Surfing the Net with kids

By Barbara Feldman
March 19, 2010

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The food pyramid is a nutrition and activity guide published by the United States Department of Agriculture. It contains eight divisions: physical activity (represented by the person climbing the side of the pyramid), grains, vegetables, fruits, oils, milk, and meat and beans (representing all forms of lean protein.) Learn more at this week’s crop of freshly picked sites.

Dairy Council of California: Kids Games

These online games for kids and teens are produced by the Dairy Council of California. The site also provides printable K-12 materials for teachers at a small cost (but free if you are in California). The online materials include a MyPyramid Match Game (“Discover how many food servings and physical activity you need every day’’), a virtual pizza maker, an interactive dairy farm, and a calcium calculator.

Nourish Interactive

Created by a former ICU nurse, Nourish Interactive uses online games and printable worksheets to teach children the importance of nutrition and exercise. To access the games, a grown-up must create a free parent or teacher account, and then create a child’s account. Once you’re inside, there are oodles of games, including an interactive food pyramid, an arcade-style Food Pyramid Adventure, concentration-style memory games, interactive coloring, and word search puzzles. One of my favorites is the talking nutrition glossary that defines vocabulary from “Added Salt’’ to “Zinc.’’ Look for it in Word Games.

Nutrition Explorations, published by the National Dairy Council, combines fun with simple nutrition instruction. Under Activities, my picks are the food group match games Quintricious (look under Arianna and Marcus) and Feed the Monster, an arcade game with an embedded nutrition quiz. Another gem is the printable shopping list with headings for each of the five food groups: milk, meat, vegetable, fruit, and grain.

Playnormous’ mission is to create health games that are fun and easy to play, but packed with messages about the importance of nutrition and physical activity to a healthy lifestyle. The interactive games are found (easily enough) by clicking on the Games tab. They include Pyramid Pile Up (“Fill each row with foods from the correct food group, but watch out for flying Chompies that want to gobble up your food tiles’’), Lunch Crunch, and Brain Gain. Printables, lesson plans, and quizzes can be found under the Teachers tab.