The game sweeping the nation may be the excuse your kids need to go hiking
You can’t move right now without hearing about Pokémon GO in the news, the craze that has taken off and is becoming more popular with every country release. The game has just been released in the UK, and it’s already proving to be a fantastic way to get people outdoors, and may well be the excuse your kids need to have some great family hikes this summer. Take the hunt for computer generated creatures, to discover more around you in the real world.
Now before you roll your eyes, hear me out. I know, I know we’re always trying to get kids to play less computer games, or put their phones down and enjoy what is around them, but the biggest game right now, could actually be helping to give kids and adults alike a great excuse/reason to get outdoors and start walking.
What is Pokémon GO?
The recent free downloadable app from the popular Pokémon brand, where you, the player have to catch and battle a selection of various creatures. Pokémon GO is different from previous Pokémon games, because it involves the world around you. Using Google Maps, your character is actually adventuring in the town/city you live in, and the Pokémon appear around you, ready to be caught. Having to actually move yourself, to move the character is already getting people outdoors for extended periods during the day.
Who is Pokémon GO for?
Depending on your outlook on fun distractions, the game is for anybody with a phone. However it does use up your data allowance, so we’d advise parents to control play (and the cost). Install it on your own phone, and get the kids involved.
Fun for all the family
While you may think that the game is purely for the kids and you’d get quite bored easily, it’s worth noting that the map in Pokémon GO features locations called ‘Pokéstops’, these stops are markers for picking up fresh supplies for the game and are usually real life location markers in your area: artwork, historic locations, churches, parks, places of interest. This can help you discover places around your town, or another town that you may not have known existed. When you’re hunting for Pokémon, they can be located anywhere but parks are a great source of the little creatures, and a day wandering around the park looking for little colourful beasts can only be fun for all the family.
Not only is it a great way to get the kids outdoors with you, it’s also a fantastic way of keeping healthy. You don’t quite realise just how far you’ve walked, but the app is always measuring your steps. You can pick up Pokémon eggs in the game that will only hatch after you’ve walked 2km/5km or even 10km, a brand new Pokémon is a great little prize for putting in the steps. Who doesn’t like a little reward? There are also in-app markers that will let you know when you’ve walked distance milestones, that coupled with a big dose of Vitamin D from being outside all day? It can only do wonders for the health.
A gateway to geocaching
Pokémon GO follows a lot of the same ideas as geocaching and can be a great early gateway into another incredibly fast growing hobby. The idea of getting outdoors and using GPS to help you find certain items is heavily featured in both. Once the hype of Pokémon GO fades out, you can carry on the fun with geocaching apps, or a handheld GPS and continue to hunt in the outdoors to discover more. Want to know more about Geocaching? Click here.
Don’t believe us, check out what people are saying
Still here? Still interested?
If you think this is a game that might be good for you or your family to try out, but you don’t quite know what Pokémon even means, let alone where to begin with the game, the good news is that there are some great beginners guides out there to get you started. This guide from Tech Crunch is a fantastic way to get started from the very, very beginning.
Use it sensibly
As with many popular crazes, the horror stories are already beginning to emerge, people walking into traffic, trespassing etc. We would only advise using this app through sensible use, and always be aware of your surroundings.
Keeping your outdoor adventures varied is the best way to keep children interested, and with the summer holidays upon us, any boredom buster can only be a helping hand. While yes this may not be for everybody, and we would always recommend checking privacy settings before using any app, to make sure you agree with what is shared, for some families, this may be a great excuse for a walk.
Let us know if you give the game a try and how you get on, take a screenshot if you find any Pokémon in a GO Outdoors store, we’d love to hear from you.