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.
brings me to two items worth checking out:
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: Fisher-Price.com
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.
and let me know your thoughts.