Nine go-to gadgets for the holidays
Our tech expert picks her favorite digital gifts -- from the basic to the deluxe -- that will keep your kid learning all year long.
By Christina Tynan-Wood
Sure, WebKinz, Club Penguin, and RuneScape offers wee ones plenty of online fun. But while their avatars — puppy dogs, sea birds, or medieval warriors — are getting a workout, the kids are just sitting in front of a screen. The cleverly designed GeoPalz pedometers ($19.99) change all that by making a game out of walking and running around.
Kids simply clip on one of the cute characters (such as a princess, skateboarder, or ladybug) and start moving. Every step your child takes in the real world will also move her avatar through the virtual one, where she can earn points and unlock new games. Unlike in other virtual worlds, points here translate into actual prizes: toys, sports equipment, Target gift cards, and games (you pay for shipping). In the current version, kids must follow an honor system by logging on and entering their steps taken (so you'll have to stop them from, say, clipping a pedometer to the dog and taking credit for his perpetual motion). Future versions will log steps automatically.
Bottom line: Turn online gaming into real-world exercise with these kid-friendly pedometers.