I was very cautious about introducing my son to technology. It makes me so sad when I see a kid who never plays outside and is engrossed in video games all day. In fact, I never let my son watch any TV until he turned 2. But, shortly after that milestone, I realized that completely sheltering him from technology was also doing him a disservice. Like it or not, technology is part of our world, our future, and a huge part of our daily lives. He needs to be technologically savvy to succeed. I just need to balance the use of technology with other activities and make sure that his screen time is really providing him some education, not just keeping him quiet while I cook dinner.
With all that in mind, I began searching for the best toys to help him learn to use technology, while remaining educational. The toy I finally settled on was the V tech Mobigo. It’s a handheld device, built to withstand preschoolers, with downloadable games as well as game cartridges. The console itself has both a touch screen and a slide-out Qwerty keyboard. Some of the other game systems I looked at didn’t even have a keyboard or had a keyboard in ABC format, which is great for learning the alphabet, but my goal was to introduce him to real technology, which means a Qwerty keyboard, in my opinion. The other thing I liked about the keyboard is that it was a slide-out, so he could play games not requiring the keyboard with it tucked safely away. The touch screen was another selling point for me because that’s such a prominent part of technology now, too. The new Mobigo 2 even has motion sensors and voice-commands, so it operates even more like a smartphone than the original version. The only problem I’ve had has been with the touch screen being non-responsive sometimes, but it seems that a battery change has fixed that.
The games available for the Mobigo are aimed at 3-8 year-olds, divided into 3-5, 4-7, and 5-8. The game cartridges are mostly based on popular characters, like Toy Story and Cars, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but my son didn’t seem to mind. The games available for download are more generic, but excellent. We got him a game that turns the touchscreen into a piano keyboard and another that teaches him to count animals on a farm. The games are each focused on certain skill sets, like language, math, problem-solving, memory, etc., so I feel better about giving him the Mobigo to play with than some less educational games out there. I don’t like to spend a fortune on game cartridges, but the downloadable ones are much more reasonable and they even give you a few freebies. And did I mention it’s been a life-saver on car trips?
All-in-all I’m really happy with my choice. I’d recommend the Mobigo to anyone else who’s looking for an educational way to introduce technology to your little ones.