For parents not yet familiar with the app, Pokémon GO is a free augmented reality game for mobile phones. Relying on a smartphone’s built-in GPS system, the game encourages players to visit real-world places in search of virtual items or creatures. Items tend to appear around cultural landmarks, where players have to physically go to get the goods.
Whether your kid's already a pro at the game or just starting out, there are plenty of ways to slip in some learning while he or she plays. Check out these five tips.
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Learn about the geography of your state.
Have your child create a Pokémon-themed board game with a National Geographic printable tabletop map of your state. Since Pokémon GO goodies are often placed at significant landmarks, use this opportunity to study iconic spots in your state.
Stretch your kid's mapping skills.
Using Google Maps alongside the Pokémon GO app, view the area around your home. Ask your child to draw a map with the walking route he or she would like to take to visit the most nearby Poké Stops, where players can collect virtual items.
Practice the metric system.
Pokémon GO measures distance in kilometers. This is particularly relevant for eggs, which players sometimes pick up at Poké Stops. Before they can hatch, eggs need to be incubated until the player walks a certain distance (in kilometers). Once your child's played the game enough to snatch up a few eggs, task him or her with converting the hatching distances to miles.
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Discover real animals with #PokeBlitz.
Because the game is played in the real world, many Pokémon GO players are stumbling upon real-life animals. An entomologist recently launched the hashtag #PokeBlitz to help Pokémon players identify the creatures they find in the wild. Challenge your child to photograph as many real-life animals as possible, then using your Twitter account, post your child's photos with the tag #PokeBlitz.
Cultivate a journalist’s curiosity.
Safely—and with your supervision—let your kid journalist get the scoop. Visit any popular location in your city and you’re likely to find at least a few players. Encourage your child to interview them about themselves and their interest in the game.