LeapFrog Enterprises rolled out the first-ever wearable fitness tracker for children called LeapBand that stimulates active play as well as healthy lifestyle through 50 kinds of activities and challenges while at the same time taking care of a virtual pet.
The more active the child becomes, the more points he earns with his virtual pet. When the child gets points through any active play, he gets to unlock more games, challenges, play levels as well as virtual rewards for their digital pet. The wearable fitness tracker is recommended for children aged 4 to 7 years old.
"We understand that helping a child reach their potential not only includes making sure they are versed on the ABCs and 123s but they are encouraged through play to establish healthy habits and get the exercise they need every day," Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos, LeapFrog's Learning Team director, says in a statement.
Dr. LeVos explains that the LeapBand tracker drew its inspiration from the rising craze in adult wearable fitness and health trackers, but makes it more fun for children with the presence of virtual pets.
"... kids will have so much fun playing they may not realize all of the physical exercise they are experiencing and the healthy habits they are learning," she explains.
The rollout of the said fitness tracker is timely, as first lady Michelle Obama is raising awareness to combat childhood obesity. Observers however say, children are basically active during this stage or ages, so which brings the question if they really still need such. Apparently, they do need it.
"Once kids are in school, they're not as active as we think they are," deputy editor Diane Debrovner of Parents magazine says, adding that these children spend a lot of time just sitting in class.
Debrovner also shares one concern with the LeapBand device: Strapping the device onto the wrist of the child can keep these children glued and addicted to the screens again.
". . . it does make the concept of limiting screen time a little more complicated for parents," she says.
The virtual pets come in eight different kinds, namely, cat, dragon, dog, monkey, penguin, panda, unicorn and robot, which are all customizable in color and name. There are 10 active challenges and games that come preloaded, plus an access to 40 more free challenges.
The LeapBand wearable fitness tracker comes in blue, pink and green colors. It will be available in Canada through online and at major retail stores starting mid-July this year for MSRP $39.99.