Do we have a Champion of the Playground in our midst?

My kitchen, hall and sitting room have become a training ground for digi-kick and digi-skip battlers.

Do we have a Champion of the Playground in our midst?

A package arriving here is always the subject of great excitement, usually followed by disappointment when the contents are revealed to be something as dull as the latest book for my book group or some new school trousers. However, this time the excitement persisted a little longer.

“What is it?” asked my nine-year-old.

“Um. It’s to practice your skills. To see how well you can do compared to your friends,” I explained as the brand new Fruitshoot digi-kick and digi-skip were unpacked.

“Oh. Look. It’s keepy-uppy,” he was already dropping the beanbag ball on his foot. The digi-kick is a soft bean-filled ball with a counter in the middle. It records the number of continuous bounces. You can use the result to record your own top score or join in the fun and games on the fruitshoot.com website.

But there’s far more to it than just bouncy, bouncy on your feet. Oh yes. I showed my son the video of the kid doing the tricks and you could almost hear the penny dropping. “Show me that bit again.”

He was transfixed by the clever stuff – foot and neck traps, around the world, clever flicks and very cool routines. Then the other members of the household saw what he was up to and all wanted a go – now we’ve got a timer and a rota in place!

I’m delighted because the soft beanbag means I am reasonably relaxed about it being used in the house – just as well when you look at the rain teeming down the window, once again.

The digi-skip had been set aside without much of a second glance until my son’s friend Little G came to visit. “Can I?” she asked disappearing outside in something of a hurry. For once the skies were clear and the action was outside.

The digi-skip has a counter in the handle to record the number of revolutions of the rope. The figures can be used so you know when you’ve beaten your own record or to join in online.

Little G is a bit of a whiz with a skipping rope and was happy to have a go at some of the clever stuff – crossovers, skipping sideways and the double under. I don’t remember a double under from my skipping days, but if you jump high enough and turn the rope fast enough you can get it to go under your feet twice before you bounce again. It’s nothing like as easy as the girl in the video makes it look. I had a sneaky go when no one was looking. It’s a bit like riding a bike, but riding a bike seems to have got a bit more difficult too!

Cathy at Nurturestore
is passionate about getting children playing and she reckons it’s a good thing. She said: “Fruitshoot.com lets you get active by playing a variety of skills based games and watching skills based videos, picking up tips so you can become the Champion of the Playground. Instead of just being played with the keyboard the games can be linked up to the webcam on your computer so the children have to trampoline and play dodgeball along with the game – great for indoor exercise on a rainy day.”

I'd ask my kids and their friends for their thoughts on the digi-kick and digi-skip, only I can't find them. They're too busy playing.


Giving it a go

You can help your kids get started by buying a Mini-Skills Kit, available exclusively from Ready for Ten. To be in with a chance of winning one of 100 Skills Kits each day, you can enter the official Fruit Shoot competition at fruitshoot.com.

The two versions of Mini-Skills Kits available to buy on Ready for Ten include the following:

  • 1 x Digi-Skip and 1 x Champion of the Playground drawstring Kit Bag; or
  • 1 x Digi-Kick and 1 x Champion of the Playground drawstring Kit Bag

Both the Digi-Skip and Digi-Kick let the player count the number of consecutive skips/kicks a child successfully completes. The unit will then display a unique code that will be converted into points on an individual’s Champion of the Playground player profile, which can be created at fruitshoot.com.

Kids can also compete to win new accessories for their own personal avatar, and send virtual versions of their profiles to friends both online and in the playground.

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