This is so fun...for about three seconds.

Why The Fisher-Price “Educational Exercycle” Makes Me Queasy

Here’s the article I was hoping to write about the new Fisher-Price stationary bike that tots are supposed to ride while watching “educational” videos. But since Naomi Schaefer Riley actually got around to putting her thoughts on paper and pixel, all the words are actually hers. How do you like that? This is from her column in the New York Post:

Exercise Bikes for Toddlers are a Terrible Idea, by Naomi Schaefer Riley

Parents, repeat after me: Children are not just shorter versions of adults.

This is the important message that seems to have been missed by the geniuses at Fisher-Price, who have just announced the release this fall of the “Think Learn Smart Cycle.” The $150 toy is designed to let children age 3-6 peddle on a stationary bicycle while watching a tablet….What could be wrong with that?

Everything.

Starting with the “smart” part of the Smart Cycle. Fisher-Price says the apps on the built-in tablet are going to focus on science, technology, engineering and math. But there’s no evidence that more and earlier exposure to these subjects on screens is going to help our children.

Pause — in fact, there’s no evidence that we should be trying to teach toddlers academics, period.

But the problem with the Smart Cycle goes far beyond the ways its creators claim to exercise a child’s brain…. [I]f your goal is to make a child enjoy physical activity and want to do it more, why would you want to put him on a bicycle that goes nowhere?

Genius question!!!

Ages 3 to 6 are exactly when a child most needs to be exploring the people and the world around him or her. Whether it’s stacking blocks to see when they’ll tumble over, playing with paint or glue or going outside to observe plants and animals or the clouds and the stars, children at this age have the opportunity and the ability to take it all in, perhaps in ways that adults are trained not to.

Schaefer goes on to explain that there’s the kind of school-room attention parents and teachers can DEMAND — attention that is often short-lived — and then there’s the attention that develops naturally, when kids (or any of us) are surrounded by sights, smells, sounds, things to touch and explore.

In other words, things beyond the exercycle screen. And she concludes (as I would have, too, I swear!):

If most adults (from my small sample size) use their stationary bikes as hangers for dirty clothes, imagine how little the Smart Cycle will do to inspire children.

I’m imagining! I’m with you every word of the way, Naomi! Thanks for writing this! – L.

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This is so fun…for about three seconds.

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55 Responses to Why The Fisher-Price “Educational Exercycle” Makes Me Queasy

  1. James Pollock January 17, 2017 at 2:30 am #

    I wouldn’t have bought one of these for my kid, had they been available, but I’m not horrified that someone else might.

    If some parents think this is a good use of their $150, I’m not going to second-guess them.

    As for STEM education, If my kid showed an interest at that age, I’d support it. (I volunteer in an organization that does STEM outreach for children… in fact, our statewide event was snowed out this weekend.).

  2. BL January 17, 2017 at 4:43 am #

    ““We know preschoolers learn best and retain more when they’re active, but they’re also really fascinated with technology like apps,””

    So being fascinated with “apps” is fascination with “technology”? Really?

    Does a liking for cheeseburgers indicate a fascination with dairy and cattle farming?

  3. MichaelF January 17, 2017 at 6:27 am #

    I let my kids play with it in the store, that’s about the length of interest they had.

    Got shopping done, never was asked about it again, never wanted to try it again, seemed like it was enough.

  4. Jessica January 17, 2017 at 8:06 am #

    This is definitely a case that will sort itself out naturally, with no need for internet outrage. No child in that age group is going to pedal a stationary bike for more than 30 seconds. (I’ve seen some schools that have similar ones for kids who can’t sit still during a lesson, but that’s different– in that case, the alternative is siting still in a chair. In this toy, the alternative is literally anything else the child can come up with.). So, a handful of parents might think this is a good idea, but they’ll be irritated after they spend their money on it and their kid never uses it. And the company will stop making it.

    I don’t have the emotional energy to get mad about every stupid product available in stores.

