When it comes to being concerned about the kids being overweight, all parents want to feel that the modern gadgetry the youngsters love can somehow help them, and electronics company LeapFrog – which specializes in child products – has released details of LeapBand, the world’s first activity tracker for children.
This device will both answer those parental concerns and cash in on the new fad for kids, the so-called quantified-self craze. That is because LeapBand is a sort of fitness tracker for kids that boasts a screen displaying cartoon animals doing things aimed at encouraging the wearer to join in, looking more like a large watch that talks to the child wearing it via a built-in speaker, and with luck getting them to be much more physically active.
That LeapBandscreen actually shows the wearer a personalised virtual pet – which can be anything from a unicorn to a dragon – that encourages and guides the child through a whole set of games and activity challenges, the thing being that, the more active the wearer is, the more points they accumulate, allowing them to unlock even more stages.
This clever little device comes with 50 activities pre-loaded to keep the kids amused, and is being aimed mainly at four to seven year olds, coming along in the usual bright colours that kids love, green, pink, blue and orange, to appeal to both boys and girls equally.
The beauty of LeapBand is that some of the included games are just silly commands of the kind kids adore – walk like a crab and spin like a helicopter for instance – whilst others, like Pet Boogie, Pet Chef and Pet Salon, promote learning, all these games suitable for being played anywhere and without the need for any extra kit. This means the kids make up their own fun while getting the exercise they need.
There are incentives to keep playing, in that winning a game wins a medal, and a new tracksuits for their virtual pet. We are all aware that kids tire of toys quickly, but the beauty of this device is that an app is available for the iPhone, iPad and Android, as well as for LeapPad Ultra – LeapFrog’s child-targeted tablet, allowing the child to compete as their virtual pet in six mini-games including archery, surfing and bobsledding.
With childhood obesity an increasing problem, activity trackers of the kind LeapBand is may well come to be seen as important tools to help encourage kids to take part in more active pursuits, and the parents can see how active their child has been throughout the day,
This is done in much the same way as adult activity trackers like the Misfit Shinem by exporting the information using the LeapBand’s companion app, so the parents retain control, having the option of locking down the LeapBand for set time periods to prevent it distracting the child in school hours, though kids these days might find ways round that.
According to the company, Leapband will feature a rubber wristband and thick plastic housing that are tough, durable, water resistant with a battery giving around four to six days use on a single charge, via a micro-USB. This clever toy is set to be priced at £29.99 and will be on sale in the UK from August – almost certain to be THE gift of choice for kids next Christmas.
I have been writing for pleasure for half a century, but only started writing for money around 1994. Since then I have had a few thousand articles, stories and poems published on line and in print all round the world.
I am now 63 years old, male, from Burnley in the UK, and apart from writing, I love to read - mainly crime thrillers, conspiracy theory books and science fiction, though I also love films, gardening and chatting with my wife who is also my best friend.
I enjoy feedback from readers, and interaction with fellow writers. Anyone who gets in touch with me will get a reply. I am always happy to read and comment upon the work of others, as I think we writers are something of a definite sub-species of humanity!