A Mom’s Guide to Pokémon Go in Wichita

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In an effort to get my boys to go for a walk with me one evening last summer, I downloaded Pokémon Go on my phone. They were 6 and 8 and didn’t know very much about Pokémon, but they were excited to see what it was all about and keep searching for more Pokémon throughout our walk. None of us had any idea about how to play. We didn’t  know much to begin with, and have had a great time learning as we go!

When I told my family I was writing a post on Pokémon Go, they excitedly started telling me tips and tricks that would be helpful to progress in the game. While their tips may be very helpful to more advanced players, the focus of this post will be more geared toward basic need-to-know information. There are websites and YouTube channels dedicated to more advanced knowledge. Pokémon Go is pretty easy to figure out as you play, but it won’t be long before your child can figure out some ways to advance their Pokémon hunting skills. 

Getting Started

When you download the game on to your phone, it is completely free. You never have to spend a dime, and can have lots of fun. In order to not have to spend money to get the poké balls to throw at your targets, you need to find Poké Stops. There are Poké stops all over at public spaces. We have found Poké stops at parks, restaurants, historical markers, walking downtown, and churches.

Locally our favorite spots to hunt Pokémon is at Keeper of the Plains, walking downtown near the Farmer’s Market, and visiting the dinosaurs at Field Station:  Dinosaurs in Derby. We’ve traveled a fair amount around the State of Kansas and Oklahoma, and most tourist attractions have them too.

Once you arrive at the pokéstop, spin the wheel, and receive gifts. You may receive pokéballs, fruit, lures for Pokémon, or other items. 

You have to allow GPS tracking in order to play the game. It also will use some data and drain the battery a bit, but we have found that you can choose the low battery saver in your settings, and it will reduce the battery drain.

Catching Pokémon

When you see a Pokémon, you can choose one of three poke balls to throw at the Pokémon that you can see on the screen. They are Poké Ball, Great Ball, and Ultra Ball. Certain Pokémon are more difficult to catch, so you have to use the more valuable Great or Ultra balls. You then virtually fling the ball at the Pokémon and hope to catch it! You can use some of the fruit in order to help it to stay still or lose some of its powers to quickly run away.

Once you’ve caught it, it gets stored in the Pokédex. Most Pokémon have three different evolutions, and as they get increasingly more evolved, they become more difficult to beat during battles.

You will complete tasks along the way. Some of them require you to make friends. You can exchange your friend code with others and share gifts with them. Different Pokémon are located in every environment, so you will find certain Pokémon during rain storms, along the river, and in geographical regions.

Level Up Avancements

As you advance through the game, you will start getting new tasks to achieve, and you will get the opportunity to receive different items. Once you get to get to level 10 in Pokémon Go, you get to pick a team to be on, (Instinct-yellow, Mystic-Blue, and Valor-Red.) These teams become important as you progress in the game and battle in raids.

You can start to battle in Pokémon Gyms at level 10. Battles allow you to battle to acquire more powerful Pokémon and win coins. You can practice battling without risking losing any of your items. You can place your Pokémon in gyms as you are Pokéhunting, and you don’t have to do anything while they battle, except if you would like for it to be powered up, you can feed it fruit to keep it winning. After a battle has been completed, you will want to give it potions to help it regain strength. The more powerful the Pokémon, the better chance it has of winning battles and gaining you coins.

Hatching Eggs and Buddies

One of the fun parts of Pokémon Go is that your phone will track the distance you are walking while you are hunting. The greater the distance, the more eggs will hatch, and you will get free Pokémon to add to your collection. Also, as you advance through the game, you will be able to add a Buddy Pokémon who will gain candy that will eventually help it power up in the game. The greater the distance you walk, the more candy it receives. You can set your phone to Adventure Sync so that it will give you credit for all of the steps you take while the Pokémon Go app isn’t open and your eggs will hatch and buddies receive candy more quickly.

We have had a lot of fun on family adventures, and searching for Pokémon has added a little extra fun! My boys have been very motivated to go just a little bit further on evening walks or bike rides!

The goal of the game is simple: Gotta catch ’em all!

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Amy Foster
Amy is a lifelong Wichita-area resident, with the exception of her college and grad school years. Amy has worked as a pediatric physical therapist for a local non-profit organization during her 19 year career. She married Brett, a youth pastor turned special education teacher and coach, and can be seen supporting Andover Middle School with her two boys, aged 9 & 7, only 18 months apart! They keep her occupied in athletic activities, knee-deep in Lego's & up-to-date on superheroes. When she isn't busy momming, she likes to work out before the sun comes up!

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