What is Gamification?
Did you or your kids ever play Pokemon Go! – the massive craze that dominated summer of 2016. This app was created primarily with the concept of getting players to walk great distances to increase their physical activity. This is gamification, but I bet you never saw it like that, right?
What else is gamification?
Gamification doesn’t need to be just an awesome app, loyalty reward program or a competition. It can be absolutely anything, these techniques are just designed to enhance people’s interest for socializing, learning, achievements, self-expression, or simply just making things seem more interesting when it may be a boring, off-putting task – like answering a survey for a free coffee… 😉
What does that mean for me?
In fact, the ‘gamification hype’ has only just been introduced these last few years, however you have been using these exact same strategies for capturing kids attention, challenging them, entertaining them or even teaching them, in your everyday lives without realising!
Do any of these seem familiar?
- ‘Who can clean their rooms the fastest?’
- ‘If you do your homework, we will…’
- ‘Who can get dressed the quickest?’
- ‘Who can get ready for bed the fastest?’
Or even things like, inventing a chore wheel chart to make chores seem more fun (if that’s even possible!) These points systems or rewards, are what heightens kids interests and encourages them actually want to do something *phew!* Research actually shows that gamification has positive impact on kids win-win!
So we’ve solved parenting, by making everything a game?
Not quite (we wish!). Gamification should only be used as a tool, not an excuse for everything ‘boring’ – just like screen time, it’s all about finding the right balance for you and your family. Specifically, it’s awesome as a fun incentive for kids to clean their rooms, practice their French or do their dreaded homework. However, just like anything, if you start gamifying everything, you will run the risk of implying the wrong message to children.
How can I use gamification to get them off of games?
As you know, kids are attracted to video games like moths are to light. In fact, this is something that MyFirstGym are trying to tackle by increasing physical activity and decreasing screen time. And we’re achieving exactly that!
MyMovementBuddy is a wearable fitness tracker for kids and parents to track their movement and reach goals in a way that is rewarding and fun! By receiving virtual Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, it incentives kids to clock up their movement point score each day, push themselves and create friendly rivalry amongst their friends and family.
All bands are designed to be used in conjunction with our classes and programs, meaning that in these classes, kids can watch their real-time score updating on in-class screens! MFG are continuously making improvements to promote physical activity in and out of the clubs such as the new leaderboard feature coming to the app this month! With this new leaderboard, you can now see where you rank in your club, to encourage kids to be #1 (psst: this means winning member of the month too, yay!)
Here are a few examples for getting your kids active (and get them winning!)…
- Chuck on some music throughout the house, strap on your MMBs and clean the house together, first person to reach 20 points, gets to choose the dinner!
- It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon? 5 laps around the garden to see who can get the most points on their MMB
- Go to the park for a picnic, kids run around to see who gets the highest MMB points – parents can join in (or more likely, relax for minute while the kids are burning off some energy!)
Whether it is an app, a chore chart stuck on the wall or a MyMovementBuddy, earning points for walking to school and making your bed can be pretty awesome!