Healthy Habits

Gamification has become pretty important in the gaming world. It is being applied to almost everything including studying, couponing, and so much more. Social media accounts have also stepped up to bat; SnapChat for instance gives its users badges or rewards for doing certain tasks with their account like sending a particular amount of videos, sending snaps with filters, and so on. Now the idea of gamification is becoming very popular within the education systems. Teachers and even parents are being encouraged to play educational games as extra practice to their everyday studies.  

Kids and games go hand in hand for many things, but would you ever think to include games in an academic environment? A large trend for teachers these days involves interweaving online, interactive games to the curriculum. Not only are teachers doing in the classroom, but they are also encouraging parents to play them with their children at home for extra practice. Incorporating games into a child’s learning space helps them get basic computer skills while enhancing their their performance in the subject of their choice.

While doing some research, I found a well-known, popular TV network, PBS Kids. Their website was full of learning opportunities for their viewers. The network is targeted towards younger children, below the age of ten so the layout of the site works well for them. Throughout the site parents can find a game for almost any subject including math, spelling, and more. One of the sections I was drawn to was the health section.

Healthy eating and promoting health lifestyles has been a push in children’s shows for the last 8-10 years. Some of the games focused on healthy grocery lists, germ fighting, and good hygiene. I found one in particular very intriguing considering the age group of the network.

PBS Kids Healthy Habits

The game is called “Sid Says” and features Sid from the television show “Sid The Science Kid.” This show talks about everything from chemistry down to the soil and plants. This game focused on the human body and its anatomical makeup. You work alongside Sid and his dad and play a game of Simon Says. Sid’s dad will say “move your *Insert body part* and that is when you click that body part on Sid’s body.

An important element of the game is that it always focuses on the player’s memory. Each time you get a body part right, Sid’s dad will add another body part. For example, he will say “move your ears then move your arm.” This is a game people have been playing with their children for quite some time, but now it has become a bit more interactive. Parents will ask a toddler “where is your belly button?”, or “show me your eyes.” Now kids can learn with some of their favorite television characters.

Teaching a child their body parts is one the first real world things they will learn. Turning this into a game for them makes the learning aspect more fun. Making children aware of their own bodies at young age is important. Parent and most young educators will focus on the “important” areas of schooling: science, math, and english. But with Sid the Science Kid, you get the opportunity to educate your kid more.

Parents have had mixed feeling about Sid and the lessons he teaches, saying it dumbs them down by making it a tv show, but some of the best learning opportunities come from children’s shows. Kids tend to be more drawn towards things when an incentive is involved. If they perform a task, they are rewarded. During this game, each time the player gets the body part combination right, their reward is getting to remember more body parts. It pushes the kids to use their brains a bit more than a simple game of Simon Says or Memory.  

Gamification is creeping its way into our lives with almost everything we do in our daily lives. There are thousands of mobile apps out there to help individuals learn. People these days want that instant gratification and that is what they get from a game: perform a task properly, you earn the reward. It works on many spectrums including point cards for restaurants. Children respond very well to these types of rewards; by gamifying their curriculum we are encouraging them to get the answers right and earn the reward. Gamification should be integrated into multiple platforms.

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