COMMENTARY: Learning Healthy Habits Has Never Been This Much Fun!

As adults, we’re always obsessing over chasing that elusive 10 pounds that we gained so easily after college, but still haven’t figured out how to lose. Going to the gym and eating organic foods are second nature to those who have adapted healthier lifestyles in an effort to be at their best. It’s difficult to make those changes—switching french fries for brussels sprouts and being active instead of sitting on the couch all day. Why, then, don’t we give our kids a head start in this crusade? We should be teaching these healthy habits as early as possible.

eggplantAt Toy Fair 2014, there was one booth that stuck out to me, mostly because there was a dancing carrot in superhero gear in front of the ss-logotable. Hey, whatever you have to do! But the premise of this company is just that—to put a fun, positive light on vegetables and to get the attention of kids. Super Sprowtz teaches kids to “eat their super powers,” and encourages healthy and active lifestyles at an early age. Books, apparel, puppets, DVDs, apps, and educational kits make up the collection, and all feature positive messages and superhero vegetables. Erica Eggplant, Brian Broccoli, Suzie Sweetpea, and Colby Carrot are the unexpected heroes that will get kids excited to eat those veggies!

Move & Groove from Thinkfun is the perfect dancing game for toddlers. It’s designed to serve as kids’ first dance game, and to inspire movement as well as learning. The game, for kids ages 18 months and up, includes instructions, a dance cube, and 48 dance move cards. The dance cards say things like, “Dance like a robot,” “Fly like a butterfly,” and “Hop like a kangaroo.” They are divided into six categories: Let’s Pretend, Classics, Silliness, Movement, Body moveandgrooveParts, and Workout. There’s something for every child to be good at, and also something new for every kid. I love that this is a game without the pressure of competition; the point is to have fun! I was never very coordinated as a child, so this would have certainly been my favorite. Kids simply toss the plush dance cube to determine a color, then choose a matching card and perform the card-instructed move. Thank goodness, there’s no right or wrong way to do the moves; it’s all about fun.

Upside Down Games offers a lot of yoga-centered games, toys, and tools for kids. Yogi Finders is the game for kid yogis who have mastered the basics and want to take their skills to the next level. Yogi Finders is a quick-paced, fun-filled matching game that introduces players to the practice of yoga, challenges visual perception, enhances coordination, increases flexibility, and sharpens observation skills. The game is designed for 2 to 4 players, ages 6 and up. It includes four double-sided game boards, 86 yoga pose circular cards, 12 game tokens, and an instruction sheet. Kids flip over their cards to reveal a yoga pose, quickly scan the board, find a match, and hold the pose to keep the card. The first player to collect 12 cards is the winner! We all know that yoga has its major physical and mental benefits, which is why we should be yogiimplementing these ideas in kids at an early age. Like yoga, the Yogi Finders game helps develop memory skills, greater flexibility, and cognitive abilities. I know that at age 25, I have a hard time staying calm and focused for an hour; it’s a practice that’s hard to master. Yogi Finders, like other games from Upside Down, makes a game out of a healthy practice, so that kids don’t feel like they are eating broccoli, doing homework, or any of those other things that parents told them were “good for them.”

Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!