If you loved Pokémon when it was released back in 1996, you’re probably still loving it twenty years later in 2016. And chances are you’re one of the millions of people playing Pokémon Go. While you’re reminiscing on those fond memories of rival Gary and the Elite Four, just think of the memories you could make with your own children with this latest iteration of the classic game.
And to all the Pokémon newcomers, there’s something here for you, too! Pokémon Go is an easy game to master, and it’s a great way to bond as a family. Plus, those little creatures are pretty cute, right?
So whether you’re an experienced trainer or you’re just getting started, here are some things to keep in mind when you play Pokémon Go with your kids:
Incorporate math skills.
There is a surprising amount of math involved in Pokémon Go! One of the first things you’ll notice is that all of the measurements in the game use the metric system. Use this opportunity to teach your child what a kilometer is and how to convert kilograms to pounds. (For reference, 1 kilometer = 0.62 mile, 1 meter = 3.28 feet, and 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds.) Try asking your kids questions like, “The Jigglypuff we just caught weighs 6.16 kg. How much does it weigh in pounds?”
The evolution system also involves a bit of math. For example, every time you catch a Pikachu, you get 3 Pikachu candy. Every time you transfer a Pikachu, you get 1 Pikachu candy. You need 50 Pikachu candy to evolve it into Raichu. With that information, ask your child, “How many more Pikachu do we need to catch before we can evolve it?” They’ll be motivated to do the math to figure it out!
Work as a team.
Once you reach Level 5, you can join one of three teams: Team Insight, Team Mystic, or Team Valor. If you’re playing on different devices, agree to join the same team as your child. Or if you have more than one child, encourage them to join the same team and work together towards a common goal.
For example, your family goal could be to collect every Pokémon by dividing the work. One child could work to collect all the bug-type Pokémon, and another could be responsible for collecting flying-type. Having a personal goal in addition to a common goal will help your child feel like an important part of the team.
Another goal could be to turn a rival Gym into a friendly Gym. A Gym is a place where players can battle each other’s Pokémon. The object is to control as many Gyms as possible for your in-game team (Insight, Mystic, or Valor). To do this, find a Gym in an area where you and your family spend a lot of time (ex. your home, a school, a favorite restaurant) and strategize with the other members of your family to take control of it. You will have to coordinate your efforts to complete the task!
Get some exercise.
If you’re going to play the game, you’ll have to get moving! One of the main principles of the game is to explore your area to find new Pokémon. Try planning a family walk around your neighborhood to visit all the PokéStops on your street. Or, since different environments have different Pokémon, plan a family outing to the beach to seek out water-type Pokémon, or to a park to find grass-types.
Additionally, there are some in-game objectives which can only be achieved by walking. All those eggs you’ve collected from the local PokéStop will only hatch once you’ve walked 2, 5, or 10 kilometers, depending on the egg. Try researching hiking trails in your area and invite friends and neighbors to walk with you. This is a great opportunity to get your children excited about going outside and being active.
Safety should always be a priority when it comes to your children, and there are a few tips you should definitely consider while you and your family are exploring for Pokémon.
Make sure your children don’t leave the house without supervision and only go searching in areas you’re both comfortable and familiar with. Always look where you’re going, be aware of your surroundings, and never use the app while driving. Try to stay in public places and avoid deserted or uninhabited areas. And if you’re going out in the evening, be sure to bring a flashlight and stay on well-lit sidewalks and pathways.
Remember, the point is to have fun. Just be sure to watch your step when you get out there to catch ‘em all!