Three and a half is a sponge age. W has always had amazing ears for picking up words and phrases and right now I am really hearing myself and Lolly in his vocabulary. When he drops a fork he exclaims, “good grief!” When he is expressing empathy he now says, “that’s ok, sweetheart”.
Because I recognize his spongeness I am making a serious attempt to have as many educational toys available to him as possible. The good news about this age is that pretty much EVERY toy has educational value. The pirate ship and garbage truck that Santa delivered have unlocked some really amazing imaginative play. The trampoline has led him to work on counting as well satisfy his need for physicality.
We were given a Vinci Tablet to review over the holidays and I was hopeful that it would be a toy that he not only enjoyed but learned from.
I took some video of W using the tablet. This was literally the first time I had put it into his hands and I gave him little to no instruction. I simply turned on the device and said, “this is for you to use”. I wanted to see how easy it was. W has had a lot of experience with other tablets. He is often allowed to play games on my Mother’s iPad and I let him use my old phone to watch videos of garbage trucks. While I expected him to have no hesitation about jumping in, I was pleasantly surprised by how well he was able to navigate the system.
The games have engaged him for several days and he comes back to the Vinci to sing songs or color. I have not set it up beyond the “out of the box” configuration and so far that has been fine. His favorite games involve racing and matching. He has also led the house in more than one spirited sing-a-long.
There are three interesting things to note about the Vinci:
1. This device is an android and you can connect it to the internet. I am opting to not do that as I have a very curious button clicker and I feel like not having it web enabled is going to save me some trouble down the road.
Still he somehow managed to navigate to the web section but luckily he got the standard, “you can’t get online” message. the message didn’t phase him. In fact he liked using the space to type in a web address to type random letters.
2. There is a character who is featured in many games and programs on the Vinci: Baby HaHa. I immediately realized that this character reminded me of another computer generated baby figure: the dancing baby from Ally McBeal. Which means that every time I see Baby HaHa I start humming Hooked on a Feeling.
3. While the Vinci has this super groovy wraparound grip thing that encircles the entire device like a steering wheel it does not seem to have anything to protect the front of the tablet. As a family that often drops things I am anxious about how safe the device will be if it gets knocked off a table or something. Only time will tell.
The world of educational tablets is a bit small. Most of us end up surrendering our own mobile devices to entertain or educate our kids. Having a dedicated tablet for W has been really nice. I am curious to see how much he sponges up from the programs.
Disclosure: I was given a Vinci Tablet for review purposes. I was not compensated for this post. The media and opinions are entirely my own.