When It Comes To Active Play, Technology Isn’t The Bad Guy

When I first heard about the launch of Tgoma – an integrated, interactive, digital gaming system for trampolines, I confess, I was skeptical. I thought: Why would I want to add technology to an outdoor activity that my kids already enjoy?

My kids and I were invited to try out the new Tgoma for Springfree gaming system in person, and after trying it out and talking to the Springfree team about their new partnership with Tgoma, my skepticism was replaced by support.

I quickly realized the motive behind the development of Tgoma – that it wasn’t designed to replace active play time with screen time. Instead of fighting technology, Tgoma was about leveraging technology to transform “screen time” from an isolating, sedentary activity, to a healthy, engaging experience.

Essentially, they were adding the trampoline to the technology, not the other way around. 

 

Tgoma 2

My family is generally an active family. We enjoy spending time outside, and are fortunate to have nature’s playground steps from our door. We can play by the river, hike beautiful trails, and visit local parks and beaches – all only minutes from our house.

But according to the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Youth and Children, while children aged 5-17 should be engaging in at least 60 minutes a day of outdoor active play, only 9% of the children in Canada within this age range are meeting this target.

This was a shocking discovery for me as a born-and-raised Canadian.

The truth is, screen time has become an ongoing battle for most parents. Many struggle on a daily basis with monitoring screen time, and encouraging outdoor play in the face of tech-addicted children and teens. Instead of turning that love for technology in a negative experience, why not redirect that screen time to an engaging, interactive outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family?

I don’t see anything wrong with spending the designated allowance of screen time jumping on a trampoline outside instead of slumped solo on the sofa.

Some parents think tech-integrated trampolines are a bad idea. Here are 5 reasons why I beg to differ:

1) It’s optional.

Parents don’t have to purchase the system, and those who do can easily monitor its use.

2) It’s interactive.

The Tgoma system comes with 7 games (including some educational games and games geared towards getting adults active through fitness games – which I love).

3) It provides a new way to play.

How many families do you know who have an unused trampoline in their backyard. The novelty of bouncing can wear off over time, with kids redirecting their time to indoor play. This new system provides something new to get them excited about their trampolines again.

4) It encourages healthy competition.

I’ve recently started wearing a Fitbit, and what drives me to move more is the “challenge” function. Seeing that my friends are clocking more steps than I am fuels my competitive side and encourages me to move more often. Playing an interactive game on the trampoline can provide that same motivation for kids who like to compete. And there’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition.

5) It gets kids moving – outside.

Kids love trying to stomp out mutant melons, use their imaginations, and even enjoy educational games while bouncing.

Tgoma stands for “Take Gaming Outside And Make it Active.” For many parents, it’s an innovative solution to an unavoidable problem.

I’ll be sharing more thoughts on how to balance play and technology with an expert on educational gaming for kids on Roundhouse Radio tomorrow morning at 10am (PST). Turn your dial to 98.3 FM and follow the conversation.

Related Posts:

Why It Took Me So Long To Get A Trampoline

This Is How We Do Spring In Vancouver

Spring Came Early Thanks To Peekaboo Beans

Tgoma

To learn more about Tgoma, watch this short video:

Disclosure: I was not paid to promote Tgoma, nor do I own the gaming system. I am however an ambassador for Springfree Trampoline and a big supporter of play. The thoughts and ideas in this post are my own.

Imaginative Play ($300 Fisher-Price Imaginext Giveaway)

They say that youth is wasted on the young, and I completely agree. I envy the ability to wake up early bursting with energy, to run and play and imagine wild worlds full of fanciful characters, heroes, and talking animals. To spend hours in a fort made of bed sheets. To believe in the magic of fairies, the Easter bunny, and Santa Claus.

I believe in the value and importance of imaginative play, so our children are encouraged to play as much as possible, equipped with only a few toys and their wild imaginations. Instead of playing video games, they imagine a world where they are the princess and prince in a castle upon a hill. They take turns playing a horse who is ridden by a brave soldier, trotting through town and rescuing people from criminals and villains. They  hide in dark caves, soar high in the sky wearing magical capes, and lunch on elaborate picnics by the sea.

At dinner tonight, I asked my daughter if she would tell me a story. And without hesitation, she told me this:

Once upon a time…

There were two little men. They lived in a fire station and they were firemen. One day, they had a guest, it was their sister and her name was Violet. They had some cake and then it was time for Violet to go.

Violet went home, and the firemen put out a fire, and the fire went away. When the fire went away, they went to bed! But in the night, they heard a silly sound. It sounds like “crick crack, crick, crack”. They went outside and saw kids playing. They asked, “what are you doing in the middle of the night?” The kids said, “we are playing ball.” The firemen said, “it is very late, you must go to bed!” so the little kids went home and played ball there.

The firemen went back to sleep.

No more sounds. No more “crick crack, crick, crack”. It was quiet at last.

The End.

– Emma, 6 years old

I don’t know about you, but if I were asked to tell a fictitious story on the spot, I would put too much thought into it. “What kind of story? About who? How long?” I would reply.

I envy their spontaneity and innocent creativity, and hope to nurture these skills in my children for as long as possible.

Play Quote

A great new toy has come out that does just that – encourages children to use their imagination through creative play.

Fisher-Price has always created innovative toys that encourage children to learn through play. I remember playing with their toys when I was a kid, and love discovering modern versions of my favourite childhood toys through my kids.

When the Fisher-Price Imaginext® Rescue City Center arrived at my door, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my 6-year-old daughter was just as excited to open it up as my 3-year-old son.  Since its arrival they have spent hours upon hours lost in their own world of action and excitement. Through interactive play, they put out fires, protect the bank from robbers, and rescue victims.

Fisher-Price Imaginext

The Fisher-Price Imaginext® Rescue City Center

Imaginext has introduced a series of webisodes where Ed Venture and his friends explore wild adventures. To celebrate, Imaginext has launched an amazing contest!

Check out the Imaginext Contest for a chance to win 1 of 5 prize packs, each valued at $300!

The Imaginext Rescue City Center has definitely become a favourite toy at our house. This would make the perfect Christmas gift for your little adventurers too!

Disclosure: I am part of the Fisher-Price Imaginext Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

How You Play The Game

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game…

…unless you’re playing with a five year old.

For most of my childhood I was an only child, so board games didn’t make a frequent appearance in our home. Solitaire and other games designed for one were the games that I enjoyed. I dreamed of the day when I would have my own family – my children would spend hours playing games and make-believe with their siblings while I watched on with envious eyes. So imagine my pleasure when my little girl suggested that we play a game of Monopoly as a family after dinner!
 
We set up her new Monopoly Junior game, doled out the cash, and rolled the diced. Our family of four giggled and awed and booed as each of us took our turns (little guy rolled the dice for each of us as he’s still a bit young to stay focused on the game or count the bills).
 
Everything was going smoothly, my dreams of family game nights were coming true, and my children were having a blast – tech-free!
 
Until the end of the game approached. Hubs ran out of cash and it was time for my girl and I to count the dough to determine the winner.

“Twenty dollars!” she squealed with delight.

“Twenty seven, I win!” I chimed equally as delighted.

My girl burst into tears and ran into her room where she burried her face in her pillow like a forlorn teenager who had just had the worst day of her life.

I guess my fist-pumping victory dance didn’t help.

Lesson learned: when you’re playing a game with five year olds, just let the kids win.

A fun game of Monopoly – before the tears

Do you always let your kids win when you play games?