  5. Beanie January 17, 2017 at 8:39 am #

    Ha! This is funny! I’ve been wishing for a stationary bike for my 9-year-old, for the days when it’s too cold and windy to ride outside, and we’re stuck for ideas on how to get in the daily exercise allotment we’re working on. But I suspect that if I put him in front of the TV, he’d forget to pedal. And pedalling indoors without a visual would be really, really boring. . .which is probably why they don’t make stationary bikes for 9-year-olds.

  6. Anna January 17, 2017 at 9:50 am #

    I agree with Jessica that we probably don’t need to be outraged. On the other hand, I am a bit mystified about what life looks like in a home where a toddler actually needs to consciously work out or “get exercise.” Any toddler I’ve ever known burns more energy and uses more muscles in more varied and impressive ways than an Olympic gymnast, just going about their normal toddler day. If your toddler doesn’t, I have a simple solution that’s much cheaper – take that tablet away!

  7. pentamom January 17, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    The educational angle sounds like a gimmick.

    But it’s not a bad thing to have a toy kids can get significant exercise on indoors, so long as it’s limited to deep winter and rainy days. Yes, yes, they can go play out in the snow, but little kids can only do that for so long and sometimes the weather doesn’t permit.

    Is the thing a symptom of a lot of things wrong? Probably. But in its place, it’s not demon spawn.

  8. Donna January 17, 2017 at 10:34 am #

    Didn’t one of these already exist? I seem to remember something like this being advertised when my kid was a toddler 9 or 10 years ago. I didn’t buy one, but I swear I remember seeing it.

    I can see a kid-size stationary bike, without the screen, being fun for a kid if mom or dad is doing it and they want to join in. But I can’t imagine a kid finding it interesting outside of that once the newness wore off.

  9. Backroads January 17, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Because of the snow outside, we brought my daughter’s tricycle inside.

    She rides it around the house, sometimes while cartoons are one.

    Does that count as some sort of poor man’s version of this?

  10. Backroads January 17, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    Also, as a teacher, I have seriously issues with kids that young interacting so much with tablets.

  11. Mya Greene January 17, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    If you want a small stationary bike, why not just take the wheels off of any existing bikes in the home, and convert back and forth as necessary? You could supplement with a TV program as well, though not in extreme excess, or as a substitute for outdoor time, and face-to-face time. It is all about moderation. That way, there is no pressure to use it all of the time, and no extra stuff to buy, and you’ve got basically the same thing. A more interesting idea than this toy would be to make the bike with a motion sensor, and make the apps into games, similar to the Wii Fit.

  12. Mya Greene January 17, 2017 at 11:59 am #

    Another thought…If my kid begged for this, I would consider getting it for them, perhaps as a birthday or holiday gift, if it was within reach financially. Although the reaction seems to be that it should be for “adults only”, I would seriously sympathize with a kid who showed interest in it. When I was around the same age, I remember looking in toy catalogues, on many occasions, asking for toys that were “too old”, and being refused them at first. Eventually, my parents just resorted to buying me what I showed interest in, and that worked.

  13. John B. January 17, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    Guess I have mixed feelings on this one but I definitely see Naomi’s point. Children need to be riding their bicycles OUTSIDE where they go from one spot to the next instead of riding bikes nowhere inside. But on the other hand, I’m all for children exercising and kids riding a stationary bike inside is a heck of a lot better than sitting in front of TV or a computer munching down a bag of chips.

    On the negative side, perhaps stationary bikes for kids would discourage them from getting outside and playing like they should. Kids are also apt to get bored riding a stationary bike day after day and then quit it altogether. But if a preschooler sees mom riding her stationary bike in the morning in front of TV, maybe the kid will peddle away on his stationary bike right alongside mom on a daily basis.

    There are definitely pros and cons to this idea.

  14. Alanna January 17, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

    The only way I could see that this might work would be if the video runs only when the child is pedaling.

  15. En Passant January 17, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

    Beanie January 17, 2017 at 8:39 am #:

    Ha! This is funny! I’ve been wishing for a stationary bike for my 9-year-old, for the days when it’s too cold and windy to ride outside, and we’re stuck for ideas on how to get in the daily exercise allotment we’re working on. But I suspect that if I put him in front of the TV, he’d forget to pedal.

