Why you might want to play Pokemon Go with your kids

25914117692_5d42261ac7_zI have of late (since about Groundhog’s Day) been trying to shed some poundage and get more healthy. So far, I am down about 30 pounds and have been feeling a lot more physically together. I have been trying to be more active, which is tough in a job which is often sedentary. Thanks to the warm spring and summer weather, though, walking has been a joy, and I have been consistently going on daily several-mile walks. What I enjoy most is when my wife joins me. I always ask my kids, but had never been able to get them pried away from devices, toys, or air conditioning…until now.

Enter Pokemon Go. If you haven’t heard about this, it is a free phone app that creates a sort of geocaching game that is addicting and fun. To play, one simply moves about the area, and Pokemon appear on a live GPS-tethered map. It encourages real-world exploration and movement, and my family can’t get enough of it. My 14yo son, who generally spends his downtime at his computer command center in his room, has been roaming the neighborhood for most of the past few days. It is certainly the most exercise he’s had since school let out. My youngest, also a fond gamer, met me on the stairs this morning asking if I would go on a walk with him to collect Pokemon. There is definitely something good going on here.

The best part is that my kids now have a great excuse to come on walks with me. I see it as a health benefit for all of us, and also a sort of bonding experience. I expect they will be more apt to come along on grocery runs and other errands, too. WIN!

If you have kids, learn about this app and play it with them. It isn’t about the game, but a clever prod to get them out of doors in a world that, for them, exists mostly online. Sure it is artificial motivation, but who cares? It is harmless, active, outdoor fun, and isn’t that what playing outside is supposed to be?

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