Parenting Special Needs Magazine | Get Moving Apps for Family

Hello Spring! With the help of the BridgingApps community, we have put together some ideas for getting into the springtime mindset with a few apps that focus on healthy living in creative and family friendly ways. Try some yoga or running moves together, customize an easy to follow “workout” (not therapy!) for your child or create a story about an upcoming spring outing!


NFL Play 60 AppNFL PLAY 60
By American Heart Association

The moves of a football player: swift running, reactionary jumping, and quick turns are certainly a simple yet effective way to get a body’s heart rate up. Incorporate these moves with an avatar, a mobile device, and into a game and you’ve got an unique way to encourage kids to be physically active. That is the purpose of an app called NFL Play 60. The school-based curriculum program also called NFL Play 60 was developed for middle schoolers by the American Heart Association and the National Football League to address national guidelines of increasing physical activity and reducing childhood obesity rates. As a part of the program to encourage 60 minutes of daily physical activity, the NFL Play 60 app is an interesting “exercise” app for children complete with a virtual coach and a purpose: to travel by “running” through each NFL team city on a map to reach the super bowl.

BridgingApps enjoyed the creative approach of the NFL Play 60 app to get kids moving as part of their daily 60 minutes of exercise. With quick reaction time needed, it can be an engaging way to combine physical activity with a little cognitive challenge. For those users not participating in the program in their school it can be a great way to get moving a few days a week and an excellent way for families to have fun moving together.

Price: Free
BridgingApps Full Review:


ExerciseBuddy AppExerciseBuddy – Visual Exercise System
By Exercise Connection Corporation

ExerciseBuddy is an app designed to help individuals with autism participate in an exercise program and learn about their body. The app is excellent for parents and instructors to teach children about their body and its systems and help them be a part of a structured physical exercise program. The app showcases videos with children and young adults who have autism performing many of the exercises. It can be outstanding resource for inspiring young people with and without autism to exercise. Although it is designed with children who have autism in mind, BridgingApps found that children with many types of disabilities can benefit. Those who need a structured program with specific movements broken down into small steps with excellent visual aids will find this app very adaptable.

ExerciseBuddy addresses five components of physical fitness: body image, posture, motor coordination, muscular fitness and cardiovascular fitness. It presents with picture cards and videos of over 130 exercises. Coach Dave, an autism fitness specialist and the designer of the program, provides suggested workouts or an individual workout can be set up for the child. The workouts are set up with a first-then teaching structure or a start to finish model. The workouts can be saved so the child can improve with repetition.

Price: $29.99
BridgingApps Full Review:


Yoga By Teens AppYoga By Teens
By Let it Go Yoga

Designed and taught by three teenage sisters, Yoga by Teens is an app that provides a calm, slow-paced, gentle yoga experience to users of all ages and abilities.

One of the teens guides students while the other two demonstrate various physical postures that are based on hatha yoga principles. They use classic yoga terminology followed by easy to understand explanations. With calm background music the setting is definitely supportive, encouraging and positive. Proper breathing is a large focus and the selected poses emphasize relaxation, flexibility and strength building for a well-balanced practice. Helpful comments on how to make pose adjustments while one sister demonstrates sends a clear message that yoga is an inclusive activity for all ages and abilities, including people with special needs.

BridgingApps likes Yoga by Teens’ peer approach to developing a yoga practice. Its use in a classroom environment or in a family home can be an important part increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviors. The payoff is reaching healthy goals of reducing stress and anxiety and increasing confidence while building flexibility, strength and balance.

Price: $3.99
BridgingApps Full Review:


storybook_makerStorybook Maker
By invocore

Storybook Maker is an app that allows the user to write, illustrate and publish their own story. Using text, photos, graphics and audio recordings, the app allows an adult or child to design their own book. There are many uses for this app, but one we have found especially useful for children is a method for discussing upcoming changes in a schedule due to vacations or some other event that is out of the ordinary routine.

Using Storybook Maker, a parent can write a social story about their vacations or weekends. Using actual photos, the story can be customized for the user. Older children and adults can also use Storybook Maker to write stories about the event and then share them with family and friends.
It is a great way for the child to share their experiences with their friends and teachers when they return to school. It is also a great way to encourage written language and auditory comprehension.

We have used this app with children between the ages of 2 and 10 with diagnoses of Down syndrome, speech delay, autism spectrum disorders and anxiety.

Price: $2.99
BridgingApps Full Review:

PSN April/May


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