    Maybe some toymaker will come up with an exercise bike and TV combo, with a generator on the exercise bike to run the TV.

    Want to watch TV? Pedal!

  16. Mike January 17, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    Ugh. Go outside and play in the dirt, that’ll teach them a LOT more.

  17. fred schueler January 17, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

    Remember the treadle sewing machine? I’ve long thought that what adults need is treadle computers to do something to offset all the sitting that’s involved.

  18. Catherine Caldwell-Harris January 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    @ Anna –regarding: On the other hand, I am a bit mystified about what life looks like in a home where a toddler actually needs to consciously work out or “get exercise.”

    I live in the northeast and winter is here. I have a small trampoline in the main area of the house that I urge the children to jump on where they are frustrated or when my ADHD son is just spinning out of control with the need to move. Also minimizes jumping on the beds (which are already damaged from jumping).

  19. BL January 17, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    @Catherine Caldwell-Harris
    “I live in the northeast and winter is here.”

    I lived the first 13 years of my life in lake-effect (Great Lakes) snow regions.

    We played outside a lot in the winter. Bundle up and keep moving. Snow is fun.

  20. Emily January 17, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    >>Beanie January 17, 2017 at 8:39 am #:

    Ha! This is funny! I’ve been wishing for a stationary bike for my 9-year-old, for the days when it’s too cold and windy to ride outside, and we’re stuck for ideas on how to get in the daily exercise allotment we’re working on. But I suspect that if I put him in front of the TV, he’d forget to pedal.<<

    How about one of those video games with a dance pad, like Dance, Dance Revolution, or Just Dance, or one of the many Zumba games, where dancing is the whole point of the game?

  21. Rae Pica January 17, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    Thanks for posting this, Lenore. Some commenters here have expressed a belief that there’s no need for outrage, but I disagree. As someone who has been immersed in the development and education of the whole child for 37 years, with an emphasis on physical activity, I certainly find this outrageous. While it’s true that this will probably not sell well and thus become another failed experiment, I still find it enormously frustrating that adults, including toy makers and parents, fail to understand children and child development. This is just one more example of an ignorance that is contributing to the stress and unhappiness too many young children are experiencing.

    We’re pushing them to be adult-like before they’re ready and at the same time complaining about how fast they grow up! Why can’t we just let them be children?

  22. Katie January 17, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

    My 6 year old is fascinated with all things STEM but not the kind that is taught on a screen. I’m a chemist and my husband is an engineer so we have allowed her to explore (with her hands, ears, eyes, and even mouth) all kinds of things. We’ve purchased/made several science experiments and for the most part she doesn’t want to watch she wants to DO. She wants to squish the slime between her fingers, take apart her bike and see what happens when you remove the kickstand (wonderful example of gravity!), move nuts around the table with a magnet, make volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar until she uses the whole box, etc. She’ll ask a question and after a short explanation she wants to go back to playing. Why would anyone think that a 3-6 year old is going to get on a bike and peddle while watching an app? Mine would be trying to take the thing apart…and my husband would be supplying the screwdriver!

    As for exercise, put a coat or rain slicker on the kid and shoo them out the door. We didn’t melt when we got wet as kids and I know mine won’t either.

  23. Randy Garbin January 17, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    I also disagree with anyone who sees no reason for outrage. I’d like to find everyone in that meeting that approved this “toy”, fire them with great humiliation, and make it so they never work in this business again.

    First, the idea that a kid is going to stay in one place and exercise while watching a screen is ludicrous at the outset, but to even suggest that this presents an alternative to actual, out-in-the-world activity bespeaks of a tragic intellectual diminishment.

    Adults these days use these things because they no longer lead active lifestyles by default. They drive everywhere, sit at desks all day, and then subject themselves to these torture devices to compensate. This toy is a further sign that we’ve kind of given up. Wall-E, here we come.

  24. James Pollock January 17, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    “‘I live in the northeast and winter is here.’
    I lived the first 13 years of my life in lake-effect (Great Lakes) snow regions.
    We played outside a lot in the winter. Bundle up and keep moving. Snow is fun.”

