Picoo: Combine Screen-Free Gaming and Physical Activity In Your Classroom

In recent years, screens and computers have become critical components in the early childhood classroom. With so much emphasis on technology as a means of learning, many educators fear that the increase in screen time and passive, sedentary activities could negatively impact the education of young children.   

The worry over screen time and sedentary activities is valid, but not all classroom technology requires children to sit while they play. 

At Kaplan, we believe that when children play, they learn. The way children play today may not look the same as it did 50 years ago when we made our grand debut, which is why we listen closely to early childhood experts and current developmental research to manufacture and deliver high-quality play materials and classroom technology. By doing so, we are helping educators create educational experiences that support modern-day advances and the new ways children learn through play. 

One such piece of technology that is making waves in early childhood classrooms is Picoo. With this interactive gaming console, children can learn while being active and enjoy the perks of gaming without a screen. What is Picoo? How can early childhood educators use it inside and outside of the classroom? Does Picoo foster inclusive play for children of all abilities? 

This article answers those questions and more, so keep reading to discover how Picoo promotes positive and inclusive learning experiences for children ages four and up.

What is Picoo?

Picoo is a gaming console that combines the thrill of active play with innovative technology. This interactive gaming system allows children to play games and activities that improve their social, emotional, cognitive, and motor development. The best part is that these games require no screen while playing! 

The 15 included Picoo games and activities perfectly enrich classroom lessons and outdoor playtime. Currently, the Picoo gaming console consists of 12 controllers, a charging station, activity cards, Smartsleeves, an instruction manual, and a compact carrying case. 

How does gameplay work with Picoo?

Children can play Picoo's games individually or in groups using the accompanying controllers. For team games, the Picoo console will automatically create teams so that no child experiences feelings of being left out or being the "last one chosen."

To start a game, give all actively participating children and/or adults one of the Picoo controllers. Touch the bottom of one controller to the activity card you wish to play to sync all active controllers and initiate gameplay. Once the game begins, the active controllers will use flashing lights, sounds, and vibrations to alert players to the progression of the game and any actions they should take. 

The Picoo games are typically fast-paced, and children can complete them in a matter of minutes. Once a Picoo game ends, you can either restart a new round or choose from one of the other activity cards to enjoy something new. 

An image of children playing with the Picoo gaming console.
What types of games are available on Picoo?

Your Picoo gaming console allows you to play a variety of games. Zombie Run and Traffic Light are great ways to encourage gross motor skills and collaborative play. Sequence and Kaleidoscope are two tabletop games children can play to improve their literacy, math, and cognitive skills. 

The Picoo developers are constantly adding new activities and games to the console, so you never have to worry about playtime feeling boring or repetitive. 

Without the need for screens, where you choose to use Picoo is all up to you. Games that involve running, walking, and physical activity are great for outdoor play, especially if the weather is favorable. Games that use Picoo activity cards are a good option for outdoor and classroom instructional time. This can include large group lessons or small group learning time. No matter how you choose to play, all of the Picoo games improve young children's social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development

What if you want to create your own Picoo games that align with weekly themes or the educational needs of children in your classroom? With Picoo Smartsleeves, you can! Each kit includes 24 Smartsleeves that allow you to create your own activity cards, providing even more opportunities for learning through play. 

Who is Picoo for?

This interactive game console is appropriate for children ages four and up. It makes a great addition to early childhood classrooms, after-school programs, elementary schools, and in-home child care facilities.

How does Picoo foster inclusive play?

The Picoo game console has many features that facilitate inclusive play. Some of the included games have an optional play mode that assists children with visual impairments as they play. Flashing lights and vibrations on each controller give cues to children with hearing difficulties that help them with gameplay. Another key feature is that each activity is meant to be "no-contact" to alleviate any issues for children with sensory processing disorders or those averse to touch. 

Do you need special software or an internet connection to use Picoo?

Not at all. The Picoo controllers communicate with each other using their own network, which means you do not need a WiFi or GPS connection to play. 

What is the playing range for the Picoo console and controllers?

The signal range for a single Picoo controller is around 160 feet. As long as one controller is within 160 feet of another controller, gameplay can continue in a field as large as the number of participating controllers. For example, three Picoo controllers could play on a field approximately 480 feet without losing the connection (160 feet x 3 controllers = 480 feet).  

The maximum amount of playing space we recommend is 3000 square yards.

An image of the Picoo gaming console kit, charging dock, user manual, and gaming cards.
What is the charging time and battery life of a Picoo controller?

The included Picoo charging dock can fully charge all 12 controllers in about four hours with an empty battery. The battery life per controller varies depending on the game you play. However, you can expect three to four continuous hours of play out of one fully charged controller. 

What are educators saying about Picoo?

We brought Picoo to the 2023 NAEYC Annual Conference to let educators and other early childhood professionals try it out in person. Here is what they thought of this interactive gaming console. 

"Too many children are obsessed with screens! It's nice to have technology that isn't based on screens, and the way Picoo incorporates physical activity is a beneficial application of technology appropriate for the classroom.

MichaelNAEYC 2023 Conference Attendee


"I like the way Picoo integrates technology and physical education. I think this integration has multiple beneficial aspects for the classroom. Picoo teaches you to listen and apply what you hear to the activities." 

TerriNAEYC 2023 Conference Attendee


"Children don't need screens to learn. With Picoo, children can learn color recognition and how to get along with others - it promotes social and emotional development really well."

MontreiaNAEYC 2023 Conference Attendee



How can you purchase Picoo for your classroom?

Now that you have a better idea of Picoo, the types of games children can play with it, and how it fosters inclusive play, you may be wondering how to purchase this interactive gaming console for your classroom. The Kaplan Technology team would love to answer any remaining questions you have and help you decide if this classroom technology is the best option for you. 

Visit our website to speak with a member of the Kaplan Technology team or request an in-person demonstration of the Picoo in your classroom. 

Request a demo. Schedule a private demonstration so you can see all that the Picoo has to offer the children in your care. Contact us