As any parent of a pre-schooler knows, young children are very, very cunning; they are born with an innate ability to sense the slightest moment of adult weakness; then their inbuilt instincts kick in, allowing them to take maximum advantage.
It’s very easy to make a major childrearing mistake in a matter of seconds. One day, in a moment of desperation, you hand your mobile phone over to your beloved offspring to keep them quiet at a critical moment – and, to put it bluntly, dear reader – you’re stuffed.
No matter how many Dora or Wiggles plastic substitutes you now try and fob off on your child, they’ve tried the real thing – and few substitutes will suffice.
Some parents have, in desperation, bought a Nintendo DS, just to regain control over their phone. But that’s just being a bad parent, because they’re not really educational. (Though when your child is naughty, you can confiscate it and play with it yourself!)
But now – yay – there is an Educational Alternative – you can be a Good Parent, and still have your own phone.
The clever clogs at Leapfrog have come up with a series of gadgets (beyond toys, really!) that are all about education. They all feature an animated dog called ‘Scout,’ complete with BBC accent.
The Scribble & Write is my favourite of the bunch of toys (which include a mobile phone, called the Text and Learn, which has simulated text messaging!)
A cross between an etch-a-sketch and a kiddy-friendly chunky plastic PDA, the writing tablet part of the gadget lights up a series of dots for a series of shapes and then for each letter of the alphabet. Kids trace over the lit-up dots to form shapes and then upper- and lowercase letters.
Combining high-tech speech and animation with low-tech writing tablet is inspired, and really encourages active learning. This cynical reviewer is a total convert!
It’s great for the car. My preschooler loves it – and at just three, she’s getting quite reasonable with pen control and letter recognition. (Plus I’ve got my mobile back!)
Bottom line: Great little pre-schooler gadget that’s fun and educational
How much : Au $ 43