Aside from sleeping and breathing, nothing comes quite as naturally to a child as engaging in play. The benefits of play range from strengthening problem-solving, cognitive skills, social development, and adaptability.
While the act of play has remained constant throughout the years, the way children engage with play continues to evolve as a result of the advances in technology that impact our day-to-day lives.
Let's take a look at a few emerging technologies and their potential applications to how children play and interact with the world around them.
With the 2016 release of Pokemon Go, the health benefits of augmented reality and geo-location services in apps became apparent. Studies based on user reports found that the game increased the number of people who walked over 10,000 steps a day from 15% to 28%. Another study showed that playing Pokemon Go raised physical activity by about 50 minutes per week and reduced sedentary behaviour by 30 minutes a day.
There are many practical, wellness-focused applications that AR games and products could bring to today's youth. Municipalities could utilize it to create digital playgrounds and deliver information about physical locations. For example, an AR application could be used to create a scavenger hunt that families can enjoy together on hiking trails - encouraging the whole family to get out and be active while participating in a fun and educational activity together.
AI has been integrated into all kinds of digital products to date. As more and more products join the Internet of Things (IoT), we will see more toys enter the IoT and incorporate deep machine learning to create more tailored play and learning experiences. Machine learning can be utilized to deliver personalized experiences from learning solutions based on a child's unique learning style to custom gaming experiences that modify the level of challenge and content based on the player’s abilities.
Virtual Reality has the capability of bringing thousands of people together in one space without anyone having to leave their home. With virtual reality, both kids and adults could log into a virtual classroom to attend a seminar, lesson or workshop, all from the comfort of their homes and while still being able to interact with their classmates and teachers.