Want to teach your kids basic navigation and map reading skills? What about a love of daily strolls around the neighborhood or even just get them excited about any errand? Maybe you just need one more way to get them to go play in the yard? Well then you’ll probably want to download the new, highly popular (and FREE) game app Pokemon GO, if you haven’t already. Based on the old card and video games many of us had growing up, you can “catch” Pikachu, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and all your old after school cartoon favorites. You can meet up with other players to battle at a “gym” as well. You can even join a local Facebook group for pointers.
How does Pokemon Go work?
The premise is fairly basic. You walk around with the app on and Pokemon (pocket monster for those not in the know) randomly pop up on screen. You can then throw pokeballs at them to capture them by dragging the ball towards them on your touch screen. This is where the crazy pictures you’ve seen online are coming from (but my phone’s AR mode never seems to work sadly). You can power up or evolve the various Pokemon into stronger forms; “transferring” excess pokemon will give you more “candies” to develop the ones you keep.
Once you’ve reached level five, you can battle at gyms after joining either Team Mystic, Instinct or Valor. My five year old chose without even telling us, so yay Team Valor! Luckily the game isn’t cut-throat competitive so you can still progress and enjoy it even if say, your two year old, uses all the stardust you’ve been saving. You can buy extra supplies with coins earned from gyms or purchased with real money and get lures, incense, et cetera to attract more Pokemon or otherwise improve your game. You can also hatch eggs with incubators but this can require walking up to 10K! If you’ve ever wanted to explore the Swamp Rabbit Trail, this would be good motivation!
Even if you can’t yet or don’t want to go to Poke-gyms, you can find various “poke-stops” all around town, most of which are Google points of interest. They both appear as blue pillars on the screens. When you are near one (even if just in your car) you can spin them to give you supplies like extra pokeballs and eggs. Pokestops can be various landmarks like say Haywood Mall or even just someone’s random “dog with basket” statue in their driveway. Many Chick-Fil-A’s have one so we find ourselves often turning into their parking lot. However never play while driving and always be alert. You can pull over or back track if needed to a Pokestop. They’re not going to disappear. My kids can play while I drive but under strict instructions not to distract me in traffic.
If you’re walking when playing be sure to stay alert, stop in a safe spot to check your phone and look both ways before crossing streets. Seek out sidewalks or walking trails as to be more pedestrian friendly. There are some great spots to play like Pittman Park (two pokestops) or Mauldin Cultural Center (many pokestops and two gyms). Pokeman makes life into a big scavenger hunt so have fun and be safe!
Is your family playing Pokemon Go yet?