DDC: LeapFrog LeapBand

Wearable technology is all the rage these days for adults. Now, the concept is spreading to kids.

LeapFrog, the maker of kids’ tablets and other educational products, recently unveiled the LeapBand, a device worn around the wrist. It’s really more of a toy, designed for kids ages 4 to 7, rather than a true fitness tracker. Yet it does offer some of the same features in a kid-friendly way.

The LeapBand doesn’t go on sale until August, but I’ve had a chance to try one out in recent weeks. It will retail for $40 and come in blue, green or pink.

The LeapBand doesn’t have a GPS receiver, a touch screen or any sensors to tell exactly how much your child is moving. But a little energy bar that encircles the band’s small color screen does keep track of how many activity challenges your child cues up.

In that mode, the band will ask your child to do tasks such as “leap like a frog” or “swim like a fish with a wish.” For each challenge, the child earns points and the energy bar charting their progress extends a little bit more.

Once the devices launch, parents will be able to sync the bands with software on the company’s website or a smartphone app and track their child’s activities. Those features weren’t ready when I tested it.

I was surprised how eager my 4-year-old daughter was to follow the instructions the LeapBand gave her. She’s an active kid to start with, but it was fun to see her bounce around the room when the device told her to.

Integrated into the device are a variety of virtual pets that your child can exercise along with, as well as feed and bathe.

Like many LeapFrog products, the LeapBand is designed to withstand the everyday tortures inflicted by small children. While a bit bulky, its hard, plastic shell is durable and water resistant.

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