US fitness guru Richard Simmons has helped Mattel-owned Fisher-Price to create the Smart Cycle for pre-schoolers. This is an indoors stationary bike that connects to a TV but only plays when the tot pedals. It's hoped Smart Cycle – introduced at a US toy fair last week – will help combat childhood obesity.

Fisher-Price creates pedal-to-play bike

Such pedal-to-play products are not new. CatEye used to have one called GameBike and a Texas company introduced GamerCycle in 2005. See this story.

But Smart Cycle is the first pedal-to-play product for tots.

US fitness expert Richard Simmons said:

"It is important to recognise that America’s children are overweight and out of shape. I have made it my personal crusade to bring physical fitness back into the lives of our children. By partnering with Fisher-Price, we’re able to bring attention to this growing problem and perhaps take a few minutes to lay the groundwork for a better, healthier lifestyle for our children."

According to the American Heart Association, 12 million children in the United States between the ages of 2 to 19 are overweight. An additional 12 million are at risk of being overweight.

The Fisher-Price Smart Cycle is a stationary bike that plugs into TV A/V jacks. Tots pedal and steer, playing TV games as they go.

The Smart Cycle comes with one software title, Learning Adventure, which includes three ways to play and learn: Driving, Learning Arcade Games and The Big Race. In the driving mode, kids learn academic skills while pedalling through fun environments. In the Learning Arcade Games, kids can use the joy stick to play games while learning letters, numbers, shapes, colours, spelling, problem solving and more. In the Big Race, kids can time themselves and race against other vehicles on the TV or against a friend. Additional software includes Dora’s Friendship Adventure, Sponge Bob’s Ocean Adventure, Hot Wheels, Barbie Fairytopia, Diego’s Animal Rescue and Discover the Dinosaurs.

The Smart Cycle will retail for $99.99, is appropriate for ages three to six years old and will be available in July.

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