Meal Monsters

App review by
Keri Wilmot, Common Sense Media
Meal Monsters App Poster Image
Cook up some family fun, but some concoctions may be a miss.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Encourages kids to learn about foods, common cooking tools, and nutritional information using a matching game and a few interactive, step-by-step recipes. 

Ease of Play

In addition to the recipes, the app includes other activities that are simple to complete, such as playing a matching game, taking a selfie photo to create a "Monsie" monster, and learning new information about the monster characters.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Separate app passcode is required to purchase additional recipes. Additional in-app purchases are required to explore all eight recipes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the Meal Monsters education app features the story of three friendly monsters who travel to the inside of the refrigerator from Planet Yum. The monsters' goal is to encourage kids to cook while also learning about cooking utensils, new foods, and nutritional information. The app includes a short movie clip about the monsters, a family album where kids can read more about each monster's interests, a place to take a selfie picture to turn themselves into one of the monsters, and access to three free, interactive recipes; an in-app purchase of $5 unlocks the other recipes. Each recipe includes information like fun facts, food alternatives, potential allergens, servings, and prep time, as well as a utensil list, ingredient list, and step-by-step instructions. The app primarily uses metric units for weights and measurements, but the U.S. standard of measurement is also included. Given the nature of using kitchen equipment like blenders, stove-top fry pans, and ovens, parents should use this as a tool to interact with their children during the cooking process, not as a tool to help kids cook or bake on their own without supervision. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

MEAL MONSTERS engages kids in the cooking and baking process using interactive, visual recipes with animated characters, fun music, and matching activities. The app includes a choice of six different activities. The "Planet Yum Movie" shares the story of the three characters featured throughout the app who have arrived to teach kids about healthy eating. Within the "Family Album," kids can choose their favorite character and read more information about their likes and dislikes. In "Make a Monsie," kids can take a picture and turn themselves into one of the monsters. "Monster Match" is a matching memory game with three different levels. It tracks the time it takes to complete the game and how many turns the child took to complete the task. The most comprehensive feature of the Meal Monsters app is the "Recipes" tab, which offers access to three free interactive recipes: Banana Berry Blast, Spotty Peas, and Dippy Chicken Dippers. Parents will need to spend an additional $5 to unlock the remaining recipes: Tuna Sweetcorn Splats, Green Power Pasta, Choco Flake Fabs, Garden Guzzler, and Peanut Oatsies. Or they can pay $1.99 for each individual recipe.

Once a recipe is chosen, it shows recipe information such as serving amounts, prep time, and cooking time. Each recipe includes food facts, food alternatives, allergens and nutritional information (Kcal, protein, carbs, fat, saturated fat, and fiber). Kids are prompted to retrieve different cooking utensils needed for the recipe, which might include a blender, measuring cups, whisks, knives, and more. Before cooking, within the app, kids can touch and drag the required ingredients to the table, while at the same time they retrieve the items from their own kitchen and measure the appropriate amount. Once the family starts cooking, the recipe is broken down into simple, interactive steps that the monsters demonstrate, so kids can follow along with the help of a parent. 

 

Is it any good?

This app gets families cooking, but the available recipes -- many of which cost extra -- might not be a great fit for all families. For little kids who like a bit of a backstory, they may enjoy exploring more information about the three characters and taking their photos to create a personalized Monsie, but older kids will most likely be interested in just the recipes. The recipes are organized and systematic, with clear language, and are easy for kids to follow. However, the app is not an opportunity for kids to cook on their own: Parents will need to supervise kids who are measuring amounts of food, cutting with a knife, and using kitchen equipment. Families should measure the ingredients while retrieving the items from the pantry, because once they start cooking, it doesn't always verbally state the correct amount of food. However, while the included recipes are interactive and visually friendly for kids, not all of them appear to be healthy, and some may not truly excite all kids -- unless adding peas to scrambled eggs, mixing tuna and corn together, or dipping chicken nuggets in mayonnaise appeals to your family's palate? So, while it's virtually impossible to please all picky eaters and nutritional/cultural preferences, a wider variety of options might give this great idea wider appeal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to prepare ahead of time and be organized while cooking or baking, such as creating an ingredient list, gathering the necessary foods and tools, and reading the step-by-step instructions. What steps do you need to take to use a Meal Monsters recipe?

  • Kids absolutely need to understand safety in the kitchen with cooking and meal prep. Share safety guidelines for plugging in and activating kitchen machines like blenders. How can you safely cut with a knife? What are safety rules for preheating and using the oven? For using the stove top? 

  • Not every country uses the same form of measurement. Parents may need to point out which measurement they prefer to use in their country, such as Celsius or Fahrenheit, and grams versus cups.

  • Does anyone in the family have food allergies? Parents may need to help children be aware of this before making foods for friends and family members.  

App details

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For kids who love cooking

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