While coffee is fast overtaking as the nation’s favourite hot beverage, let us not forget the old favourite and style of tea drinking.
With all the necessary tasks about the home completed, it is time to sit back and enjoy the traditional English tea party. And what better way to indulge this important act with younger family members than with the Musical Rainbow Tea Party product. As part of the Leapfrog “learn as you play” range of products, the Musical Rainbow Tae Party is targeted at the 1 – 3 years age group but I am sure they will not mind older members of the family taking part.
Described as the exciting Tick Tock, beat the clock challenge, this Leapfrog product is aimed at the 3 – 6 year age group.
Leaping Letters from Leapfrog is an alphabet game that is aimed at the 3 – 6 age group. The product has been designed to cover the core learning skills of the Alphabet, matching skills and fine motor skills. The Leaping Letters product consists of 29 game pieces. Central to this game, based on alphabet letters, is a plastic 3D tray element.
Having purchased a LeapFrog tablet for your child, you might be interested in card sets designed for use with the LeapPad tablet.
Adding to its portfolio of apps for its LeapPad range of tablet devices for young children, LeapFrog has developed its Imagicard products. Currently there are three titles making up this series. These offerings are entitled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Letter Factory Adventure and Paw Patrol – To the Rescue.
Designed specifically for young children, the LeapPad takes a walled-garden approach to the access and content available to its users.
As the combination that makes up its title of LeapPad and Platinum might indicate, this particular LeapFrog product is the company’s top-of-the-range tablet aimed at the younger members of the family. In fact LeapFrog has pitched this tablet, with its collection of facilities that include WiFi connectivity, built-in stylus, front and rear cameras and a rechargeable battery, at the 3 – 9 year age group.
A battery powered scooter as sold by Halfords in the UK was for me anyway the most interesting thing I viewed at the Halfords Christmas Show held in London in September, so I asked to see one and this is what I was sent to review.
It should be easy to assemble using the supplied Allen Key and a mid-sized Philips screw driver (not supplied), while will pester you for one this is for them, the stated age is 8 plus and I would suggest that this is the correct age or even older. This is not a light unit and it is only steerable by leaning left or right, as children need a helmet to ride a bicycle they should also need one for this as the battery gives a good speed boost and the brake is only on the rear wheel.
Providing comfort prior to sleep and a light show for entertainment is the next product.
Aimed at the younger members of the family, this next product combines a night light with the ability to project images on an available wall or ceiling. Designed by Philips and manufactured in China, the product is aptly named the 2-in-1 Projector and Night Light. Shaped like an upside down ice-cream cone, this night light projector has dimensions of 115 x 115 x 118mm (L x W x H). The night light element forms the base of the unit with the projector positioned on top of the unit.
These days young children know all about Dinosaurs even probably before they can read, I have to assume that the Miposaur was one of these but my childhood was a long time ago and while we were slightly more advanced than wooden toys the Dinosaur was not in our repertoire.
While I doubt that the real thing had a ball this one certainly does and he/she plays with it, he/she also has a wheel that moves it around, which it my historical knowledge is correct was yet to be invented. However this is a very interesting toy that like the child who will play with it has moods, and your child – like you – has to live with them. It is 39cm long, 15cm from the base of the wheel to the shoulder and 19cm wide.
REV stands for Robotic Enhanced Vehicles and while in this context they are toys – clever toys – we see more and more robotic items in today’s world an early example is the robotic vacuum cleaner that has been around for a while, turning to cars there are currently many worldwide tests of driverless cars.
Toys through the ages were made to mimic the real world, has the wheel turned 180 degrees so that the real world mimic’s toys? Here you have a pair of low slung sports cars that are quite detailed and substantial they weigh 387grams with the required 4x‘AA’ batteries (not supplied) inserted. They can be used individually or they can race against each other. The extra games in the App allow the child to invent as well as enjoy. They are 17x10x4.
If this dancing toy with unruly hair does not persuade your child to get a decent hair style I am not sure what will do so. This however should keep the youngster amused for a while and any busy parent knows that this is gold.
A worrying trend is that there are six slightly different versions all do something slightly different in the way the ‘hair moves’ so at the age range aimed at, the possibility is that pester power is large on the scene.
In my personal dim and distant past I can just about remember using a device called a stereoscope. To my young eyes it was a thing of wonder as it converted a pair of slightly different 2D photos into a 3D scene with depth. Now with digital images and computerised devices the younger generation look for something extra.
Today’s young generation require a more immersive experience to hold their attention. Offering to provide this experience is the View-Master product from Mattel. This particular product is based on a Virtual Reality headset that Mattel feels will take the young child (7+) on a virtual and augmented reality adventure as they are transported around the world and beyond.
