A Day Out with Pokémon Go – a Mum’s Guide

Ok, so you’ve seen all the hype about the latest Pokémon Go craze and you haven’t got a clue what it’s all about? I’d like to say “Let me enlighten you” but I feel that would be a little strong as I am far from enlightened myself! Instead, let me tell you what I have learned so far, so you have more than a passing chance of understanding what your 8 year old is going on about! 


Top Trumps and Geocaching

Pokémon Go is a bit like a cross between Top Trumps and Geocaching (or a good old fashioned Treasure Hunt). I’ll give a more detailed description below, but the basics are that you roam the country looking to catch Pokémon (cute little cartoon critters). Each Pokémon has different strengths and stats just like Top Trumps and there is kudos in catching rare ones. It’s far more interactive than Top Trumps though as you actively seek them and can find them literally anywhere. They centre on areas of interest so it’s a great excuse to get your computer games loving child into the fresh air to visit new places with the promise of ‘catching them all’.


Family Day Out

I think it will make a fun and different day out, especially if you can take more than one phone or tablet each. You will all see the same Pokémon in the same location and can all catch it. I can just imagine the meltdown if Miss H caught it before Master T got chance! If you are like us with old phones lying around but no sims, consider buying a PAYG sim for the summer, or make your phone into a hotspot that the children can connect to and then they don’t need their own sims.


Doesn’t sound too bad so far? For greater detail read on. Don’t be put off if it all sounds a bit complicated though, just download it and give it a go!

It’s Free!

Ok, firstly, it is an app that you download to your phone. It is free to download, but inside the app there is a ‘shop’ where you can buy various thing within the game. Make sure any purchases need a password to complete. You can check if yours does by trying to buy an item (pick the cheapest just in case!) and see if it asks you for your password – if it does, all is good!). In my playing so far I have not needed to buy anything.


You can sign in with your Google account or create a special account just for the game. When you first sign in you can set up your avatar (basically the little character that runs around on screen for you). Then you will be taken to a screen that is a little like Google Maps, showing where you are and where the Pokémon are in relation to you. If you live in the country like me, you will see very little, if you are in a town like York, it is teeming with Pokémon, Pokestops and Pokegyms (Pokewhats!? I’ll get to it – try not to get bogged down in the detail or you will switch off!).


Catch the Pokémon

If there is a Pokémon in your immediate vicinity (and there will be the very first time you login) then tap it on your screen and you will see the screen change to show your surroundings on the screen (through your camera lens) and also your first Pokémon! (This is what they are talking about when they talk about ‘Augmented Reality’).

From this screen you can take a picture of your Pokémon to later upload and annoy/invite derision from your friends on Facebook. You can also – and this is the main point I suppose – Catch the Pokémon! You do this by throwing a Pokeball at him – put your finger on the ball, wait until there is a circle around the little beastie and sort of flick the ball. Have a play, you’ll get the idea.


If you are somewhere fairly populated (and not in the darkest depths of rural East Yorkshire) then you should also be able to see floating blue cubes on the map screen. Go ahead, click on one. These are called Pokestops and can usually be found at places of interest, Village Halls, Churches, Community Centres etc, you get the idea. When you are close enough you can check in at a Pokestop and collect goodies like more Pokeballs, Potions and Eggs. Don’t worry about what these are, just collect them for now as they’ll be useful later on.

By catching Pokémon and visiting Pokestops, you will gradually move up levels and be able to train your Pokémon in a Pokegym.  More importantly, you can make it into a game the whole family has fun with.

I say give it a go, the summer holidays are upon us and this is a great reason to get up and go outside. Take a picnic and go on a Pokémon hunt!