A recent article by NPR titled “Real Parents, Real Talk About Kids And Screens” states “Screen time isn't going anywhere. So let's talk about it.” It’s the honest truth. We live in a technology-ruled age,...
At Wonder Bunch Media, we designed all of our games to be interactive and engaging, but also to encourage children to set down their devices and explore and play in the real world. There isn’t an app that can take the place of getting muddy, walking, and enjoying the fresh air! We don’t endorse any apps that tell children that certain foods are “bad” or that plant the seeds of weight and image obsession. But many children need a little more encouraging to bust a move, and so today we’re looking at some of our favorite apps that encourage real-world activity!
by Jessica Hammer
On the App Store
Appropriate for Readers, Designed for ages 6+
Frolic allows you to customize your activity based on your location, what equipment is nearby, and what your child’s physical capabilities are. Your child earns badges for different activities, and you have access to their activity log.
This app supports family sharing, meaning you can play the games together and earn more points!
On the App Store
Appropriate for aged 4+
We love Rebecca because this app doesn’t give your child the answers, but asks questions that ignite their curiosity and creativity! You never know what’s going to sprout from a session with Rebecca. This app started as a series of 50 cards that developer Rebecca Cohen would present to her son when they were waiting in a doctor’s office, sitting at the dinner table, or riding in a car. The questions are simple in nature, but the conversations that germinate from them grow your child’s curiosity and their ability to communicate.
We didn’t initially get how this app encouraged active play, until we got the questions “what could we build with what we have around us?” and the little ones took off! You never know where a question will lead, but following your child’s example will result in a fun, messy, silly, connected moment you will both treasure!
On the App Store
Free with options of in-app purchases
Appropriate for reading age and up
Pokémon may be more than two decades old, but new fans are born every day, and with good reason! These lovable little creatures each bring their own powers, weaknesses, and utter adorability to the table. From playing cards to plushies, Pokémon have been capturing hearts since we were children.
Pokémon Go combines our shared love of the little pet heroes with a fun game that encourages and rewards players for walking! You can walk to hatch eggs, earn “candies”, and gain access to battles. The game has no chat features, but does allow friends to send one another gifts, which may include anything from Pokéballs to fruit to feed your ‘mon. You can assign a poke-buddy to walk with you, and they get stronger the more you walk.
One caution, these games do offer in-app purchases, so be sure to add fingerprint authorization before handing the game off to your little ones! It’s easy to accidentally spend $1 on extra balls, or upwards of $20 for access to special in-game events.
Free for Android and on the App Store
Appropriate for the whole family
Run for fun, and for a reason! Charity Miles allows you to choose from a list of worthy causes, and then move for money that will be donated directly where it’s needed most.
The app uses your device’s internal pedometer, and can also be connected with your Fitbit, Peloton, Garmin, or Strava, to track your movements. For every mile you run, dance, bike, or moonwalk, sponsors donate dollars in your name. The sponsors can be anyone from a business looking for a worthy cause, your work’s employee empowerment program, or even friends who choose to pledge to your account! Your child will love mindfully moving, and making a difference with each step!
Appropriate for ages 4+
This app is on the pricy side, but if your child is reliant on a coach or teacher to encourage them to move, this may be the answer you’ve been looking for! Your child’s weekly coaching helps them track their workouts, and stay focused on the task at hand.
Real life requires more than running in a straight line, it requires functional strength and flexibility. At Home Workout App offers fun, interactive, completely customizable workouts for the whole family. We love the cute, silly characters demonstrating each workout, as opposed to a hyper-fit human who may feed into unrealistic expectations of fitness for young, impressionable minds. Each workout is quick (between seven and 10 minutes) and accessible, and can be done without the use of equipment.
Using this app is a financial commitment, but if your child needs the extra help, it’s worth the price tag!
We know kids are missing running free and wild in the world, but their creative little minds will always find an answer if we manage to ask the right question! We would love to hear about what games, activities, and apps your family uses to encourage real-world activity! Leave a comment on our Facebook or Instagram, or email us any time at hello@WonderBunch.com