Bo’s Dinnertime by Heppi Apps is the perfect antidote for picky eaters or kids needing to establish a mealtime routine. Skills include: following direction, improving visual-motor skills, and learning about the customs and rituals of mealtimes. In the app, we follow Bo, the sweet giraffe, in food selection, preparation, and cooking as he guides us through it all. First we food shop, “catching” Bo’s request for dinner by moving our shopping cart under the requested food falling from the shelf. This sharpens visual-motor skills and adds a bit of fun into meal planning. Matching shapes and other puzzlers are sprinkled through the subsequent pages using mealtime themes.
Bo models portions and manners – saying “excuse me” when he burps and holds his utensils like big kids do. In addition, Bo may ask for specific items, i.e. 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream and one scoop of banana for dessert, making counting relevant and applicable. After dinner, we clean up…and this is an important life lesson. By giving even the youngest of children a job, they feel valuable and help contribute to what it means to be a member of the family. Everyone wants to feel needed, and by giving kids a job, it also teaches confidence and initiation. So many children struggle with gaining new competencies, not because they won’t try, but because often times they don’t know how to get started or what to do. Mealtime chores help set and provide closure to meals. Kids can scrape plates or bring a plate to the sink, or even for the littlest ones – collect the napkins off the table. There is a catchy song at the end that reinforces eating and manners. A bonus game to try new foods is included. By “feeding” LuLu and Tommie, new foods help many children, desensitize to new foods by seeing the kids in the app eat it. Here, eating it is entirely under the child’s control which is a bonus at this age.
Bluebee Puppy loves to play kitchen prep and is always welcoming others for tea or meals that he has prepared. By encouraging and participating in this play routine with your little one and Bluebee, it provides a safe way to practice manners and reinforce family rituals. Try playing Bo’s Dinnertime, and then extend play with Bluebee as a guest. Rehearse Birthday or holiday traditions that are off the norm. This helps kids know what to expect and decreases any anxiety that may arise from unexpected special foods, additional people, or activities. Bo’s Dinnertime is available on GooglePlay and iOS.
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing on Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews have been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.