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Cool App Alert: Awesome Eats

Austin-made app lets kids play with their food

By Melanie Haupt, 10:50AM, Wed. Jun. 27, 2012

Cool App Alert: Awesome Eats

When my husband gave me an iPad for our anniversary/my graduation (yes, that’s Dr. Haupt to you), I didn’t realize just how much it would change my life.

Now I have a convenient device to carry with me for writing, research, and communication on the fly, but I also have a way to keep my kids entertained when we’re on a long drive or when I simply need to get some chores done in relative peace. Yes, the iPad is just a larger Angry Birds delivery system, but I am slowly discovering that there are some iPad apps that are actually both fun and educational.

This includes Awesome Eats, the Whole Kids Foundation game that allows kids to play with their food. Developed by Austin-based game developer Fun Machine, Awesome Eats is an interactive game that finds kids (and, uh, adults) sorting foods like bananas, cabbage, and quinoa into different tubs. It starts out slowly, but various surprising challenges present themselves: a bus tub plops onto the conveyer belt and blocks the player from being able to move the items into their respective boxes, or a bird swoops in out of nowhere and tries to steal a snack. Players must think on their feet and employ something of a strategy while also working to beat a clock. Each level (or “chapter”) has a "try this" or a factoid, such as the suggestion to chew one's food more thoroughly in order to get more flavor and nutrients out it, sodium is another word for salt and encourages children to check labels for nutritional information. "Beans are in the legume family ... and they're also a musical fruit." This kind of sly humor might be lost on a six-year-old, but also serves as a knowing wink to their parents that this is good, clean fun.

Both of my children (and, uh, their mother) love the game; while it is recommended for ages 6+, my nearly 4-year-old daughter loves the lower levels of play. Meanwhile, my nearly 7-year-old son has played all the levels (“I finished it. Can I play something else?”) and is the prime market for any updates that may come out.

Awesome Eats is available for iPhone and iPad at the iTunes App Store.

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