An app – or website – that teaches healthy habits for bodies and minds.
I believe in the power of a parenting tribe. And when multiple friends suggest the same resource to me, I tend to listen. So, after my super-mama friend Jamie and my former colleague / super-star-working-mama Megan both shouted the praises of Go Noodle!, I did a quick search and popped the app right on my phone.
What did they say that got me excited? Well, Jamie – a mother of four boys under seven – shared that it has strong calming tools. And Megan – who spends her days promoting child health with Jump IN for Healthy Kids – said it was great for getting kids active. One tool to both rev up my child’s heart and calm it back down? And it’s free? And trusted friends love it? I was sold.
Over the last year or so, my preschool-to-kindergartener and I have used Go Noodle! a lot. Read below to learn more about how, when and why we’ve used it. I’m most excited to share how useful it’s been for us. I’m also highlighting my son’s favorite videos. After all, a road test isn’t complete without kid feedback.
Build Body Skills
My kid loves to dance. And he loves to laugh. In other words, he’s a pretty normal five-year-old. Go Noodle’s wide range of videos make movement fun. One video may just be goofy with a great beat – perfect for a quick dance session. Another may teach a specific dance combination – great for building coordination. And others provide brain teasers activated by movement – ideal for nurturing focus.
My kid recommends:
- “How to Dab” teaches kids how to (wait for it) dab. Then, the Blazer Fresh crew adds some additional steps. My kid finds this video irresistible.
- “Pat ‘n’ Rub” features a guy in a cat mask, like all the Brainercise With Mr. Catman videos. He takes children through the classic challenge: pat your head while you rub your belly. This video gets my family concentrating – and then laughing – every time!
- “Go Bananas” is one of my kid’s favorite how-to-dance videos. He then uses all the moves during family dance parties.
Make Mindfulness Matter
While mastering bodies leads to physical health, mastering minds makes a huge difference in behavior and mental health. Go Noodle! has several choices for building social-emotional skills. They have videos on focusing thoughts, calming down and thinking positively.
While my little guy doesn’t always follow them to a tee, just talking about these topics helps him grow. And he’s learned several brain-calming skills by practicing them over and over.
My kid recommends:
- “Rest Well” features a sleepy kitty. It also encourages children to get some shut eye.
- “Melting” leads kids in a calm-down body practice. The video guides them as they first tense and then release their bodies, like water freezing and then melting.
- “Have Compassion” offers children the chance to think positively about others. It shows how to practice empathy even with those we find “frustrating.”
Boost Family Bonds
Go Noodle! boosts my kid’s health. But, in the end, I think the best part of using it is sharing time together. When we take the time to learn a new move or think about being kind together, my son and I connect.
Being silly in front of him helps him see that I’m more than the lady who keeps him on schedule. And talking about stress together – mine and his – helps him to see that we have challenges in common. Taking the time to help my kid be healthier makes me healthier too. I don’t know of a single person raising a young child who doesn’t deserve to de-stress.
- “Cat Party” is the best jam ever written about working together with a bunch of felines to put on a fiesta.
- “Hip Hop Astronaut” gets my little guy and me grooving. The fun space facts are icing on the astro-cake.
- “Spread Love” from Zumba Kids leads to serious hip shaking – no surprise for Zumba fans. The positive thoughts and body awareness are just bonus side effects for us.
Go Noodle! is available as an app or a website. Getting started with your family is as easy as creating a simple account. Schools can also use Go Noodle. Both my son’s pre-K and his kindergarten teacher use it. They offer free and paid versions for educators.
Build Your Child’s Brighter Future!
Want to dive deeper into the health your little one? Check out our Play and Learning guidance about Physical Health and Growth for:
- Babies —Your baby is exploring with all five senses and figuring out both her big and small muscles work.
- One-year-olds — She’s developing a sense of independence – with the fine and gross motor skills to match!
- Two-year-olds — When you take your toddler for a check-up, he’s learning all about the importance of good health and self-care.
- Three-year-olds — Your child is growing into a taller, bigger, stronger body that can do more new things every day.
- Pre-K learners — At this point she can handle (somewhat) delicate tasks, such as tying a knot.
Kirsten Eamon-Shine directs Early Learning Indiana’s communications efforts, including the Brighter Futures Indiana website. She loves telling stories that help adults nurture the curiosity and potential of children. She spent over a decade in the youth development field at IUPUI, the Marion County Commission on Youth and Peace Learning Center, and has diverse experience as a digital communications manager and strategist with community-focused organizations and businesses. Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Indiana University. She spends her free time reading children’s and grown-ups’ books, enjoying Indianapolis’ cultural and food scenes, and listening to music with her husband and son Emerson, who is somehow old enough to be in kindergarten.