Tag Archive | moving as a family

Zamzee, My Family, and Making Exercise Fun

By Virna McKinney

zamzee picture 108

One day last April I walked my son William to his classroom on the second floor of his school. By the time we got to the top of the stairs, we were both out of breath. In that moment I really felt like a failure as a mom. Walking to his classroom on the second floor was a struggle that William had to face five days a week, at least three times a day. I knew I needed to do something to help both of us, and that’s why I started looking for a way to make exercising fun.

I found Zamzee by doing a Google search for a child’s activity monitor. Since I had just joined Weight Watchers a few days before, I decided to get one for myself and both my kids. William was eight and Taylor was five at the time. They were both really excited to get started. When their Zamzees were fully charged, they started doing jumping jacks. My kids and I set challenges and ran in the backyard, or took walks around the block. During the summer break we spent hours in the backyard kicking and chasing the soccer ball. We also bounced on the trampoline, hula hooped, and jumped rope.

Pretty soon, Taylor joined a cheer squad and William joined a basketball team. Because they had their sports practice on two different nights of the week, I decided to take advantage of this time by walking around the track for an hour. But the surprise occurred when each child opted not to watch their sibling practice, but instead walk the track with me. Taylor didn’t actually walk. She ran. FAST. So that made me run too, to keep up with her. On one of our walks I set a challenge for William, without knowing he wasn’t wearing his Zamzee. When we got home I told him to plug it in to see if he had met the challenge. He said, “I forgot to put it on it but that’s ok. It’s not about the points anyway. I needed to walk.” That was a proud mama moment for me.

Continue reading

My Kids Before and After Zamzee

By Andrew Kardon, from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

Zamzee_FamilyI have pretty well rounded kids. They spend equal time playing Mario, Sonic, Minecraft and Plants vs. Zombies.

Yep, before I discovered Zamzee, my kids were videogame-oholics. My wife and I would occasionally drag the kids outside to play, take a walk or go for a bike ride. And every time, it was as painful as taking them to the dentist. All that whining, kicking and screaming. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to encourage them to stop hating anything that involved physical activity.

And then I introduced them to Zamzee.

This thing was apparently created for kids just like mine. They already were big fans of websites like Club Penguin, where you get to customize characters, earn points and “buy” all sorts of virtual items for your character. So when I showed my boys what Zamzee can do, they didn’t miss a beat.

“Look, daddy. I can get a dog for my guy!” Ryan said enthusiastically.

The avatars, badges and points you earn (and can spend) got both my boys hooked immediately. I swear, the first time we said we’d try it out, I never saw my kids get their shoes on so fast. Continue reading

Zamzee Home Video #1: My Avatar and Me

Zamzee’s 2013 summer interns, Tom Bartlett and Jack Wiefels, go on a magical adventure where they learn how to use Zamzee, meet a “real” avatar, and encounter the all-knowing Zed. Find out how Zamzee works in this goofy and fun home video!

How Rewards Made Physical Activity a Habit – Zamzee User Interview

Ilan earned 18,000 Zamz to get a Wii!

Ilan moved enough to earn 18,000 Zamz and get a Wii!

One of the most exciting parts about getting a new Zamzee is the realization that you can earn a free Wii or Xbox by collecting Zamz. Rewards are a crucial part of Zamzee’s game design to get kids moving. This type of extrinsic motivation inspires kids to make a behavior change and kickstarts their physical activity. As they work towards their extrinsic reward (whether it’s a small plush toy or a Wii), Zamzee fosters kids’ intrinsic motivation by making moving fun and social. The end result is kids get in the habit of being physically active. It’s an approach grounded in Deci and Ryan’s theory of behavior change and HopeLab’s research on Zamzee, which is why we know it works.

All that being said, every now and then it’s nice to meet a real user that’s benefited from Zamze. Ilan C., a Zamzee user from Greenfield Hebrew Academy, is the latest Zamzee user to receive a Wii for all his moving. We interviewed Ilan and his parents to find out just how Ilan earned a Wii, and how you can, too!

Zamzee: Hi Ilan! Congratulations on getting a Wii! Tell us, how long were you working towards earning the Wii?

Ilan: I was working toward the Wii for about 6 months.

Zamzee: Wow! That is a really long time and a LOT of moving! How did you stay active to earn enough Zamz?

Ilan: I did baseball, football and I rode my bike, took walks and ran too. My favorite activities are playing outside with my dad and riding my bike.

Zamzee: How does it feel to have earned the Wii after 6 months of moving? Continue reading

Play as Active Jazz…Riffing on Movement with Zamzee and the Play Lab

By Cameron Yick

PlayLab

The Creation of the game Freezedisk

My name is Cameron, and I’m a senior in high school. I consider myself an active individual, as I’ve tried many sports through the years (soccer, lacrosse, and even skating!). My motivation stems from genuine enjoyment of physical activity, and I’m always looking for ways to help other people find that joy as well. Last spring, I researched the various “gamification” and “fitness logger” devices, most of which appeared to be targeted at adults. Zamzee was the first solution that appeared to target children. I wondered whether it would be motivating to teenagers too. Here’s what I’ve learned after using a meter for the past few months.

1.     Encourages physical activity

The benefits of increased physical activity cannot be overstated. Most people already know they need to move more, and yet have difficulty overcoming the inertia of being sedentary in school. Zamzee might be just the “kick” you need to start a new habit. Who doesn’t like getting recognition for their work (or play)?

I obtained a Zamzee meter at the same time a classmate who shared the meter with his sibling. He was blown away at her reaction the first evening with the meter. “It was like she ate a whole pack of Skittles candy!” She was running up and down the stairs with glee, re-plugging in the meter periodically to see how many points had been accumulated.

