Can Screen Time Help Toddlers and Preschoolers Develop Their Muscles?
TekyGo! gets kids off the couch and playing active and educational games from the comfort of your living room.
Parents often struggle when trying to determine the right amount of screen time for their children, especially after almost an entire year of online learning. While teachers are doing the best they can, it’s quite difficult to conduct physical education lessons online. Additionally, the ongoing screen time from online learning means that children are engaging in even more sedentary behaviour. It’s time to break that trend by combining physical activity and video games together.
Enter TekyGo!, a new and innovative gaming experience that is designed specifically to help children 2-6 develop their cognitive, physical and socio-emotional skills through gaming. With TekyGo!, children will now have the opportunity to hop their way to a healthier body while having fun and of course, learning educational concepts along the way.
Being a Professor in Early Childhood Education and a parent myself, I was somewhat hesitant to work on a project that would encourage more screen time for children. I have been an advocate for physical literacy and the last thing I want is to help promote a gaming system that encourages children to spend more time on the screen. However, after spending time with the leadership team from TekyGo!, it is clear that their primary objective is not just developing a gaming system, but to help children develop a sense of self-confidence, as well as a healthy body. They are determined to provide not only fun games for children, but also educational content that will help them build a strong language, and a well-balanced mathematical and scientific foundation.
What also impressed me is their desire to help parents understand how TekyGo! games can help children develop cognitively, physically, and emotionally.
There is a growing body of literature surrounding the role of exergaming (the process of combining video games with exercise) in healthy childhood development. Not only is it fun for the kids, but exergaming also has the ability to elicit the same if not higher levels of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, light physical activity, energy expenditure and lower sedentary behaviour in comparison with traditional physical education.[i]
This is exactly what children need right now!
Here is something interesting that not many parents know or fully understand. Children between the age of 2-6 do not develop their fundamental movement skills automatically.[ii] These are skills that need to be taught. Not everyone can be a professional athlete, but if children develop their fundamental movement skills early, they will have the ability to participate in physical activities for the rest of their lives. It will give them the confidence to participate, which will then motivate them to move even more. This is exactly what TekyGo! is looking to provide.
Why are these fundamental movement skills so important? Regular physical activity among children and youth is related to improvements in cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body composition, bone density, physical fitness, academic achievement, and aspects of mental health including self-esteem.[iii]
TekyGo!’s mission is to partner with parents to help children develop these fundamental movement skills in a fun and interactive way. No longer will your child be just sitting and watching, or sitting and using a controller to play games, they will be working on their cardiovascular endurance and building their muscles while engaging in games with educational content. They will learn numbers, distance, letters, sounds of letters as well as words while hopping their way through fun and challenging games.
My son Tyler, who is 6 years old, tried the TekyGo! games and now he wants to play all the time. I enjoy watching him play but I also like tracking his stats on the TekyGo! App. For every jump on the trampoline, the console records the number of jumps, distance, and calories burnt after each game. The AI is developed to compete with the player at their performance level, thereby always making it challenging for the player regardless of age. This important innovation isn’t designed just to make the game more intellectually stimulating but also to encourage higher levels of physical activity. Essentially, TekyGo! Is one of the few gaming platforms that makes learning, exercise and play not only fun, but also in demand. The kids are excited to learn, grow and get active. Every parent’s dream scenario.
Tyler’s favourite game is Bounce Frenzy, where he competes against the AI to see who can blow up the balloon faster. TekyGo! is an online platform so new games are being added every month, with different educational objectives in mind. I am looking forward to continuing my partnership with TekyGo! to create more educational content while keeping the physical development of children as the focal point.
FUN IS UNIVERSAL, and so is children’s need to develop their physical skills, so let’s get kids playing!
[i] Gao, Z., Pope, Z., Lee, J.E., Stodden, D., Roncesvalles, N., P, Denis., Huang, C., & Feng, D. (2017). Impact of exergaming on young children’s school day energy expenditure and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels. Journal of sport and health science, 6 (1), p.11-16
Gao, Z., Hannan, P., Xiang, P., Stodden, D.F., & Valdez, V.E. (2013). Video Game–Based Exercise, Latino Children’s Physical Health, and Academic Achievement. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(3), p.240-246
Sun, H., & Gao, Y. (2016). Impact of an active educational video game on children’s motivation, science knowledge, and physical activity. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 5(2), p.239-245
Vernadakis, N., Zetou, E., Derri, V., Bebetsos, E., Filippou, F. (2014). The differences between less fit and overweight children on enjoyment of exergames, other physical activity and sedentary behaviours.
Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 152, p.802-807
[ii] Gallahue, D. L., Ozmun, J., & Goodway, J.D. (2011). Understanding motor development. New York, London: McGraw-Hill.
[iii] Janssen, I. and Leblanc, A.G. (2010). Systematic review of the health benefits of physical activity and fitness in school-aged children and youth. International Journal of Behavioral, Nutrition and Physical Activity. 7(1), P. 40