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Fizzy's Lunch Lab
Pros: Important information about healthy eating and nutrition is presented in a fun and exciting format.
Cons: Some games may be too advanced for younger players, and there's no way to adjust difficulty level based on kids' needs.
Bottom Line: Fun games and informative videos get kids excited about nutritious eating and healthy lifestyle habits.
Fizzy’s Lunch Lab is a great launching pad for talking about how to eat healthfully. Kids can watch videos as a group or play games and explore the site in a computer lab. Some games can accommodate more than one player, and others involve getting up and moving ("Mixie’s Boogie Buffet" is a dancing game). Teachers can plan to make recipes as a class or assign the provided worksheets or offline activities as homework. Most lessons can easily be tied into other curriculum topics such as math or science.
Editor's Note: Fizzy's Lunch Lab is no longer available.
Fizzy's Lunch Lab is a dynamic site from PBS, where kids can watch videos that address many aspects of healthy eating and extend their learning by playing games, listening to music, designing their own kitchen, and trying new recipes. Fizzy and his crew make it fun to be healthy.
New videos are released weekly and revolve around a monthly theme like balanced meals. In a set of videos that explore whole grains, kids visit a bakery where they learn how whole wheat bread is made, learn a recipe for making molasses cookies with whole grain flour, and more. Kids can always watch archived videos and access a catalog of games, printable activities, recipes (crispy sweet potato rounds, fiesta bean chili), and music (original songs by the Freezer Burn band about topics like the health benefits of nuts and “eating the rainbow”).
Fizzy’s Lunch Lab tackles a variety of nutrition-related topics such as food groups, hydration, exercise, eating as a family, and smart grocery shopping. Games range from simple memory and Tetris-like games to virtual-world adventures in which kids must rescue Professor Fizzy by solving math problems. Some of the more complicated games require advanced math skills, such as adding with fractions or solving logic puzzles, and won't be appropriate for younger kids. However, there is enough variety that kids of a range of ages should find something that suits them.
Though the intent is right on, sometimes the healthy message can get a bit black and white (bad foods are evil and eating them will have immediate horrible consequences). Still, the information is generally presented in a fun and exciting format by likeable characters. And talking to kids about their impressions and their own personal experiences should help them not discount the message.