some of the more kid-friendly ones are:

Plant Nanny: Choose a seedling and help it grow by tracking your water intake. This is a free app, so beware of ads, up-sells, and poor grammar. And it doesn’t offer reminders like many other hydration apps do. But it’s cute and more motivating than filling up a virtual water drop or bottle (iOS; Google Play).

Carbodroid: Instead of a plant, power up a cute little robot with this Android app. It also offers reminders, and has a simple, straightforward interface (Google Play).

iDrated: This one’s for the data-lovers. You can see your intake stats for the day or the week, set reminders, and change the target hydration level to one that works best for you (99 cents, iOS).

Water with a Twist

With all the other choices out there, it’s no wonder kids don’t always love plain old water. To boost its appeal without adding sugar or calories, try:

Fancy ice cubes: You can find trays that make cool cubes for Lego lovers, Star Wars fans, and creative types (make suns, stars, trees, flowers, and sea life). You can also make good old rectangular ice, but add fruit or mint leaves for a hint of flavor and a burst of color.

Fruit garnish: Instead of adding fruit to your ice, you can also take a cue from fancy spas and beach resorts, and add it directly to your water. Drop sliced fruits or berries right into your water pitcher, or try a water bottle with a built-in infuser.

Bubbles: Not all kids like carbonation, but if yours do, consider buying seltzer water for them or investing in a Sodastream for your family. It allows you to bottle your own fizzy water at home. If you’d like to flavor it, you can do that too, and you’ll have more control than if you purchase flavored, sweetened drinks.

Bottles with Flair

A cool or cute bottle can encourage kids to drink more water, and so can having a special bottle or cup that you carry with you all the time. Plus, refillables don’t generate waste. Here’s a lineup of top BPA-free bottles especially for kids. Your kids might prefer a straw cup or a small bottle or cup that they fill up frequently.  Sometimes that’s less intimidating than a grown-up size serving. And at home, you can have a stash of fun drinking straws to prompt more water intake.

Family Water Challenge

Make drinking more water a family policy: Don’t keep other beverages (aside from water and milk) in your home, and don’t make it a practice to buy them when you’re eating out either.

And/or, set a family goal to drink more water, so you can work on it together. Track your progress using an app, a sticker chart, or even by marking right on your water bottles with a dry-erase marker.

Potty Talk

Did you know that dark-colored urine is a sign of dehydration? If you drink a healthy amount of water, your pee will be a very pale yellow. This fun fact might just be gross enough to motivate your kids to drink up.

Is Your Child Using These Apps?

In our post, Five Potentially Dangerous Apps for Kids, we listed apps you may want to consider monitoring if your child is using them on their mobile device.  With the help of the National PTA, we’re expanding the list:

snapchat

 

Snapchat—You’ve probably heard of this one. It’s a video messaging app where users can take photos and record videos to a targeted list of contacts. Accompanied with a set of fun filtered frames and tools to draw and add emojis, users have a ton of fun ways to interact. Once you hit send, the message will self-destruct. (Price: Free; Age: 13+)

 

Voxer

Voxer—This is a walkie talkie like messaging app that uses a voice messaging and “push-to-talk” system to communicate. By default, Voxer enables the “Share Location” and disables the “Privacy Mode.” That means, anyone communicating with your child can track their location. It’s important to check and enable privacy and location settings so you do not reveal any personal information. (Price: Free; Age: 13+)

 

tinder

Tinder—If you’re a single parent or talk to your single friends, this is a popular dating app that connects matched users based off mutual interests and location. However, teens are actively on it. The app uses your information from Facebook including date of birth to verify your age. Users aged between 13 and 17 can see only other Tinder users within the same age group. Users over 18 can see only other users who are also over 18.  (Price: Free; Age: 13+)

 

For the majority of the apps listed above the user has to be 13 years or older to sign up—teens under 18 are to “agree” with their parent or guardian before they sign-up.

Five Potentially Dangerous Apps for Kids

From Today.com

Today.com shares this lists of apps that you should closely monitor if your child is using them.

kikKik

  • Kik is a messing app that does not require a phone number or email address. All the user needs to do is create a username.
  • Users can chat widely with unknown people.
  • There are apps within the app, which can make it difficult for parents to monitor.

Yik Yak Logo - Labeled for ReuseYik Yak

  • Yik Yak is an anonymous posting forum.
  • The app uses a GPS locator that allows anyone within a certain radius to see your child’s messages.
  • Comments on posts can often start off innocently and escalate, exposing users to sexual content.

ask.fmAsk.fm

  • The app uses a Q&A format, in which people are encouraged to post questions that anyone using the app can answer.
  • There have been reports of bullying on the app.
  • Anyone on the app has the ability to block other users.

whisper-logoWhisper

  • Whisper is an anonymous app on which users post any confessions they may have.
  • Only those above the age of 17 are supposed to be using Whisper.
  • The app can expose the user’s location.

best secret

Best Secret Folder

  • Best Secret Folder is an app that helps hide content from parents.
  • The app looks like a utility folder, so it is easy to overlook on kids’ phones.