Anytime I went to the park as a kid, I would see others playing around on jungle gyms or swinging on the swings. Children are naturally physically active beings, and playgrounds are a great way to exhaust the energy they store when they are more sedentary.
Once the energy burns off, we would rest and get right back to playing when our energy levels rose again. While this rest/exercise ratio is pretty ideal, not all kids these days are as active as they were ten or twenty years ago.
In fact, because of things like video games, television, and cell phones, children as a whole aren’t getting the amount of exercise needed to grow and develop properly. This leads to higher child obesity rates, as well as lower academic scores.
But there may be a change coming. Fisher Price has released a new toy designed to bring kids’ love of technology and optimal exercise together. Are little people toys like this a way to force your child into exercising? Is it the most effective way?
The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle
At the 2017 CES conference in Las Vegas, Fisher Price announced their newest line of toys and one in particular stood out. The Think & Learn line of products from the company are toys designed for improving a child’s learning skills while they are playing, but the new Smart Cycle aims to go one step further.
The Smart Cycle is essentially a stationary bike built for kids ages 3-6 years old. Fisher-Price calls it a “physical / digital play experience.”
The bike is also able to connect to tablets, your own or the one included with the Smart Cycle, or TVs via Bluetooth. The TV options are currently limited to, Apple TV, Android TV and Amazon Fire. The tablet locks tightly in place and then your child can play and learn while they peddle away.
The included tablet comes with one free game, but there are more downloadable games available for around $4.99 each. These games are designed to help your child in subjects like math and reading. There’s also an app for parents to check their child’s progress as they learn and sharpen their skills.
The point of the Smart Cycle is to get your child going. They burn energy and get their exercise in without compromising their time with tech devices. It’s meant to be a happy medium.
Is This The Ideal Way to Get Your Child to Be More Active?
Many parents at CES that got to witness this new toy in action were very impressed, but some tilted their heads. As great as the Smart Cycle is, are there not better ways to make sure kids get their exercise in?
Fisher Price has not stated that this is a ‘fix-all’ for the lack of childhood exercise in our current era, but this is a great option for some. We cannot stop the advances of technology, and taking it away completely probably isn’t the best idea, either.
Integrating exercise and tech, however, is a viable way to reintroduce kids to the exercise they need and make it fun – much like soccer or basketball was when my generation was younger. If it’s fun, kids don’t think of it as exercise, and these little people toys are aiming to accomplish that for this next generation of children.