A New Trend in Our House: Video Games for Fit Kids

March 18, 2010

By Mark Bishop, Deputy Director
 
We've written before about video games and how some schools are using games like Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution to engage a new generation in a different conception of physical activity.

Well, the trend has finally come to my house.

For my son, we purchased Fisher-Price Smart Fit. It's a pad that connects to your computer. You turn it on, and up pops an interactive game that encourages your kid to run, jump, slap and do math and spell. It's his first video game.

My quick review: The graphics aren't good, but for a 3 1/2 year old? Not an issue. The set up is easy. The pad slips a bit on my floor. There are enough games on it that are easy enough for a 3 1/2 year old to understand and some that I hope will challenge him down the road (particularly the spelling). But it's pretty fun. We've only used it once, but it was 20+ minutes of jumping, running and laughing. And throughout, Henry was out of breath and even got a small sweat worked up. He proudly exclaimed, “I'm exercising!”
Most importantly, on a cold Chicago day when you don't want to go outside, this seems to be a great way to get movement and activity indoors. Of course I don't plan on this replacing our park time, but it's a good complement for days when you just can't play outside.
 
I think it will be a nice addition to our options for indoor play. So maybe this is part of a larger trend. What do you think?