Intuitive exercise games for children with Juvenile Arthritis.
Daily exercise is essential to maintaining healthy joints and driving pain away. It has even been connected to remission and sustaining remission along with medication.
However, most children regrain from doing their daily therapy due to the boring, repetitive and painful nature of doing exercise.
Current exercise tools are confusing and too complicated for children to use. They are meant for adults.
Exercise routines are very repetitive and lack imagination. Children tend to loose interest in doing their therapy.
Due to the lack of products created for children with arthritis they resort to using tools that are hard and rough on their hands.
Using in game graphics to guide children with finger placement and exercise movement to create smooth activity with little to no help from adults.
By making therapy a fluid game children can enjoy different game levels, modes of play and storylines without having to repeat the same one over and over.
Soft and inviting tools made specifically for small arthritic hands allow children to play with comfort and without the worry of hurting themselves.
Strengthen exercises are played with the Monsta tools which use resistance. When the game becomes too easy the child may move on to a stronger grade tool.
The parent side of the app helps track medicine and pain management as well as a view of how well their child is doing at each game.
Range of motion exercises are done only with the hand and helps extend the fingers and joints to raise flexibility in how far the joint can move in different directions.
The doctor portal allows the rheumatologist to see the child’s progress as well as adjust the variety of exercises the game might produce for each child.
Prototype testing was done with the help of the Juvenile Arthritis Association who sets up a monthly meeting for families called FamilyRheum. The Monsta toys and app were taken to the meeting and children of different ages got to play with the game.
Young children were able to understan how to use the Monsta tools almost instantly after a biref explanation. They enjoyed the “magic” of it.
Young children did not need any explanation on how to play range of motion games and got it most of the time on the first try.
Children enjoyed the “magic” of something happening under a tool because they are used to interacting with the tablet physically.
Older children were still entertained and played multiple times the games. Especially the self decorating ones.
I was very lucky to meet many wonderful people who gave me their opinions and their professional insights into the world of Juvenile Arthritis. Their knowledge helped shape the Monsta app greatly.
“Every child is different, being able to adjust for telerence is important as arthritis could affect one joint more than the other.”
“We make them do daily activities as a way to take care of themselves and to learn that they can do everything too. We do things like make clay pies and wash the car."
“I recently began to keep a log book of her medicine as some side effects were happening. I want to be able to track everything to better connect the dots.”
“Part of therapy is teaching children to understand their bodies and keep track of their arthritis. We use a universal pain chart from 1-10 but it’s hard for small children because it is too complex.”
“Every time a patient comes in for therapy we fill out many forms and measures. However it takes a bit of time to see their progress through all the numbers.”
Try it out! This is a working prototype of the Monsta game. Bear in mind that some of the exercises are meant to be done with both hands and all 10 fingers, but here you can try it with your mouse.