Although I don’t always plug the meter in daily, the meter stores data for up to a week so I can catch up on the weekends. However, the daily login bonuses give me incentive to plug in the meter every day during vacation periods. Continue reading

My Kids Would Make Excellent Vampires

By Andrew Kardon from Mommy’s Busy… Go Ask Daddy

Zamzee_hiking

My kids would make excellent vampires. No, they don’t enjoy drinking blood; they just hate going outside.

Summer. Winter. Fall. Spring. Name your season and they’ll still whine and complain if you dare rip them from their cocoon and drag them outside.

My wife and I, on the other hand, love nature. Before we were married, we used to go on tons of nature walks, hiking in the woods for hours as we followed trail blaze after trail blaze. We’ve explored gorgeous (and freezing!) ice caves. We’ve even gone kayaking on the Hudson River with my parents.

Ironic then, that it’s one of nature’s cruel jokes which sees two nature lovers produce offspring that run as far away as they can from the outdoors. Yep, we love nature and hate that our kids hate it. So how are two nature-loving parents supposed to get our kids enjoying the outdoors? It’s certainly a challenge. Continue reading

What Do Kids Like About Zamzee?

We wanted to know what kids liked the best about Zamzee. Since October, over 500 Zamzee users have explained their favorite part about Zamzee by submitting a Zamzee testimonial. We analyzed these testimonials to look for themes, and here’s what we found out about why kids like Zamzee.

5. Kids like using Zamzee with their friends and family

zamzee_reviewzamzee_family

Let’s start out with the fifth most popular reason kids tell us they love Zamzee. Community. Some kids are motivated by competition. Other kids like to dance with their siblings. Either way, kids tell us that they like using Zamzee with other people, including the people they “meet” (safely) online on zamzee.com. Continue reading

10 Lessons on How to Stay Active as a Family

If your New Year’s resolution is to get your family active, take a step back before you attempt to go 100 mph forward and read the 10 most important things we learned in 2012 about moving as a family.

1.  Physical activity is more important than weight loss. Being active improves both your physical and mental health, and how your body feels is more important than how your body looks. Especially when you’re a kid.

2.  Finishing first is not the most important part of running a race. So when your video-game-loving kindergartner wants to run a one-mile race, make sure you believe in him. He’s going to finish.

kids_1_mile_race

3.  Moving doesn’t have to be serious. You can get a healthy dose of exercise while having fun playing games like ant hospital and toilet tag. Yep, those are real games. Seriously. Continue reading

Learning to Exercise for Fun: My Kids Before and After Zamzee

By Ann Greenberg

The Greenberg Girls

The Greenberg Girls

About a year ago I signed my daughters up for a 5k race and found out about a local company called Zamzee. Having spent the better part of the last 12+ years trying to keep my three darling daughters healthy and physically fit, I was intrigued by Zamzee’s claim to engage kids in a more active lifestyle. Days later, we had ourselves 3 shiny, pink meters. Unsure of what to do, I put the girls (then aged 7, 10 and 12) to work exploring the Zamzee.com website and signing up their meters. Almost instantaneously, the way my kids viewed physical activity changed…for the better.

Let me backtrack and age myself a bit first by saying I grew up in the era of riding bikes to school (helmet-free of course), playing at the local park with friends until dusk, swimming in the neighbors pool and heading home, on my own, before the street lamps went on. I didn’t play on 3 different teams year round, I didn’t watch what I ate, and I was a healthy size with little or no effort.

When I started a family of my own, I never expected to struggle to find the time and energy to keep my family healthy, fit and active. Kids today exercise in a structured and organized form. There is no walking to school for my children. Even riding bikes is an effort that usually requires loading 3+ bikes into a too small car and driving someplace remote and safe to do so. In my attempts to keep my kids active, I pull my hair out with complicated daily carpools to and from a half dozen different athletic fields, and I find myself spending hours in my car.

So when these shiny little Zamzee meters entered our world, I had no idea what I was in for.

Continue reading

How Adyson Became My Exercise Buddy

Rebecca, Abigail and Adyson with their Zamzees

Dear Zed and Team,

America’s obesity crisis is a problem that’s very personal for my family and me.

Our oldest daughter is overweight for her age. Our middle child, Adyson, is overweight as well. Adyson is 9 years old and weighs 102 pounds now, but she was 106. Our youngest daughter, who is 8, is on the opposite side of this. She can’t gain weight. As for us, I am considered to be obese. But my husband is an Army Ranger, so he stays overly active.

Last spring our pediatrician suggested that my oldest daughter attend Camp Strong4Life. At Strong4Life, kids learn about exercise, proper meal portions, and how to have fun while being active. Before the kids go, the families attend a weekend retreat to learn how they can positively support their children’s health. On the last night of the retreat, the camp director asked Adyson if she also wanted to join the summer camp. So the following Monday we were off to see our doctor, to get a physical and make sure Adyson qualified (you need a BMI of a certain level to attend). Of course, we qualified.

When the two older girls came back from camp, I was ready for us all to start a new healthy lifestyle. I had noticed that over 85-90% of the camp parents were overweight! I was so ashamed of myself. How could I be a positive role model for my girls and ask them to eat healthier and get moving if I wasn’t myself? So I made that change with them. We cleaned out the cupboards, limited what sweet treats were in the house, and replaced junk food with healthier snacks. We stayed active all summer, swimming, geocaching, and walking the Georgia trails. The girls weren’t too happy about it, but they went along with us. We didn’t give them much choice! Continue reading