Chill Outz by Mind-Out LLC is another stellar addition to the Mindfulness Collection of Apps that have been a focus for TWA this past year. This app developed by pioneering child psychologist Jacqueline Vorpahl (a.k.a. Dr. V.) has a novel approach using a collection of fun animated videos helping children get acquainted with techniques to stay mindful & relaxed anywhere, anytime. We all know self-regulation is key in helping any child work to their potential. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence, as these abilities do not come naturally for many children it is our responsibility to encourage control, confidence, courage, and emotional awareness in all of our kids to successfully play, work, cooperate, and be productive in their studies.
ChillOutz has taken a slightly different approach using five unique characters that draw children into the app and keep them engaged with brilliant three-dimensional artistry. Each character has a different technique to share which helps children comprehend that there are different ways of controlling their emotions. The app is easy to navigate and each character and their specific method to self-regulate is easy to revisit. As a former special education teacher, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of teaching children these essential skills for both social and academic success. Research shows that if a student is in control of their emotions they will have better self-efficacy. Chill Outz encourages a healthy outlook by helping children develop skills to manage their emotions, resolve conflicts, and make responsible decisions.
• Buzzy Bee – teaches children how to calm down thru humming
• Panicky Penguin – teaches children how to overcome panic thru focused breathing
• Timid Turtle – teaches children to overcome anxiety thru shrugging
• Noisy Alien – teaches children how to be OK in unfamiliar situations thru body relaxation
• Sleepy Bear – gets children ready for bed through breathing
The stand out with this app was the use of close-ups of the characters and the simple directions and animations which invite children to partake in the different methods demonstrated. Great for both classroom or home use, the pause button can be used during each segment to discuss or practice a particular technique. Special attention has been given to the Parent/Teacher information guide, it is succinct yet does stress the importance of slowly introducing these concepts while the child is calm and also emphasizes the need for practice, practice, practice and the value of routines. TWA recommends this app to add to any parent or teacher's repertoire of social & emotional apps, Chill Outz can be an integral tool for teaching these necessary life skills. On the wish list would be some form of interactivity for the child, this could possibly be done when the video ends using a close-up shot of each character and repetition of the technique.