    I grew up in the northwest. Our snow tends to fall pre-melted. Kids are waterproof, but you’d never know it by listening to them. The grade school here has a covered play area, and sometimes they have recess indoors. And, finally, it isn’t just about COLD weather. When I was in Basic Training, in San Antonio, we had to do all of our physical training at 5 in the morning because otherwise, it was too hot. Even running laps at 5, we frequently had guys dropping from heat exhaustion. And that’s AF basic training, which isn’t nearly as demanding as, say, any of the other services.

    “Children need to be riding their bicycles OUTSIDE where they go from one spot to the next instead of riding bikes nowhere inside.”

    I would have said the same thing for adults, but an awful lot of them seem to disagree. Then again, a LOT of the garage sales in my neighborhood seem to feature dusty exercise equipment

    “How about one of those video games with a dance pad, like Dance, Dance Revolution, or Just Dance, or one of the many Zumba games, where dancing is the whole point of the game?”

    Or any of the Playstation Eye Toy or Move games, or Microsoft Kinect games, or, oh, heck, go old school and track down an NES, a Power Pad, and a copy of “World Class Track Meet”.
    Of course, any of these choices are going to cost you more than $150.

    ” Why would anyone think that a 3-6 year old is going to get on a bike and peddle while watching an app?”

    Maybe their kid would.

  25. Steve January 17, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    I don’t think the point of this article is to foster outrage at anybody or any thing. Fisher-Price is in business to make money, and I don’t begrudge them trying to sell this. For some people it might not be a bad idea.

    I think that the point of this article is to simply point out how our parenting choices affect our kids. And to point out (again) how our kids really want and need to learn.

    There are all too many posts on this website to get outraged about. (Just see the last post, for example!)

  26. MichelleB January 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    Like Donna, I remember seeing a different version of this years ago. I think it was when it would have been targeted towards my oldest, who is now twenty. No one I knew had one. Just because a company makes a thing doesn’t mean that parents will buy it.

    If I thought we needed a way for my kids to be more active indoors, I’d opt for one of those doorway swings. Muddy outdoor play is great, but not right before a doctor’s appointment or church or bedtime…

  27. Rebel mom January 17, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    Well said, Rae Pica and Katie!!

  28. Amanda January 17, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

    As much as I want to laugh at this product … my son, when he was 3, used to love to watch me walk on my treadmill. No idea why, but it fascinated him. One day he asked if he could walk on it. I stood behind him so if he flew off, I’d be there, and let him go. He went a quarter of a mile in silence and when the lap was up, I took him off of it. Later he asked to do it again. He’s 5 now, and he routinely walks (sometimes up to one mile at a time) on the treadmill. We also walk hand-in-hand in the neighborhood, so we’re not replacing any exercise, but he just really enjoys the monotony of the treadmill. When I asked him why he liked it so much he told me it was because it was quiet and he didn’t have to look at anything.

    I think he’s enjoying walking on the treadmill for the same reason I do — it’s quiet and I can let my thoughts wander. We’re not a loud house, and we don’t do much TV, but maybe some kids (and people) just benefit from physical activity with no expectations and no distractions?

    Maybe what’s wrong with this product is the attached tablet. I don’t think my son would enjoy walking if we stuck a tablet on the magazine holder tray or played music the whole time. Sometimes I think we forget that some kids at least need quiet time to be alone with their thoughts. Or maybe my kid is just weird, like his Mama. 🙂

  29. Hilda Thibault January 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    Children need to go outside, fall down and get knocked over by the swing in order to learn about their surroundings. Falling and the pain, teach you how to avoid the pain and being more aware, or careful next time. This is not a one time event. It must be learned at different levels, and in different surroundings. Some will learn it more quickly than others. Without living in the “real” world, children are not ready to make realistic assessment of what is and isn’t dangerous. Everything becomes like the ride at Disney World. Scary, but controlled by someone else. Someone who’s job it is to make sure no one gets hurt. They do not understand the difference between the Lazy river ride, and actually going into a real river with currents, boat traffic, and possibly submerged hazards.

