With the new Apple Smart Watch that also serves as a way to monitor exercise, the world is firmly entrenched with fitness bands. While there are lot of fitness bands for adults, there are not many options for kids – until now.
The LeapFrog LeapBand is a fitness and activity tracker for kids 4-7 years old. It looks like a large watch!
Other features include a watch screen, stopwatch function, and the activity tracker and the play piece. With the play piece, kids pick a pet, customize it and then start getting active. Kids take care of their pet by being active. The more your child moves, the more joules energy gems earned to unlock rewards, like more toys for your pet to play with or unlocking more pets.
In addition to taking care of their pet, kids can also press the activity button for active and imaginative activities. Kids can be challenged to flap their arms like a bird for 10 seconds or hop like frog.
Setting it up was really easy, but then again, I already had a LeapFrog account so all I had to do was download the software (took just a few minutes), sign in, connect the USB cable that came with the LeapBand to my computer and turn the LeapBand on. Then I followed the onscreen prompts. I admit, I was dreading setting it all up, but it took me less than 15 minutes to get two LeapBands ready to go for my kids. Then I just let them charge over night.
Even though it was easy for me to set it up, I was wondering how easy it would be for my four year old to understand using the LeapBand, and if he really understood it, how enjoyable it would be. Happily, he took to it right away and picked up the concept right away. I think because the device ‘talks’ to your child; tells what buttons to push, what to do next, etc.. So it is easy to follow along. The only issue is that there is no volume control. So in noisy environments it can be hard to hear.
The two year olds that have seen the device love watching the little pets.
The 7 year olds liked the novelty, but soon moved on. The sweet spot for this device, in my opinion, is for kids around 5 years old. Entertaining enough with activities that they like to do, without feeling silly, and a fun novelty of wearing a ‘watch’ and fitness tracker.
My son loved seeing how he was earning his Joules. I don’t think he understood that the Joules unlock pets and other activities. He just loved how he was playing outside, and the LeapBand would tell him he got 10 Joules or 35 Joules. He kept asking me how many he got in total, and was so excited when he found out he got 535!
When you set up the device, you can set the times when your child is in school or sleeping. When you do that, the LeapBand Fitness and Activity Tracker functions go into hibernation and the LeapBand becomes solely a watch. When your kids are out of the ‘quiet’ time periods you create, then they have access to the full functionality. So kids can go to school with their LeapBand, and teachers don’t have to worry about your child being distracted by it. In fact, to even see the ‘clock’, your child has to press a button to wake the device up. So for the most part, during that time, it is just a cool accessory.
Some concerns about the LeapBand though. First, the strap is really small. My 4 year old is thin and has tiny wrist, but he is already at the second-to-last notch on the strap. It needs to be bigger as I can’t see him wearing it until he is seven. Second, I’m not sure yet if the novelty will wear off once he earns all of his pets or other activities. I’m not sure how fast one can earn them, and if LeapFrog has some plans in the works to be able to download more options. Third, I wish the LeapBand would address my son by name. A lot of the LeapFrog products do, so I’m a bit surprised this LeapBand doesn’t say his name.
However, with the LeapBand, my kids wanted to play outside, and they wanted to try different activities to see what would happen. As a parent, this is exactly what I was hoping for. #FitMadeFun