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LeapFrog's LeapBand activity tracker for kids actually makes sense

Susie Ochs | May 2, 2014
When my 2-year-old runs in circles at top speed until I'm dizzy just watching, I've definitely thought about strapping my Fitbit on him to see how many steps he pitter-patters each day. So far my accessories-adverse toddler is having none of that (no hats, sunglasses, jewelry, or adornments of any kind, thank you!), but when LeapFrog started researching the wearables space, they found that most kids really love wearing the wristbands and hitting the big step goal.

LeapFrog Connect also lets parents customize the activity challenges, and check out the Joules and pets the kid has earned over the past 7 days, along with graphs of their activity levels. You don't get an exact step count, but a bar chart can help you show your child, "Look, on Wednesday you had soccer and your activity bar was the highest. But on Friday it was the lowest because it was raining out side and you had the sniffles."

The same activity graph also shows up in the companion Petathalon Games app, which runs on the LeapPad Ultra or an iOS or Android device. Your child's pets carry over from the LeapBand watch to Petathalon Games, and they can play more minigames and get exercise tips there too.

The kid-sized wearable's wristband comes in pink, blue, and green, and the gadget charges and syncs over USB, with one charge lasting 3 — 5 days, LeapFrog says. It's got an accelerometer of course but no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi: a plus for both battery life and for parents who don't want wireless radios strapped to their children's bodies all day. It's water resistant and seems like it'll be hard to break — my son's existing LeapFrog gear stands up to tons of abuse without damage. But if the worst comes to pass, the device is only $40.

LeapFrog will ship the LeapBand in August 2014. We'll follow up with a full review when we can, but from our brief hands-on time with the device, this little LeapBand definitely has legs.

 

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