Fitness Trackers just made a big leap, but this time, they’re tracking the kids. Educational entertainment powerhouse, LeapFrog, unveiled the LeapBand, a wearable activity tracker designed for kids. Part gaming device, part fitness tracker and part virtual pet, the LeapBand is touted as being the first of its kind.
The LeapBand activity tracker gets kids moving and having fun with 50 different activities and challenges, tracking a child’s physical moves so the more active a child is, the more points they earn with their virtual pet. As the child earns points through active play, they can unlock additional games, challenges, levels of play and virtual rewards for their on-screen pet.
Just like a gaming device, the kid is rewarded with play. The wearable aspect creates a new dimension for kids who are on the go. The more activity and physical movement a kid does, the more points they get.
My first thoughts? As an entry level fitness tracker for kids, this thing is pretty unique. It retails for around $40, and it’s something that can engage an active kid who also appreciates games and virtual pets. Because the device is geared to 4-7 year olds, the LeapBand is image-based, as opposed to text and numbers often seen in the adult fitness trackers. Another difference for the LeapBand is that data collection will be geared to parents and not the manufacturer.
The fact that we “need” a device like this is a whole different discussion. Physical activity should begin at home; a toy shouldn’t be the sole motivator to get moving. Ultimately, there’s nothing like playing outdoors totally unplugged. That said, I appreciate that this technology encourages physical activity and healthy habits.
With the likes of Nike Fuel, Jawbone Ups and Fitbit catering to the adult fitness market, LeapFrog is hoping to tap into this emerging trend. According to NPD Group, the overall digital fitness device market is said to be worth $330 million in 2013. As tablets for kids are on the rise, could wearable tech be the next big thing? The reaction I’m seeing and hearing so far sound decidedly skeptical. Ultimately, it’s the consumers who determine the need and demand so, we’ll see!
My older guy is at the older end of the target demo. I can see him getting a kick out of feeding his unicorn or other virtual pet. As an active athlete, however, the LeapBand would strictly be an at-home toy.
Between school and after school sports, I’m not sure he’d benefit from the fitness tracking. Is this something his school and coaches would allow? Probably not. Nevertheless, having the ability to care for his pet on his wrist? That, right there, would keep him entertained at doctor’s offices or playing in the backyard.
At the launch event, we were able to get a quick glimpse of the LeapBand. Here’s a quick demo:
Weigh in: is the LeapBand something your child would enjoy? Or do you think wearable fitness trackers for kids is unnecessary?