Little Tikes has a new product for children between the ages of three to seven years old, inspired by Peloton, the maker of the popular stationary bikes that raked millions of sales during the pandemic. However, child development experts aren't enthusiastic about this innovative product.
The Pelican, which came out in the market in July 2021, has been designed like a Peloton stationary bike complete with a viewing video screen for simulating an outdoor setting. Little Tikes' product development head, Kevin Bloomfield, said that they came up with a stationary bike for the children so they could also exercise at home with their parents.
In an interview with CNN Business, Bloomfield said that they aimed for Pelican to promote an active lifestyle for the kids so parents won't be "the only ones having the fun" on their stationary bikes. However, some child development experts are voicing their objection to the Pelican as a "step backward" for the children.
It's Not Biking in the Real World
The Pelican has kid-friendly features like adjustable handlebars and seating with tilting action. Its built-in screen directs kids to the YouTube channel of Little Tikes, where there are virtual training videos for biking.
The children could also choose to ride their bicycles in various environments like snowy mountains or farmlands, where they could meet virtual friends, including a dinosaur. Some of the videos also provide a learning opportunity or study session to learn the alphabet or numbers.
Lenore Skenazy, who runs the children's non-profit Let Grow, said that a stationary bike with a simulated viewing screen does not put kids in a real-world, where they could use their legs to pedal the bike around the neighborhood and build their skills as they interact outdoors. Skenazy added that although kids could burn calories using the Pelican, they won't have opportunities to encounter neighbors to improve their social skills, or interact with dogs, or overcome actual challenges in bike paths to sharpen their ability to solve problems.
Roberta Golinkoff, a professor of child development at the University of Delaware, felt that the Pelican is a bogus product that young children will not be prompted to use after a few months. However, Jason Boye, a children's psychologist from the Healthy Weight and Wellness Clinic in Delaware, said that it could help promote quality time with the family, especially if the children and the parents ride the stationary bikes together as a habit.
Hottest Christmas Gift for Kids
Bloomfield said that they didn't create the stationary bike to replace actual outdoor biking. However, with the current restrictions due to the pandemic, Little Tikes wants to give the kids a "safe and engaging" option to experience what their parents experience when exercising on the Peloton.
Despite the criticisms, the Pelican is one of this year's hottest toys to gift to kids for Christmas. With a price tag of less than $160.00, some parents think it's a wise investment. It does not just promote activity as children may also develop their confidence in riding a bike using the Pelican, similar to bikes with training wheels.
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