Leapfrog has been a leader in porting over adult technology to kids for a while now. So, you have to figure they’ve been in the workshop working on the LeapBand ever since fitness trackers got big. LeapBand is a wrist-worn fitness tracker for kids, and even though it doesn’t look as sleek or comfortable as its adult counterparts, it should make up for it with cartoon characters.
Kids seem to need motivation to go outside and run around these days. There’s an editorial about the state of play in the 21st century in there somewhere, but I’ll leave that alone for now. Fact is, some kids need some enticing to get up and move, and cartoon characters might be able to do the trick. The LeapBand looks more like a smartwatch, with a color display in the middle that is home to one of eight digital pets that kids can play with.
Playtime doesn’t always involve the screen, though – most of the games require physical activity, which is converted into points that can be used to unlock more games and challenges. Kids can unlock the other pets, too – the roster includes a cat, dog, dragon, monkey, panda, penguin, robot and unicorn. The activities are fun and simple – things like ‘walk like a crab’ and ‘pop like popcorn.’ Meanwhile, parents have control from a smartphone app – they can lock the LeapBand so that the games can’t be accessed at school or during bedtime, although the band will still record fitness stats like steps taken.
The LeapBand is a little unwieldy for a fitness tracker,but it is durable. It is also for a limited age group – Leapfrog suggests ages four to seven, and that sounds about right. Kids will probably outgrow the LeapBand pretty quickly, but if it serves as a way to get kids interested in being active early on, then that’s a win. It also features cute little animal friends. The LeapBand will be available in August of this year for $40, and will come in green, pink, or blue.