Put down Pokémon Go, kids: there’s something better

For all its challenges, being a kid right now is pretty darn cool. While the children of my generation were limited to VHS tapes, Legos, dolls, and board games, the new generation can access virtually limitless content, any time.

As a result, the way that kids interact with the world is fundamentally different from ten or twenty years ago. YouTube has replaced Google as the way that kids search for content. Over 70% of kids ages 3-5 in the US can perform basic functions to operate a tablet, while over 80% of US kids have access to a tablet. This provides children with unprecedented access to educational content, but it comes with challenges as well. Beyond the obvious concerns of inappropriate or non-educational content, the pure volume of kids’ screentime has emerged as a significant concern for parents and educators in recent years. While some apps and companies give parents tools to successfully manage screentime, others offer real-world alternatives that draw kids away from the screen while interacting with digital media.

A new group of companies has emerged that, by blending the physical and digital world, allow kids to learn concepts through technology without losing tactile, physical play. Pokémon Go’s recent launch, quickly becoming the biggest mobile game in history, demonstrates just how powerful this can be. The potential to harness that power for educational content is incredibly exciting. Here are some of our favorites:

We have no doubt that there will be many more of these companies to come, particularly given the record-breaking engagement (and motivation for exercise!) demonstrated by Pokémon Go. We hope to work with companies like these that use the engaging nature of these blended platforms to unlock exciting educational opportunities for digital natives. If you’re creating such a product, please reach out!