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Technology can bring the whole world to your doorstep — and as a parent, that’s good news and bad news. There may be a never-ending stream of educational resources and entertaining activities at your child’s fingertips, but there’s also the temptation to passively consume content instead of getting active and developing healthy habits. Drop the technology guilt and use the power that electronics hold over kids to tap into these five toys and tools that encourage family-friendly fitness.

1. Play more video games. Sure, they get a bad rap, but video games have evolved into an interactive experience. Run a marathon through Sydney, perfect your luge technique, join a rowing team, or let out your inner hip-hop star with Nintendo’s Wii Fit U. The game is compatible with the original Wii Balance Boards, which are inexpensive to buy secondhand. If you already own one, you can download the digital version of the game and turn fitness into fun with games that make activity seem like adventure.

You can also pick up the Wii Fit Meter accessory — a high-tech, kid-friendly pedometer that analyzes daily activity and syncs with the Wii U, making it easy to compare progress and create family fitness challenges.

nintendo wii u

Photo Credit: Nintendo

2. Walk to save the world. Kids can get active, learn about world affairs and boost their ability to help others in one tiny package with the UNICEF Kid Power Band. Your child puts on the bracelet and downloads the app to join the Kid Power team, where daily steps and activity (along with virtual missions to new countries) unlock funding to buy food for malnourished children around the world. The app also allows families to track progress and connect with each other, so you can combine philanthropy and fitness as a group.

kids walking

Photo Courtesy Ashley McCann

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3. Jump in the house. Children have tireless energy, and they love to jump — on the couch, on the bed, on their sibling. It’s an activity that gets everyone’s heart rate up: the kids through exercise, and Mom through fear of whatever is about to break! Avoid disaster with a ropeless jump rope. Yep, jump ropes without a rope are a thing, and often include monitors that count jumps and estimate calories burned. They’re perfect for a rainy day or a lot of energy in a little space, and come in a variety of affordable options.

ropeless jump rope

Photo Credit: Amazon

4. Keep preschoolers entertained. The Leapfrog LeapBand is worn like a watch and encourages active play for little ones by offering small physical challenges. (“Wag your tail like a dog!” “Pounce like a lion!” and “Wiggle like a worm!” are just a few examples.) It also gives gentle reminders to get active and earn points toward customizing a virtual pet with toys and accessories. The LeapBand tracks general activity instead of steps, and is a perfect durable and entertaining option for the younger members of the family.

leapfrog leapband

Photo Credit: Amazon

>> Read more: Best iPhone Apps for Toddlers

5. Rethink YouTube videos. Transform device time into fitness fun with a tablet-turned-portable fitness coach. Search YouTube for a wide variety of entertaining exercise videos for kids, including yoga, Zumba, dance instruction of all styles, playful preschool activities and more. 

get fit with mom screenshot

>> Check out Skinny Mom’s YouTube channel for hundreds of workouts and recipes.

Although good old-fashioned outside time is key for a healthy childhood, fitness technology can create a different level of awareness and give your kids a fresh outlook on activity. So go ahead and spend some guilt-free time together around the screen, and make memories while burning calories.


Ashley McCann is a mother of two, a Floridian yogi, and a Netflix connoisseur. She’s also a parenting and technology writer for eBay.com, her favorite place to find electronics that get her kids moving.