LeapBand: Features that are better than your adult activity tracker

The new LeapBand activity tracker has some features you’d find on an adult-sized fitness tracker but with a kid-twist.

By Michelle Owens

USA Track & Field certified youth coach and parent of three

Michelle coaches elementary and middle school Track & Field, encourages family fitness in & after school, and obtains funding to promote fitness at school through grant-writing. With her background as a scientist and as a NCAA Division I student-athlete, she’s on a mission to share with youth the strong association of being physically fit with improved attention, behavior, and learning. Married to an early adopter of all-things-tech, she’s had the opportunity to interact with many fitness devices, apps, services, and social networks. Michelle is a paid contributor to the LeapFrog community and receives free product in exchange for her feedback.

Count-By-Color

One of the things I like best about my adult fitness tracker is the flashing lights and vibrations that occur when I reach my step goal. My husband coined this disco-esque feedback “party-on-my-wrist” and, because we felt like celebrating every time it happened, it stuck. Before the LeapBand came out, the kids would breeze past and assault our wrists with a double-tap, to check our (and, by extension, their) progress and they’d even suggest we walk to dinner to get more steps! They’d do a dance when “we” got party-on-my-wrist.

Flash forward a year and all 3 kids are SO excited to get their very own step counter! Instead of using a number (like Garmin Vivofit) or blinking lights (like FitBit Flex) to track steps, the main screen has a color frame around the edge. As steps accrue the color around the border changes in succession. I tell my 3 year old, “You’ve done a great job. The red colored frame is eating up the purple colored frame!” With my 7-year-old, I offer a greater goal of “getting back to the greens” – the first two colors.

Teaching Fractions

I like that there are four “bases” around the edge too. To me, the frame looks like a baseball diamond with the bases mid-way down the baseline. I use them when discussing the kid’s progress and hopefully teach them some fractions to boot. For example I have said, “You’ve gone so far! Look, you’re at ‘Orange-and-a-quarter’ or ‘Blue-and-a-half!’”

Self-Competition

Yesterday’s final “score” remains today as a single colored dot on the frame. The kids can try to get that far, or even further, today!

Encouragement

One day, I stole the LeapBand for myself. “Congratulations! Your energy bar has moved a long way.” “You’ve earned SO many joules” the LeapBand complimented me! A white arrow flashed, highlighting my progress. Rather than a single party-on-my-wrist, kids will feel as though they are getting regular pats on the back.