Playing Pokémon Go Together

pgHave you tried Pokémon Go with the kid in your life?

I loved playing the popular app with my almost 6-year-old daughter. The game turns your real life neighborhood into a digital map filled with creatures to discover.

We walked around our neighborhood, photographed digital creatures in the bushes, captured Pokémon and met other kids playing the game. Best of all, we shared my smartphone for a couple hours–a truly rare experience.

Instead of criticizing kids for obsessing over apps like Pokémon Go, we should find books that compliment these digital experiences.

I have some simple advice for everything from Disney books to video game books: let kids read whatever they want to read.

To nurture my daughter’s interest in the game, I ordered a copy of Scholastic’s Pokémon Deluxe Essential Handbook. This colorful reference book gives kids a way to explore the Pokémon universe WITHOUT a device.

After a long day of Pokémon hunting, kids can make a field notebook.

My daughter started drawing pictures of the Pokémon she discovered in a blank notebook. She is slowly filling the pages with colored pencil sketches of Pokémon.

A word of warning: The Pokémon Go app can be dangerous without adult supervision. Young children should ALWAYS have a parent nearby when using the app, making sure they don’t stumble into traffic or run into strangers during the journey.

I see the game as training wheels for kids growing up with virtual reality interfaces. We can introduce these new interfaces in a healthy and truly interactive context at home—rather than giving kids another solitary digital experience.

This post was adapted from the Born Reading Newsletter, my free email newsletter that features one book, one app, and one craft on a semi-regular basis.

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