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Playing with Violet
My Pal Violet is a soft toy with a customisable centre aimed at the 6 – 36 month age range. As part of the Leapfrog range of educational toys for the younger members of the family, Violet, in her white and Violet fur, cries out to be picked up and cuddled. However this cuddly creature, with dimensions of 308 x 270 x 190 mm (H x W x D) has more to offer than just tactile sensations as is explained in the accompanying Quick Start Guide.
Violet can be customised by the parent prior to the young child taking hold of the toy. This customisation requires the creation of a Leapfrog account by logging on to the www.leapfrog.com/MyPals2 website. With the account created, you can enter the child’s named or nickname plus select the child’s favourite food, type of animal and colour from drop down lists of options. You will also need to download and install the appropriate app from the Apps or Play Store.
Having connected Violet to your chosen mobile device via a short 3.5mm audio lead emerging from the product’s packaging, you can waken Violet and follow a series of steps with instructions displayed by the app. At the appropriate stage in the instructions you will need to disconnect the audio lead and then remove Violet from the packaging. While this last action might sound a simple operation, in practice it was more difficult than I expected and proved to be a struggle as you could finish up with plenty of used tape and a box that was almost completely destroyed.
You will then need to reconnect the audio lead and complete the customisation process with Violet providing the necessary check marks. At the conclusion of the process you will need to remove the audio lead, leaving you with a soft toy that looked like it had a rucksack on its back. The rucksack is, in fact, Violet’s battery pack.
Leapfrog obviously does not want the battery pack moving around inside the toy’s body as there was barely enough space in which to insert the pack. It took a great deal of manipulation before I was able to fit the battery pack into Violet’s body. Velcro fastener strips can be used to close up Violet’s back. However before inserting the battery pack and closing the Velcro strips, you should take the opportunity to adjust the volume slider on the battery box.
Each of Violet’s four paws has its own emblem to identify the type of tasks you get when the paw is pressed. The top left paw, identified by a bouncing football although I feel a balloon would have been more appropriate, is for fun activities. Among the tasks from this paw are those that involve the child coming up with an object of a certain colour, counting to a specific number, guessing the type of animal from a sound or being asked for a hug or food to be given to Violet.
With a musical note as a symbol, the top right paw can provide over 20 fun songs plus a further three that have been personalised with the child’s name and their favourite things. The bottom left paw, showing a sun and stars symbol, can deliver 5, 10 or 15 minutes of bedtime lullabies to help the child drift off to sleep. The fourth paw is decorated with a power button symbol for sending Violet to sleep. The same paw can be used to wake up Violet.
Once set up and customised by the parent, Violet should prove useful and appealing to children of the targeted age range. Leapfrog does need to look at the insertion of the battery pack into the Violet’s body. The removal and re-insertion of the battery pack will need to be carried out when the need arises to change the three AA batteries required by Violet from time to time. I know I struggled with this aspect of the product.
My Pal Violet is currently listed on Amazon.co.uk priced at £18.95.
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