As rising childhood obesity rates show, one of the toughest tasks parents face is how to wrestle youngsters away from the TV and computer long enough to get some exercise. That’s exactly what a group of kids’ games from companies like Nintendo and Wild Planet intend to do — but how do they stack up to the rigors of the kid crowd? Our pint-sized testers weigh in.
Wii Fit — By standing on the Wii Fit Balance Board, youngsters control their movement on the TV screen and can play more than 40 strength training, aerobics, yoga and balance games. Our 8-year-old tester loved the games, but had to resist the temptation to jump on the platform. $89.99 (Wii home video game system sold separately); www.amazon.com and at most major retailers.
Whoops — Position 12 numbered disks in various patterns — a circle, square, cross or line — and try to keep your balance as you race to make your way from one “stepping stone” to the next. The game got high marks for super-easy setup and for getting our testers, 8-year old Connor and 4-year old Miller, moving one Saturday afternoon. $19.99; www.amazon.com.
Hyper Blast — This game — played by arranging colored, numbered balls on the “launcher,” stepping on the “blast” button and following the commands to chase after and return the balls in the correct order — was big hit for the 10-and-under testers who loved running back and forth. $20; www.wildplanet.com
Hip Hopscotch — Say goodbye to sidewalk chalk with this modern version of hopscotch. Arrange the numbered foam pads in the traditional pattern or anyway you want for a nearly endless number of games that challenge balance, ﬂexibility and creativity. $19.99; www.amazon.com.