After reading a little blurb about how Nebraska Park, a mini park in Maplewood, had installed new playground equipment with smart technology built in, I was intrigued enough to do a little research. The company providing the technology and the accompanying free app that parent’s can download, is a company out of Vancouver called, Biba.
Designed for children between the ages of 3 to 9, the idea of the app is that parents can interact with the playground to generate game ideas for their kids. Parents hold the phone at all times, but it gives challenges to children in a similar way to video games, where they can unlock levels and earn badges. It offers various levels of physical play from light warm ups and cool downs up to vigorous play.
The app gives parents metrics so they can track physical activity, while it also gathers statistics for the parks department to help it make decisions based on use of parks.
I’ve added Biba’s promotional video below:
Fifteen Twin Cities parks have purchased the interactive equipment for installation in their playgrounds. They are listed below:
The following is a lit of parks in the Twin Cities that have purchased the equipment. Biba couldn’t verify if all the equipment had been installed, only that it had been purchased. If you are worried about disappointment, you may want to visit the park without mentioning the added games until you get there and verify installation.
- Gene Kelly Park, Bloomington.
- Brye Park, Bloomington.
- Rhodes Park, Bloomington.
- Schroeder Regional Park, Annandale.
- Beebe Lake Regional Park, St. Michael.
- Rice Marsh Lake Park, Chanhassen
- Prairie View Park, Farmington.
- Wilson Park, Hastings.
- Imperial Hills Park, Plymouth.
- Bass Lake Park, St. Louis Park.
- Wolfe Park, St. Louis Park.
- Jersey Park, St. Louis Park.
- Rainbow Park, St. Louis Park.
- Lakeview Knolls Park, Woodbury.
- Nebraska Park, Maplewood.
How does it work? While we give the idea an A, we give the app a C-, but are hopeful the bugs will get worked out or it was just us. On an iPhone 7, we had troubles getting the app going. It crashed a few times and has a pop up ad that played every time we reopened. We also had issues adding profiles. The save button wouldn’t work and we finally gave up. The app will help you find the nearest playground, but not necessarily the nearest playground with the technology installed. Use the list above for that.
We would love to hear feedback when you visit these parks. Does the equipment meet your expectations? Does it stand up to wear and tear and possible vandalism? Does it hold your kids attention after a few uses?