07. 25. 2007
Notebooks for Munchkins
When my daughter was little, just a couple of years ago but a century for her, our house was decorated in early Vtech. We liked their products because they were interactive, fun, and Mom felt her little Mackenzie was learning something. Her favorite was the laptop (go figure.)
We now test toddler products on our neighbors' adorable children, Nicole, age 2+ and Carson, just one year.
Disguised as a toy, this new Vtech laptop -- the Tote and Go -- for pre-schoolers features 30 activities that teach language, math, games and music. Vtech recommends it for ages 3+. Nicole immediately loved it, and is especially fond of the animated monkey on the LED screen that guides her through the programs. More on her later.
Little Carson tested the Baby's Learning Laptop, which promises "your little one will be wired for learning," and as all mothers know, babies come that way. Carson was attracted to the colorful keyboard which interacts with a bright light-up screen to teach shapes, common objects and basic feelings. Again, it's got a very real moveable mouse, attached by magnets to the mouse pad so it doesn't get lost. Entertaining sound effects, melodies and opening and closing the laptop keep him so well entertained, his parents are taking it on their plane flight to NY. (There is a volume control switch for quieter play.) Carson will get years of play with the Learning Laptop.
Nicole won't with her laptop. Like all little munchkins these days, she's technologically very advanced and noticed the "ABC" keyboard wasn't like Daddy's or Mommy's. While it will teach her math and spelling, she's not learning the basic computer skill of using a QWERTY keyboard, and transitioning to a regular computer will involve a learning curve. When my Mackenzie was 2, I put her on my computer (locked down the hard drive), so she would be familiar with computers which were going to be such an intregal part of her life. (Note: all the companies, Fisher Price, etc., use the ABC keyboard for the toddler set.)
I recommend that you move your 3+ child up to the excellet Nitro Notebook series, starting with the JR Notebook (4-6+) which looks and feels like a sleek, portable laptop AND has a full QWERTY keyboard. With eight different learning cartridges -- Nature & Science, World Discovery, Art Album, Game Time, Social Studies, Language Arts, Math Explorer and Music Studio -- so your youngster will be learning on a "cool" laptop.
There's also an adorable pink laptop for girls, but they may send the wrong message, even though I'm lusting after the pink Vaio.