Yes, we have gotten into the new craze…Pokémon Go. Before you throw stones and tell me how it was started with evil intent and Christians shouldn’t be spending time on such terrible things, let me fill you in.
I have been looking for things to do with my 3 youngest boys that don’t involve yard work (which we do a lot of) or home repair (it never ends) or school (being the mom and the teacher has its challenges). I wanted to do something they would enjoy, but didn’t cost much and we could build memories with. And since lately I have been seeing this Pokémon game being discussed all over the interwebs, I downloaded the app. Of course, because I am old I didn’t understand anything about it, I had to ask my 15 year old to look at it with me and that was the end of that. He took over and his 2 younger brothers gathered around him like moths to a flame.
After we got it set up and started it became obvious that it wasn’t something we could do at home. Living in the country means no PokeStops or Pokémon to catch. You have to go where the people are. You have to be active. So I suggested we go for a drive and see how it all works. For the next hour and a half we explored our town and met some interesting young people. And that’s when I fell in love with the game.
I wasn’t actually playing, I was just driving my boys around as they took turn catching and colleting. And I had such a fab time with them! Here’s why I am all for the game and why we will keep playing….
- We do it together. It depends on how you play, but since we were all working off of one phone it became a group activity. They take turns and help each other find things. They tell me where to go and when to turn and I enjoy being led by my little men. They get excited together and we have plans to do it as often as possible.
- We explore our town. The PokeStops are places like monuments, murals, churches and city buildings. We walk around and learn about our town and places we had never really noticed. It is such fun to find out more about the place we live!
- Historical markers! Some places we have to go are the local historical Markers. I told the boys that any marker we stop at to get Pokémon we also have to actually READ the marker and discuss it. We decided to do some more studying later about some of these incredible historical spots!
- Meeting new people. We meet a lot of new people! I will chat with other Pokémon players while the boys look for Pokémon and I really enjoy meeting some people I would otherwise never have met. I don’t care if they are a group of young men drinking beer while playing Pokémon or moms with their kids or teen girls with all colors of hairstyles. It is such a blessing to interact with them, ask for their advice on playing the game and get to know a little about them. Everyone has been friendly and I hope I will get to see them again!
- Adding a new dimension to our travel. My boys kept talking about how fun it will be to look for Pokémon when we go to Universal Studios in September. Or the airport. Or when visiting their sister in Dallas. I can see that we will get to explore new things about these places too, things we would never have discovered otherwise.
- Believe it or not, exercise! There’s one part of the game where you get rewards for walking….actually walking (or running would work too, but you can’t drive or ride). So we are going for walks and talking about life while our steps work in the game. LOVE!
I know there are bad things about this game. People getting hurt or being careless. There is probably some wicked intent with the whole Pokémon thing that I am unaware of and, frankly, not worried about. I do have some requirements that I added to the game to make it family friendly and as long as we stick to those I think it will be a great way for me to spend time with my boys.
- We do it together only. No one will be going off to play alone and they have to take turns. Once someone catches a Pokémon and goes to a Poke Stop they hand the phone to the next person. Their turns can vary in length and style, so you have to be patient and a bit selfless. If your kids aren’t good at this, it’s a perfect way to teach this concept.
- Be careful, for goodness sake! Really, I can see how someone would just step into the street or if you were driving and doing it, man it’s dangerous. Even though I am not looking at the game at all when I am driving, the boys shout out directions to me like, “Turn left NOW” as I am driving in the right lane. They’re excited and I can’t see what’s happening in the game so it gets hairy. Just keep your wits, remember what’s most important (staying safe, that’s what) and you’ll be fine.
- We have to look around and not just at the phone. Anytime we are in a spot that is interesting (which is almost everywhere) I take the phone from them and we look around. We talk about the area, what happens there, why we think it is a PokeStop, etc. Like I said above, we read all historical markers and study the murals and statues. There is some amazing stuff out there!
- Talk to people. If we see anyone else playing where we are, the rule is that one of us has to say hello to them and ask them one question, either Pokémon advice or something about themselves. Smile, be friendly, get to know someone, and shine the love of Christ to others. This is my favorite of all the rules we made.
- No getting obsessed. We are an obsessive bunch around here. We get overly attached to things and can let it control our minds. We do a lot of Bible memory and make it a habit to focus on what is good, and true and pure. So when my mom-radar detects a kid getting overly consumed with something that is just fluff and not valuable to their life, I nip it fast. The boys have been told in no uncertain terms, if they talk too much about Pokémon, or seem like they’ve gotten carried away with it we will stop. Nada. No mo.
- No spending money! There is no way I am going to spend any money on in app purchases no matter what….we won’t be doing that. I don’t care if the world’s rarest Pokémon treasure is within our reach if we would only spend 99¢, I’m not doing it. Got it? Not my money, not their money, NO money will be spent on this game.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am really enjoying this. It’s not just another video game that my boys play and I know little to nothing about. This is something I can do with them and I have at least a clue what the different parts are and what they’re talking about (although I will never understand it all). I love listening to them in the backseat strategizing and sharing their victories with each other. It’s a delight to play this game with my boys and have something we do together.
When I run into town I invite one of the boys to go so they can play alone for a few minutes. I’ll run my errand then spend 10 minutes or so looking for Pokémon at their direction. This morning my youngest son and I discovered a park that we didn’t know was there and made plans to go back and play on the playground there when it gets cooler.
If you’ve been on the fence about this or have decided it’s a bad thing to stay away from, I hope you will consider trying it. Just stick closely to the boundaries you create for it and you’ll have grand time!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram where, of course, I don’t share any Pokémon pictures because I don’t have access to my phone/camera when we are playing….which….if you think about it is another plus. No one is doing anything except playing and enjoying the outdoors. But I do share other fun stuff there….. 😉
And if you have any other Pokémon tips we would love to hear them. Hop over to Facebook and tell us all about it!
If you liked this, you will also like my Mom’s Guide to Universal Studios —>