It is time to clear the floor and make room for battle to commence as you take on both artificial Intelligent and human opponents in various contests.
R.E.V. is not a mistyped reference to the condition known as Rapid Eye Movement or a 1980’s American Rock Band. It does stand for Robotic Enhanced Vehicle. This is a remote controlled, battery driven vehicle developed by the well respected toy manufacturer WowWee. The company has released a battle pack which consists of two R.E.V. units. One unit is coloured black while the other is white so that they are easily distinguishable when competing against each other.
Going to the Planetarium is an expensive experience, buying a telescope is also expensive, looking at the stars with a naked eye requires a clear night that probably means a cold night you also need to be clear of light pollution. This product works indoors whenever you want.
First you need to download the Universe2Go App from the Android Store and start the App. Setting it up to work with your phone will take a while as your phone needs to fit inside the frame. When you get it this is covered by several pieces of foam to cover the whole area if you are using say a 5inch SmartPhone most will need to be removed piece by piece and probably just leave one thin strip to hold your phone in place.
Noted for its expertise in the development of educational devices for young children, LeapFrog has come up with the LeapFrog Epic. This product is an Android-based tablet aimed at children in the three to nine year old age group.
Encased with a LeapFrog green bumper, the hardware element of this product is a tablet with a 7-inch capacitive touch-screen. The screen has a resolution of 1024 x 600. While this resolution should be fine for the targeted audience, it was noticeable that viewing angles were fairly restrictive. This would certainly cut down on the opportunity for groups of children to gather round this device as a child shares the LeapFrog experience with friends.
Described as the Future of Prehistoric, the MiPosaur Robot has been developed by WowWee. As the prehistoric reference might provide a clue, the MiPosaur is a mechanical dinosaur designed in the style of a miniature T-Rex with its default stance being that of a begging position. This powered and controllable dinosaur is aimed as being suitable for those aged eight years and older.
Releasing the MiPosaur Robot from the packaging, a task that can be a little time consuming due to the presence of a fair amount of sticky tape, reveals a kit consisting of the MiPosaur robot, with a height of 24cm and measuring 38cm from the nose to the tip of its tail, and a Trackball with a diameter of 8cm. A Quick Start Guide and User Manuals in English, French and Spanish are included.
This version of Sphero goes far beyond what the previous version could do and that was be controlled by an App to move around, if you were good then you could just about control it, if not it controlled you. Here you teach it.
The Sphero supplied here is transparent so you can see its inner workings. Anyone from 5 upwards can learn as well as teach Sphero. But just like the majority of teachers they also learn from their students so it’s a two way street. Understand Sphero and in a weird way Sphero will understand you. So what does SPRK stand for, Schools, Parents, Robots, Kids so in one way or another I think that covers most of us. The box contains what it modestly calls a ‘Genius Kit’.
Orbotix labs latest creation Ollie arrived with me a little late for Christmas but anyone with money to spare should still consider Ollie as he can do things that Sphero and Sphero 2 could not, sometimes he even has a mind of his own.
Ollie is round and 12cm long and is 8cm across. As with the majority of recent remote control items you need either iOS or Android to control him. When you remove him from his box you need to attach his tyres and then his wheel trims, easy to do and the steps required are explained in a full colour fold out sheet. Next download the appropriate App from either the IOS or Android store. There is a provided Micro USB to USB lead that you charge Ollie with. Once charged away you go.
Continuing the MiniDrones are coming theme, this next product has more of a tank feel as it travels around and over obstacles.
Whenever the subject of Sumo comes up, my thoughts immediately go towards the full-contact wrestling sport so popular in Japan. Two very large and over-weight men try to push each other off a combat mat. Just looking at these man-mountain combatants gives you the impression that they could well be lacking in one particular skill level – that of jumping. However there is one Sumo that does have this skill and that is the appropriately named Jumping Sumo.
The MiniDrones are coming. Leading the aerial force is the subject of this next review.
Like many others, I am not the biggest fan of spiders but in this case I am willing to make an exception. The arachnid in question is of the mechanical type and belongs to the Parrot family of MiniDrones which could well be invading our homes over the coming months. This particular model is the Rolling Spider which combines the ability to travel over various surfaces, including walls and ceilings, plus take to the air in a kind of futuristic helicopter mode.
And who, you may ask is Ollie? And what is he about?
Let me introduce you to Ollie. This fun creature is a close cousin of Sphero and Sphero 2. Like his cousins, Ollie was developed in the Orbotix labs under the watchful eye of its co-creator Ian Bernstein who feels that this tubular creation should be regarded as the complete adrenaline junkie that is never happier than when charging about under some sort of control emanating from the user’s mobile device.