Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Toy Makers Design Goal: Get Kids Moving


Musical Hokey Pokey Skirt (Acting Out, $32): The skirt has a hidden pocket that holds a music box; movement keeps the hokeypokey playing.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The movement started with Dance Dance Revolution, a video game that inspired youngsters to give up their joysticks and boogie with abandon in front of the television.

Electronic-toy makers, often denounced for fostering laziness, have discovered that fitness sells.

Some are creating products that encourage children to pursue exercise while indulging their appetite for couch-potato entertainment.

One of the latest: The Smart Cycle, a stationary bike from Fisher-Price for 3- to 5-year-olds, combines pedal power with educational video games.

Coming soon: miniature treadmills and pedometers for preschoolers.

Even the catalog company Back to Basics Toys, which sells classics such as pogo sticks and tumbling mats, will pitch a $55 item called "Get Off the Couch," with interactive games for age 5 and older.

"For better or worse, this is the future," said Jim Silver, editor of Toy Wishes Magazine. "It's your computer, TV and video system, and that is the road we are heading down."

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