New Tech for the New Year

Get Active With Apps

Take your playground game to a new level with free apps from Biba, headquartered in San Francisco and Vancouver. Kids complete challenges by using playground equipment in obstacle courses, treasure hunts and more.

While the games can be played anywhere, they work best at special Biba-activated playgrounds. There are locations in Union City, Rohnert Park and Fairfield. (Find them on the Biba Play Tracker App.) FREE.

Keep Kids Healthy

Stay on top of your child’s health with Kiddo, a wearable wellness and activity tracker for kids ages 3 to 8 from San Francisco’s Good Parents, Inc. Looking like a cute watch with interchangeable covers, Kiddo tracks vital signs including heart rate, skin temperature, perspiration and activity. An accompanying app can alert you if it appears your child is getting sick, sleeping poorly and more. Parents can set goals for healthy habits, and built-in games encourage activity. Pre-order at $99. 

Learn a Language

Kids can learn a second language from the comfort of their own home with online sessions from Palo Alto-based Panda Tree. The website pairs one-on-one video tutoring by a native speaker with games, songs and more. Parents receive email updates and can watch recordings of the sessions. The company was founded by a former eBay executive who was seeking Mandarin practice for her daughters. It also offers Spanish. From $19 per 25-minute session.

Build Resilience

In Shadow’s Edge, players help revive a devastated city through journaling and creative expression with virtual graffiti. But this mobile game has a more serious goal: promoting resilience in teens with serious health challenges by allowing them to express their feelings and heal emotionally. The game is an outgrowth of a journal for teens created by Bay Area philanthropist Sherri Sobrato Brisson, a brain tumor survivor who founded the Digging Deep Project to help seriously ill young people and their families. FREE.

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