    Years ago, we brought a very shelter 10 year old to a State Park. This park was in a suburban community, and heavily visited on this beautiful Sunday. So, there were always people that could be seen. This boy became more upset, the further we walked. After a few minutes we asked what was upsetting him. He replied, ” I am afraid we will get lost in the woods.” I pointed out the we were following a paved path. He said” but how will we find the car again?” I reassured him that we could just turn around and follow the same path back. I guess he had never gone anywhere were he had to watch and remember how to return.

  30. donald January 17, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    Toy companies sell toys to parents not to children. They use whatever sales angle that they can. They’ll play on any insecurities they can. I’m impressed that they didn’t advertise this as ‘safer’ than playing in the dangerous outdoors! They used another common angle instead. They emphasised the education benefit of it. (If you don’t buy this product your child will always struggle in school)

    BTW the ‘safer’ strategy isn’t as effective as it was previously. Thank you Lenore.

  31. Christopher Byrne January 17, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    @ Donna. Yes. This is a relaunch of the first Fisher-Price bike of this nature. It sold well. Of course, selling well and pedagogical soundness or even value are debatable. 100K pieces would be considered a success, not that many. And parents are easily convinced that they are doing something important for kids with this. That’s who’s going to be buying it. Whether or not it will be used is another question.

    Get ready for many more of these toys to be introduced this year.

    My feeling is that STEM is in every toy, certainly for preschoolers. It’s all about exploring. I would want to be @Katie’s kid where they chance to explore and experience the world first-hand (pun intended) are the way kids really create the building blocks of future learning. I have yet to see any of these type of videos work effectively.

    But that doesn’t mean this won’t sell. It will. But that’s the beauty of the free market, no one is going to force you to buy this. So sometimes a simple, “not for me or my kids” is enough.

    Having been around many many toddlers over the years, my personal view is that this is not necessary or even demonstrably good for kids. With toddlers, the trick is often getting them to slow down…not get them moving.

    There are many products I scratch my head over. Alexa being one. Grapefruit sectioning knives have always baffled me. Electric can openers another. Though for my dad’s arthritic hands, the latter sat least served a specific need. And it taught him about engineering…not that he really needed that.

  32. donald January 17, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

    “Schaefer goes on to explain that there’s the kind of school-room attention parents and teachers can DEMAND — attention that is often short-lived — and then there’s the attention that develops naturally, when kids (or any of us) are surrounded by sights, smells, sounds, things to touch and explore.”

    I haven’t thought of this. 30 years ago the majority demanded higher test scores. Now we can start demanding activities that will increase their attention span.

  33. lollipoplover January 17, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but I’m most annoyed at how close to the screen the child is! My mother used to tell us we would get cross-eyed if we sat so close to the TV (I still believe her).

    One of the questions for our well visits at the pediatrician is screen time. Kids develop by experiencing a variety of activities, indoors and outdoors. The pediatrician believed in moderation- don’t spend all of your hours in front of a TV, computer, or phone. Go outside and clear your brain and lungs and maybe meet some other kids.

    This reminds me of a hamster wheel for a trapped pet. Children as pets, confined to their cages. My kids wanted to be with other kids and play. I’m so glad they did and we saved our money from these devices that would probably have tripped me or just turned into another coat rack, like our other fitness equipment.

  34. Stacey Gordon January 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

    Cycling doesn’t compensate for sitting. It IS sitting. More sitting. With some aerobic activity and more bad posture. I see with this invention that kids are being groomed to only want virtual interaction with the world. If you have a real bike and want to use it as an exercise bike, just put it on a mag trainer indoors and poof, you have an instant exercise bike.

    This is just an intermediary device that is designed as part of a series, to gradually acclimate kids to living in virtual reality.

    And if they really want the kid to see the picture, why is she turned sideways to it?

  35. HotInLa January 17, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

    Eh, I wouldn’t buy it, but am not outraged either. I’d bet it’s not going to sell well & be discontinued before long.

    I like the idea someone posted about having to pedal for the screen time…Work for it! LoL

  36. Emily January 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

    >>“How about one of those video games with a dance pad, like Dance, Dance Revolution, or Just Dance, or one of the many Zumba games, where dancing is the whole point of the game?”

