Now your kids have even more incentive to get outside. Thanks to a new company called GeoPalz and their new Kids Pedometer, your kids can track how far they’ve run, hiked or otherwise messed around outdoors, and convert their points into prizes.
GeoPalz are pedometers and accelerometers designed for children ages five and older that attach to the shoe, wrist or hip. Available in such kid-friendly designs as soccer balls and lady bugs, they motivate children to be active by converting their steps into points they can redeem for free activity-based products, sports equipment and outdoor toys at the GeoPalz website.
The idea is the brainchild of Rich Schmelzer and Alexandra O’leary. After co-founding Jibbitz, those little decorations kids fasten to Crocs, and selling the company to the footwear giant, Schmelzer wanted to do more get kids outside. The answer: GeoPalz, a kid-friendly pedometer that lets kids swap steps for schwag.
“After we sold the company, we got some time off and began hanging around with our kids,” says Schmelzer, who launched the company with partner Alexandra O’leary “That’s when we really saw their routine and how much they watch TV. We wanted to give them an incentive to get outside, so we came up with a way to turn activity into currency.”
Aside from the units’ kid-friendly design, the key is in the company’s Web site. Once kids reach certain step thresholds, they can log-in and redeem their points for gear donated by outdoor companies. The site also harbors a family center where the whole family can see each other’s steps and compare activity.
Schmelzer has three kids – Lexie, 13, Jules, 11 and Riley, 9 – and O’leary two – Lucas, 11, and Angelina, 7. Practicing what they preach, they adorn them with GeoPalz to track their daily and weekly activity. The kids can then log-in to the company’s Web site and redeem their “points” for gear donated by various outdoor companies, from water bottles, to Frisbees and more. “It offers kids tangible rewards for being active outside,” says Schmelzer. “Kids need that encouragement and a way to see it.”
He adds that in his own household, 10,000 steps per day earns his kids 15 minutes of TV time, with them printing a redemption coupon from the site. He also adds that the Center for Disease Control recommends kids take between 10,000 – 12,000 steps per day. “”When we first put it on, our kids were only taking about 6,000 steps per day,” he says.
The company is also debuting a new 3-D version of its GeoPalz pedometer that stores up to 21 days of activity and calculates minutes of ‘vigorous’ play as well, which, for the average 8 – 13 year old, is about 120 steps per minute. Parents can also dial it up or down to adjust the setting. He adds that the Web site also has Family Center where everyone in the family can see how they’re doing compared to everyone else. “We’re trying to get the whole family involved,” he says, “and also encourage different ways for kids to get active.”