May 8, 2014
Fit Band For Kids
Adults are no longer the only ones who can use healthy technology like Fitbit and the likes. According to Tom’s Guide: Tech for Real Life, Leapfrog, a kids education gaming company, has created the LeapBand for 4- to 7-year-old children. The cost of the fitness band for kids is only $39, and it comes in three fun kid colors: blue, pink, and green. Additionally, the home screen has a Tamagotchi-like pet that kids can choose from the band’s eight customizable digital pets: panda, unicorn, cat, penguin, monkey, dog, robot, or dragon.
The LeapBand is not a touchscreen, but has a shatterproof 1.44″ TFT display with three buttons below and an activity button above. Two of the three buttons below move left and right so that the child can toggle between environments. The center button, the third button below, is a home or return key. Beyond having a shatterproof screen, it is water-resistant and withstands bumps and scrapes. These three characteristics definitely show that LeapFrog knows its clientele.
The LeapBand works to help kids learn better health via encouraging movement and exercise, healthy eating, and even hygiene. As the Tom’s Guide article explains, to encourage movement, “LeapFrog uses a rewards system that exchanges movements for points. An energy bar framing the page fills up as your child completes specific activities or movements as detected by the device’s onboard accelerometer.” Kids see the energy bar move, which ideally inspires them to move more. It makes exercise a game instead of work. This teaches kids from an early age to view exercise not as work or hardship, but as fun and healthy.
Additionally, the LeapBand helps kids learn healthy lifestyles through different games. Many of these include interaction with their chosen digital pet. Pet Dance shows patterns to get the pet dancing, which inspires kids to dance and teaching about sequencing. Pet Chef is a game that kids can play where they try to collect healthy food items like fruit on a plate as they fall from the top of the screen. This subtle game works to teach kids about healthy food choices in a game format. A third game is Pet Parlor where kids must clean their pet when it becomes dirty. The game is fun but also focuses kids on the importance of healthy hygiene as well as exercise and healthy eating. The band comes with 14 preloaded activities and games, but parents can download others through the LeapFrog connect app.
The LeapFrog website identifies other features of the LeapBand: audio instructions, parent controls, and rechargeable battery. The audio instructions help pre-readers follow challenges. Parent controls allow parents to set school and quiet time modes as well as designate goals and specific actions and monitor progress. And the rechargeable battery is nice so that kids can play for days.
Sure the LeapBand is a bit bulky, but kids like big and bright toys, and this definitely falls into those two categories. Adults may not want such a thing, but I bet kids will love it. And if parents have their fit bands, kids will be even more compelled to “play” with their LeapBand, which will only help to teach kids about healthy living. This is a great tool to help that, for sure, but adults should all make sure to teach kids about healthy choices in a surfeit of ways.
Image Credit: LeapFrog Enterprises Inc.