Gamification + Kids Chores = I’m in

I’m a big fan of the power of gamification in the real world. I’m not talking about the gamification that you might do on a website, which can work but no one has seemed to crack the code on. I’m talking about gaming integrated with our daily lives.

Think I’m crazy? Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean. A few examples from it:

  • Your tooth brush knows how long you brush your teeth, and when you hit 3 minutes you get points which you can use to lower your insurance costs because, tada, you take better care of your teeth
  • You get 15 points for taking the bus instead of your car in to work, which you can use to lower your taxes because you’re helping the environment

See what I mean?

In TechCrunch’s recap of the 500 Startups Demo Day (I so wish I had been there), they talk about seven startups they liked the most. In it, they highlight HighScore House. Simply put, HighScore House does this:

You and your children decide on a set of tasks, like walking the dog or mowing the lawn, and rewards, like an extra hour of TV time or a new game. Then as your children complete the tasks, they earn points that they can redeem for the rewards.

I love this. My oldest are boys, seven and five, and are big into games on the wii and iPad. Many of these games require them to collect coins and/or build up points. I’m looking forward to seeing if my kids are more excited about their chores once we’ve set up HighScore House together. (fingers crossed)

I think we’re going to see more of these types of gamification startups affecting our real lives. I can already imagine one that ties into your house and gives you points for turning lights off and using less energy. In fact we’ve already seen this happening in cars, tracking how fuel efficient you are with your driving, allowing you to go online and use the points for prizes. Win-win.