Four years ago, if you’d told me that I would love kids toys that made noise, I would have laughed at you. A lot.
I’ve been known to change my mind and I did just that after The Kids received a VTech phone, talking chair and computer for their first birthday.
I was so impressed with their interactive learning that I added a few more toys to their collection. That’s saying a lot.
So we were thrilled when we had the chance to review three of VTech Canada’s latest Interactive Learning Toys for Kids.
Initially, The Kids were cautious. Perhaps it was the lights, sounds, movements or maybe the fact that the dinosaur was quite big and real for a four year old. But once they figured it out (even before I got through the instructions), it was interesting to see how they each interacted.
Max is a doer who loves noise so he found the crane, drill launch and transformation from truck to dinosaur amazing. Artemis is a thinker so she enjoyed the interactive LCD screen and listening to the random dinosaur facts. They sure generated a lot of great questions!
DINOSAUR POWER rings out 3,548,321 times a day!
I found that the voice recognition function was hit and miss, even for me. However, The Kids didn’t mind too much as their preference was to use the manual buttons. I’ll try some new batteries and see how it goes. Unfortunately, even with instructions, it was difficult for me transform the truck into a dinosaur (although it was easier the other way around!?). However, there were a few steps that Max could help me with (releasing catches, flipping up the tail).
This toy is recommended for ages 3-8 and I can see it working well with kids five and older. Especially those with stronger voices and better pronunciation. Or perhaps one of the other 15 different dinosaurs such as one that transforms into a helicopter would work.
Overall, I give it a 7 out of 10 for four year olds.
Up next was the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset.
The Kids love for train sets is well documented so I knew that this wouldn’t be a hard sell. They were challenged by all the different track configurations and I appreciated the track suggestion insert. Max loved all the audio functions including the music and Artemis loved to manually help the train get up the bridge. This toy is recommended for ages 1-5, however, I can see older kids enjoying it as well.
Go! Go! Smart Wheels playsets come with different track shapes that let you reconfigure the playset. They also include SmartPoint™ technology that recognizes and responds to SmartPoint vehicles with sound effects that keep little ones engaged by boosting imaginative play, teaching cause and effect and other important learning skills.
It was great watching The Kids interact with each other as well as the toy. Trying to problem solve which pieces would fit where to create the track that they wanted.
Overall, I give it a 10 out of 10 for four year olds.
Last but not least was the Innotab3 Tablet. The Kids have had a VTech Computer for the past three years and they play on it every day. However, it is nothing like the Innotab 3.
Even at only 4.3″ wide, this tablet has a touch and swipe screen and can be used horizontally and vertically. Within minutes, Artemis was using the E-reader and Creativity app. Both are her favourite and are included with the free cartridge. Note that additional games can be purchased for as low as $2.99 and cover the following areas; Reading, Science, Creativity, Math, Language Arts, Social Studies and Problem Solving.
The list of things this tablet can do is long; Video recorder and camera with photo effects, E-reader and story dictionary, Games, MP3 Player, Clock, Calendar, Friends List (of which Artemis has added many cats and bears), Calculator and more. It is compatible with an AC adapter, earphone jack and 2GB of on-board memory with the ability to expand further.
A few things that I didn’t like; the stylist tether was located in a spot that made it difficult for left handed kids like Max, there is a delay in moving from function to function so the kids were needlessly tapping the screen and I didn’t find the downloading of apps from Learning Lodge to be intuitive (however, I think that the Progress Log will be useful).
This tablet is recommended for ages 3-9 and I can see how it would be appropriate for that age group and older. Personally, I found the Notes app very useful.
Overall, I give it a 8 out of 10 for four year olds.
As a whole, I was impressed with the products available from VTech Canada. While they were made mostly of plastic, they stand by their products and provide a warranty (from 90 days to 1 year) and all the necessary batteries to get you started. Even in a short period of time, the kids motor skill development (tablet keypad), imaginative play and ability to keep them engaged was impressive. So much so that I was able to write this post while they played.
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The Zoo gives VTech Canada products Two Thumbs Up!
Journeys of The Zoo received compensation in exchange for sharing about this company.