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Sree's Thoughts on the Gadgets for Kids
Thursday, Aug 29, 2002

There are so many things parents buy for kids at back-to-school time: notepads, pens, bags - and now, even gadgets. While some parents are buying Palm-like gizmos for older kids, I wanted to see what's out there for the younger set.

That brings me to two items worth checking out:

Kasey the Kinderbot: This Fisher-Price toy is a fun way to introduce electronic gadgets to young children. It's a colorful robot that's about height of a basketball and does his teaching through his belly. The small screen on his belly, that is. The screen runs simple games that can engage a child three and above. His arms, neck and torso move, giving him the appearance of spontaneous movements. Kasey costs $65 and has little cartridges (for $15 each) you can swap out on his back - they teach French and Spanish (I tried the French one and am considering using it regularly). One of my colleagues, 8-year-old kids wandered by my office and started playing with it, and had such a good time, we had to pry it from her fingers so she could go home. I would have prefered to see a full-color screen, instead of the current monochrome one, but other than that, this is an effective teaching gadget, er, toy.
Learn more: site

iQuest: This gadget, by educational products maker LeapFrog, is about the size of a GameBoy. But instead of playing games, kids in grades 5-8 can use this to help with homework and other school projects. Here's how it works: The $60 gadget has a screen and small keyboard (which you manipulate with your thumbs) through with the user interacts with a variety of items such as lesson plans, quizzes, a dictionary, an addressbook and calandar. The company sells specialized cartridges ($15 each) that contain math and science lessons, based on 260 textbooks. The curriculum is built around chapter outlines and audio quizzes developed with The Princeton Review, those legendary test preparers. I know many adults who would find this useful.
Learn more: site

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