A lot of times we get the sense that CES is a few months early on the whole April Fools game, but apparently this one is as real as it gets. Toy making giant Fisher-Price just announced an indoor bike trainer for kids from 3-6 years old that pairs with a tablet or TV (Zwift Junior anyone?). The Think and Learn Smart Cycle is intended to keep your kids active, even if you can’t get them away from screen time. While it seems a bit scary or even sad at first (I mean seriously… get the kids out on a real bike for crying out loud) studies have shown that kids learn better when they are active & engaged so Fisher-Price developed the trainer around a suite of educational apps…
Fisher-Price sees the SmartCycle as a way to help keep kids active and physically fit at a time when the drive is to spend more time sitting around locked into watching TV, playing video games, and spending time on web-connected mobile devices. Their Think & Learn line up is all about devising new ways to combine learning & play, and for the all the adults who get hooked on interactive smart trainers, maybe there is something to the Fisher-Price thinking. The way they put it preschoolers “learn the most by playing, experimenting, and figuring out how things work”, and when kids busy themselves playing and riding the bike at the same time they’re building “the foundation to grow into big thinkers”.
The trainer itself pairs via Bluetooth to a tablet that can mount to its detachable bracket, or can be synced with a compatible TV. It then runs with a series of apps for iOS and Android, partnering with several other popular children’s content brands to link activity on the bike with interactive elements on the games. Fisher Price has actually had a couple of wired versions of the SmartCycle for almost a decade now, but those had been more arcade controllers tied to racing games, and less of an educational item.
Just like the stationary bikes at the gym, the SmartCycle adjusts to fit your growing kid. And through app connectivity it also seems to make it easy for parents to track how much the kiddos actually pedaled over time, and what they learned.
The new Think and Learn SmartCycle is slated for Fall 2017 roll out, although availability could be as early as July. So plenty of time to set it up so junior can join ma & pa riding the turbos through next winter. The kids’ smart trainer will sell for just $150 and include one learning game called Mission to Tech City where kids ride to learn the letters of the alphabet. Other education game apps will be available for about $5 a pop, themed around popular children’s characters.
Is wearing down and tiring out the kid from all the exercise they get a side benefit? Word on the street is also that this may be the first of several similar kid-targeted products to combine stationary activity and more screen time. Ugh.