    Or any of the Playstation Eye Toy or Move games, or Microsoft Kinect games, or, oh, heck, go old school and track down an NES, a Power Pad, and a copy of “World Class Track Meet”.
    Of course, any of these choices are going to cost you more than $150.<<

    Well, besides the fact that you could always buy an Eye Toy or dance game used or refurbished, because these things have existed for many years, as opposed to the Fisher-Price Educational Exercycle, which is a new item, an Eye Toy or a dance game is going to get a lot more years of use. First of all, the child receiving the Exercycle will have outgrown it by like, kindergarten age, at the very oldest, while the dance or Eye Toy games can't be physically outgrown, and they appeal to people of any age, up to and including adults. Second, most kids who are young enough to fit on a Fisher-Price exercycle are too young to have any appreciable attention span, so they'll play it in short spurts and get bored, before they eventually outgrow it. Yes, it can be handed down to a younger sibling, but by then, the newness has worn off, so there's a chance that it won't even get as much use as it did with the first child, and that's if it's not either obsolete, broken, or both, by then…..which is likely, because toddlers are hard on their belongings, and technology is evolving quickly. So, what I'm trying to say is, while the cost of dance and Eye Toy games may exceed that of the Fisher-Price Educational Exercycle, so do their play value.

  37. BL January 17, 2017 at 6:23 pm #

    @Emily
    “Well, besides the fact that you could always buy an Eye Toy or dance game used or refurbished, because these things have existed for many years, as opposed to the Fisher-Price Educational Exercycle, which is a new item, an Eye Toy or a dance game is going to get a lot more years of use.”

    I remember when people could dance without recourse to an electronic game.

    Sigh.

  38. Gina January 17, 2017 at 7:56 pm #

    Toys aimed for toddlers and preschoolers should actively NOT be educational.

    The whole thing makes me nauseous.

  39. bmommyx2 January 17, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

    I don’t think it’s horrible, but I would be unlikely to spend that much on one toy. What if you had a child who who’s parents used an indoor bike & they wanted to do it too at the same time. What if you lived somewhere where the weather prevented kids from playing outdoors or maybe they had some health issue & couldn’t go out doors. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be likely to buy one & don’t think the masses would or should, but I do see a benefit for a small minority of children.

  40. Christian Hölljes January 17, 2017 at 9:45 pm #

    Lenore and Naomi have lost touch with their inner child and apparently not studied on the subject of active/interactive/virtual learning.

    It is well known that activity spurs a child’s endocrine system to produce Brain Growth Hormones (i.e.BDNF). Smart Cycle IS genius because it ADDS to a child’s tools for learning. Real bikes are terrific fun but a child must own one, know how to ride it and have a safe, paved area to pedal; knee and elbow pads and a hemut may be required, as well as a helmet and a supervising adult. Furthermore, the weather must cooperate (rain, snow, heat, cold).

    Smart Cycle’s compelling virtual content and aspirational bike form-factor makes for an exciting new platform for learning. The child pedals to advance in a virtual learning environment, theyvare immersed, engaged and having fun while learning via on screen content and verbalized directives. Children are also learning hand-eye coordination, balance and pedaling/steering maneuverers. There is a. confidence a child enjoys controlling this learning system which grows their brain and solidifies this new ephemeral growth with neuroplastic events (establish a memory).

    The Smart Cycle works with iOS and Android tablets and or OTT systems such as AppleTV, FireStick, Chromecast! It can be used any time night or day, requires no adult supervision, and is especially effective for learners with ADHD or who are on the spectrum.

    Read HUNDRRDS of positive reviews on Amazon as this is a more compact version of the hugely successful, award winning BlockBuster Smart Cycle launched in 2007! Back then It was Innovative Toy of the Year and Educational Toy of The Year and won EVERY MAJOR industry award while selling out and proving to be one of FisherPrice’s bestselling new products ever!

    Parents can ration this fun and effective activity inducing system so children can read a book, play hide & seek, build with blocks or play make-believe if they prefer!

