ZisBoomBah

Common Sense Media says

Healthy meal planning made fun and practical for kids.

Age

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids can plan healthy, delicious meals with the right information. Desserts can be a fun part of mealtime as long as the overall meal is healthy and the portion sizes are reasonable.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Once a meal is created, a shopping list and links to online coupon sites appear. There's an online store selling T shirts, bags, and more promoting the site's logo. Businesses such as Horizon Organic Milk can post logos or link to their website here. Logos from sponsors such as the beef industry appear prior to the videos. Players earn points to "buy" items for their "antvatars."

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

To register, parents and kids need to provide first and last name, email address, date of birth and gender. Parents are also asked to provide mailing address. The site does allow third-party companies to solicit and advertise to parent users and to children "only in the case of sponsoring content." Site complies with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Parents must approve a child's membership and sign up for a membership themselves. When a child "makes" a meal, they then can share it with parents to get approval.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this colorful, kid-friendly nutrition education site helps kids create healthy, balanced meals. In the site's main game, called "Pick Chow!," kids drag foods to a plate to create a meal, which is then rated on nutrition values like protein, fat, sugar, salt, and more. Once the meal is complete, kids can send it to their parent's account, and the parent will receive a companion shopping list, recipes and coupons to help create that child's meal. You need to register for your child to use the site and your information is shared with third-party advertisers for coupons and other food-related advertising.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • cooking

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • decision-making
  • making conclusions

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • work to achieve goals

Health & Fitness

  • balanced diet

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

There's a reason why First Lady Michelle Obama gave a thumbs up to ZisBoomBah. It's fun, engaging, and design is bright and full of energy. Kids'll love making their own "antvatar." 

Learning Approach

Lots of tips and guides, and immediate feedback help kids learn about eating healthy, balanced meals and connect learning to real-world actions. However, in-depth info about what makes a food nutritious is inconsistent.

Support

Find great ways to connect on screen learning to what kids do off screen (like a meal builder that generates a shopping list). There's also advice on getting physically active and helpful info on a wide range of healthy lifestyle issues.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • cooking

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • decision-making
  • making conclusions

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • work to achieve goals

Health & Fitness

  • balanced diet

Kids can learn about nutritional values as they find the right mix of foods to make balanced meals. Food selections lean toward a Western diet and some winning combinations may not make very tasty meals, but ZisBoomBah encourages scientific and realistic thinking about food. Celebrate balanced nutrition and creative cuisine combos in the service of practical cooking.

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

Kids can create a profile and "antvatar" and buy features for their antvatar with points earned from doing activities. In the main game, Pick Chow!, players select, add, and remove food items from an empty plate as simple meters show how they're doing (hint: all meters should point to green). With Flip It!, kids save foods, recipes, games, or printouts as favorites for later. Challenger Calendar lets kids and parents create and reward healthy goals. A robust recipe exchange section features reviews and recipes from kid chefs and kid-friendly recipes for budding foodies. Some adult chefs are featured too.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's a reason why First Lady Michelle Obama gave a thumbs up to ZisBoomBah. It's fun, engaging, and teaches kids to make their own healthy meals from a wide variety of foods. The three little ant characters -- Zis, Boom, and Bah -- who anchor the site all have food personalities of their own (one's a vegetarian, another a fast food lover, and the third eats a little too much of everything). You (parents have to register for an account too) and your child create your own "antvatar," too. Kids can also participate in a "Meal of the Week" contest, where they win real-life prizes and other site members comment on their meal.

Online interaction: Most online interaction here is between child and parent as kids send meal ideas to their parents for "approval." Parents must approve any online interaction with any other users. All "Five Star" meals are entered into the Meal of the Week contest and people can comment and vote on those meals. (If someone says something mean, there's a "Report User" button). There are links to outside sites of bloggers and sponsors, so kids need to be made aware that they may be routed to another site.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the media and advertising can affect their food choices. Read Common Sense Media's Junk Food Ad Tips, and discuss how healthy living sites like ZisBoomBah are a better source for discovering good food choices than commercial ads.

  • Talk about Internet safety and protecting personal information. This site sends prizes to kids' homes for the "Meal of the Week" contest, but it only collects home addresses from the winners' parents. Remind your kids why it's important that kids never give out that sort of information over the Internet and how you, as the parent, discern when and to whom it's acceptable to do so.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Pricing structure:Free

This review of ZisBoomBah was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old May 12, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

educational and informative for kids and parents

love it
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value
Kid, 11 years old May 1, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

All ages! Better to know when you are young, and it's never too late to start!

I really like it, because you can learn waht to eat and what not to eat. Lady Michelle Obama recommends this site as 1#!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages

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