Free App Fridays: Habitica
This is an app that I personally use often and that might be useful for some of you as well. Habitica is a to do list, but with a twist: it's also an RPG style game.
When you set up an account with Habitica, you are able to make a little character avatar. By completing tasks on your to do list, you get in-game gold to spend on armor and weapons (or some real life rewards that you set for yourself) and your character gets stronger. Miss some to do list items and your character loses health. And your character can go on quests to fight monsters, collect pets, and get some other special items.
So why am I sharing this on a music therapy blog?
A lot of disabilities such as ADHD, Executive Functioning Disorder, and some learning disabilities can result in challenges with getting organized and keeping track of to do lists. There are a lot of excellent to do list apps out there (I'll very likely review a few other ones) but one of Habitica's strengths is that it uses positive reinforcement to make completing tasks more motivating.
Another strength is the social aspect. Habitica has a thriving community in which people support each other and challenge each other to live healthier lives, do better in school and work, manage their mental health, and learn new things. People can also form "parties", groups of characters who work together to complete quests and keep each other accountable.
Now, that social aspect does come with one downside: this app doesn't really have a "child safe" mode. There's no way to turn off the chat and forum functions. I've always found people to be fairly well behaved on Habitica (as compared to most other websites with forums) but if this is something you are looking at for your child you shouldn't get them a Habitica account unless they are old enough to know how to be safe online. But if you have teenage children, you might consider getting accounts and making a party as a family-- giving you a space to hold each other accountable for your goals and giving encouragement and support.
The Habitica app is free, though there are some paid features (bonus in-game items and special quests for example). There are a few oddities and quirks that can get annoying with task ordering and such, but the development team is very responsive about trying to fix bugs and add new features. Habitica has free apps for iOS and Android, or you can do everything from their website.