  41. Emily January 17, 2017 at 11:25 pm #

    >>@Emily
    “Well, besides the fact that you could always buy an Eye Toy or dance game used or refurbished, because these things have existed for many years, as opposed to the Fisher-Price Educational Exercycle, which is a new item, an Eye Toy or a dance game is going to get a lot more years of use.”

    I remember when people could dance without recourse to an electronic game.

    Sigh.<<

    People still can just dance to music, but sometimes people like to learn specific dances, so these games provide a way to do that, either instead of, or in addition to, structured dance or Zumba classes. I don't think there's anything wrong with that……..and, you could use that argument against just about anything. I mean, when recorded music was in its infancy, I bet people said, "I remember when people could sing and play instruments without recourse to a gramophone."

  42. Emily January 17, 2017 at 11:40 pm #

    I forgot to mention, I think there’s one more situation in which this kiddie exercise bike/video game could be useful–besides rain, deep winter, or medically fragile kids who can’t play outside, I think it might get some decent use in a daycare or preschool setting, where it’d likely get used in short spurts, by a larger group of kids……in addition to outdoor playtime, not instead of it.

  43. hineata January 17, 2017 at 11:49 pm #

    @Christian – I presume you are involved in marketing this ‘cycle’? Nice try, but no banana for you! ☺.

    I personally think it’s a terrible idea, but no doubt someone somewhere will buy it. I have a cupboard full of useless kitchen appliances that I should have avoided – a knife and chopping board being more useful than most of them. Same with this waste of space product – some of us humans will get suckered into buying just about anything you can imagine.

  44. John B. January 18, 2017 at 1:03 am #

    @Rae and Randy

    I think you’re both over reacting. I definitely see the cons of this product but it does have some pros. Look, there might even be a few kids who actually enjoy riding this bike so please don’t deprive the very few who do. At least they’re exercising their muscles and burning up some calories.

  45. lollipoplover January 18, 2017 at 7:58 am #

    Is this the Peloton Jr.??

    Full disclosure: we have an indoor trampoline, so I guess I can’t slam indoor kids exercise equipment. My daughter got the trampoline when she was 8 and it still gets a lot of use down the basement, especially in the winter as a launching pad onto the sectional sofa or a cushion landing when they make obstacle courses or tent forts.

  46. diane January 18, 2017 at 9:05 am #

    @Christian: did you invent this? https://design.ncsu.edu/people/h-christian-h%C3%B6lljes
    If so, just say so. Unless you’re a bit embarrassed to be making money preying on the misconceptions of parents?

  47. Joel Sadofsky January 18, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    Be careful with @Christian, he spent seven years as apple’s head of media outreach!

  48. Workshop January 18, 2017 at 10:16 am #

    Christian, there are FTC guidelines you need to follow if you are involved in the financial success of this product. Namely, you need to announce that you are getting compensation.

    FYI, I don’t care how many great reviews it gets on Amazon. Lots of people have told me how great it is to use hallucinogenic substances; I don’t listen to them either.

  49. Literally, I am just going nowhere.... January 18, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Hmmm…..I have to first say, which major national gym corporation is in cahoots with F-P on this since it could possibly lead the child to become gym members to continue this line of exercise when they out grow this?

    Will this do away with the phrase “It is like riding a bicycle” because this is only stationary and requires no mastery of balance, etc when riding a real bicycle or getting any bicycle related scars you laugh about later in life???

    Hooking this up to the TV to watch via their own generated power is a great idea, except you may need to siphon off some of that energy to run the lights and climate control system in the house at the same time….that may violate child labor laws since they are not being properly compensated in a proper housing environment which may stunt there growth, be deemed dangerous and a risk to them while possibly putting the parent in front of judge and jury to decide whether the parent is fit to parent at all because the child is being forced to learn about Newton’s three laws from a national known science expert (no, not Big Bird) via a digital device without practicing the theories in a lab. Pedal faster child! Mama does not want a high power bill next month!

