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With sporty apps, home is the new playground for kids

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on August 09, 2020

A slew of virtual fitness solutions for children cooped up at home launched

Temesh Kumar Dewangan, father of six-year old Misha Dewangan, was worried about the wellbeing of his young daughter when the lockdown was announced in March. An active outdoor kid, who attended dance and skating classes, she was finding no outlet for her energy.

After considering several options, Dewangan downloaded Fitb.ee – a children’s fitness app – which offered age-specific programmes and activities in video capsules. “Fitb.ee app has well-curated videos specific to age groups and the average duration is about half an hour,” says Dewangan.

Scoring a hit

With the pandemic bringing to a complete halt all forms of outdoor activities for kids, many like Dewangan have been finding virtual options to keep their children engaged and active. And quick to notice the demand, a slew of solutions are making a play for the kids fitness segment. Apart from Fitb.ee, there is Fittr and virtual solutions from the Sports Village Foundation.

Since its launch in January, Fitb.ee has witnessed 60,000 downloads. Before the lockdown it had barely got 3,000 downloads but acceleration in use happened since.

According to Avinash Rajapet, Co-founder and Program Director, Fitb.ee, the app is divided into two age groups – kids (between the age of 4 and 12 years) and teenagers (13-19 years). Nearly 50 per cent of the downloads are by parents of kids in the age group of 8-12 years.

“For the younger kids we have incorporated a lot of animal movements into the workouts imitating the movements of snakes, tigers etc to keep kids interested. For teenagers there is an option of selecting goals and the programme is designed accordingly,” says Rajapet.

While a lot of the videos are generic, there are custom planned 12-weeks subscription-based services available for kids who have been involved in some sports activities. The company has around 50-55 users on its subscribed model and is looking to grow this.

Meanwhile, Fittr, which started as a WhatsApp group in 2016 and later extended to Facebook, is seeking to create a peer learning community for kids. The concept is currently in the pilot stage but has the potential to grow, says founder Jitendra Chouksey.

“We had seen a high demand coming in from kids and so we launched a Facebook page Fittr Kids which deals with kids exercising and working out in a fun way,” says Chouksey. He says the moment they launched on Facebook they had close to 3,500 parents joining in.

Gamified content

Although still nascent, there are indications of the kids virtual fitness market picking up. With sports training centres shut, people want their kids to engage in activities to keep them fit. The sheer convenience may lead to many using the services even post Covid.

Designing content specifically targeted at kids would be crucial to keep them engaged. It should have the right quotient of fun and learning, says Parminder Gill, Co-Founder and Head, Sportz Village Foundation. The organisation works with schools, corporates and various State governments to run physical activity and structured sports programmes.

“Home is the new playground for kids and parents have a role to play. We have created two-to-three models to keep kids engaged. If you simply tell them to do squats they might not be interested, there has to be an underlying element of fun for them to do that activity. So gamification of content becomes very important,” says Gill.

The Foundation is using virtual models now. The activity content has been designed keeping in mind limited spaces and self collected materials readily available at home, he says. The company has both free content and paid models. It directly reaches out to parents and is also working through schools.

Fitb.ee too has gamified the app giving kids an opportunity to earn points as they move up each level and also get badges. The company is also looking to launch a marketplace and plans to tie up with several kids-specific brands including clothing and nutrition bars to enable users to redeem their points.

Published on August 09, 2020

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