Before I was a parent, a lot of gadgets aimed at kids just looked patently absurd, or provoked some moral indignation. "Now when I have a child..." I would grouse, launching into an imagined future that was part Walden Pond and part continental sophisticate.
Now that I have a toddler, that's all out the window. So when I look at the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle, I pause to laugh at my former naiveté before asking the nice people at Fisher-Price where I can buy one.
The Smart Cycle resembles a stationary bike, shrunk down to kid-size (ages 3-6) and gamified in exactly the same way that adult stationary bikes have been doing for years. Fisher-Price calls it a "physical / digital play experience." Considering that kids are entering into a world in which virtually everything will be connected to the internet, this seems like as good a place as any to start.
The bike connects to tablets or a TV over Bluetooth (though the TV connectivity options are currently limited to Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Android TV). As children pedal and steer, they traverse their way through educational games that reinforce reading and math skills. The starter game is free, and additional games—including a pack of Nickelodeon-licensed games—are available for download starting at $4.99.
Did I mention this thing looks fun? I should clarify. This thing looks super fun. I wish my legs were short enough to try it out. The seat height is adjustable, but not that adjustable.
Parents, if you opt to use the tablet, you'll be glad to know that it locks in very tightly, so you don't have to worry about Junior smashing it to the floor. It's battery powered, so it can go anywhere in the house. And it's built Fisher-Price tough, so that should count for something.
The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle is due to hit stores in summer or early fall 2017, debuting at $149. I anticipate it will be a hot item come holiday shopping season later in the year.