    I have to question where are the hydration and energy providing stations are for this youngster in the photo above when she is supposedly doing this (i.e. water bottle, snack and a towel to wipe the sweat away as she pedals to learning the tangential force theory of gears as they mesh on some digital device)?

    Is this how you will teach your children to ride a stationary cycle with inappropriate clothing and unsafe conditions, e.g. no helmet (safety first!), wrong shoes, cannot see socks on her and jeans are not exercise wear?

    When is the first lawsuit going to be filed for butt rash due to sweat when inappropriate clothing is worn on this stationary cycle and the owner and child did not know only better? Better get bicycle padded shorts on the child.

    Also, lastly, snow is bad, it kills, hurts, maims people through various methods….we need to ban snow, make a registry for it in case it wants to do something bad and people are notified where it is before it acts…besides it is cold and shoots down global warming messages!!! What are thinking?!

  50. Amanda January 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

    Similar products have been around for at least ten years, my 14 and 13-year-olds had one when they were about three and four. We used this as their introduction to video games, I was not a big fan of TV time or video games in general but my husband grew up playing them and wanted the kids to experience the fun video games. This was our compromise. For us it was not used as an alternative to outdoor play but as a way to let them experience game video game play while still being active.

  51. EricS January 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

    Is it me, or is that’s a really small flat screen and tv stand, or is that one huge little girl? lol

  52. JTW January 18, 2017 at 11:58 pm #

    I can see how, from the perspective of the terminal helicopter parent, this makes perfect sense.
    I can even see how a child could be interested in this.

    1) It allows children to exercise and ride a bicycle without you ever having to worry about them getting hurt in the dangerous world outside your living room.
    2) This is good against the obesity epidemic. (of course your children will need plenty of red bull to give them energy to exercise too, expect “red bull junior” soon?).
    3) children are known (especially at that age) to mimmic their parents’ actions. That’s why kitchen playsets and play cars children can sit on and ride around are so popular. So if you yourself have an exercise bike in your house, putting one of these next to it for junior may well work to get junior to exercise as well.

    If I lived in a place where the streets are too dangerous for cycling, and I was a helicopter parent and/or an exercise fanatic, and I had children in the target age group, I can imagine myself being interested in such a thing.
    And if I were, my children would probably be mentally conditioned to indeed use it…

  53. BL January 19, 2017 at 5:21 am #

    @JTW
    “I can see how, from the perspective of the terminal helicopter parent, this makes perfect sense.”

    I’m always leery of the “from their own perspective” arguments. What Dylann Roof and Charles Manson did made perfect sense “from their own perspective”.

  54. Papilio January 19, 2017 at 9:47 am #

    Mweh. I can see the appeal of exercise bike + tv for adult when the weather outside is not inviting and you still need to move without getting bored. But for a toddler??

    Mya: “If you want a small stationary bike, why not just take the wheels off of any existing bikes in the home, and convert back and forth as necessary?”

    That’s what I thought! I could see trying to sell some sort of adjustable standard that you can fit an existing kid’s bike onto to make it stationary. IF you’re going to sell this concept, at least make something durable and useful, not this plastic future landfill.

    That said, being used to bikes as a mode of tranport, I find the whole concept of cycling indoors kinda weird… So I think this thing is just another argument for decent cycling infrastructure 🙂

  55. AmyP January 19, 2017 at 10:26 pm #

    I’m not outraged by this product. I think we tend to forget that kids are different. I am free range, but that includes accepting that some kids would rather be indoors. I have one daughter who plays outside all day. I have one son who just doesn’t enjoy it. Physical exercise is important to me and so I do have him get it in in other ways, like doing calisthenics alongside me or taking karate lessons. He is neither antisocial nor physically unfit. It just so happens, his interests are books, video games, and science experiments. Toys don’t keep kids indoors. Either their parents do or they do themselves. The toy in and of itself is not bad, it just depends on the interests of the child and while I do promote a physically healthy lifestyle by providing healthy meals and fun exercise, I don’t try to determine my child’s interests for them. Yes, some parents may use this as an alternative to allowing thei children desires outdoor time, but that is the parent’s fault not the toy’s. I do believe most parents would buy this because they believe the child would enjoy it.