Here are a couple of goodies from Discovery Toys which have been designed to entertain kids while allowing them to learn. They are also interesting in their own way, so much so that the adults in the child’s life won’t be embarrassed to be caught playing with them.
TODDLER TALK Recording Phone – The Toddler Talk is targeted at children aged 12 months to “Toddler”, which I suppose can mean about up to about three years old. It is an approximately 6″ long x 2.25″ wide x 1.25″ thick red plastic phone-shaped toy.
The Toddler Talk has a satisfying 4.4 ounce weight when two AA batteries (not included) are installed, and the bright colors make it eye-catching for everyone. There are four numbered buttons on the phone’s front, and each one of them gives a different pre-recorded sound when pressed.
Button 1 gives a touch-tone jingle, as if a number was just dialed; button 2 gives a repeating buzzing ring tone; button 3 gives a repeating busy signal; and button 4 says “Hello?”. Pressing and holding the green button on the side of the phone until two beeps are heard and the red LED in the antenna glows allows you to record sounds or personal message lasting up to six seconds.
Pressing the “Play” button on the phone’s front replays the recording. I’ll tell you up front that the voice recording sounds kind of gravelly and not 100% recognizable as the person’s who made it, but it is still a fun effect. Little kids playing with it will enjoy how easy it is to record and replay their “messages”. When the red LED starts to wane, it is time to replace the batteries, which are safely kept behind a single-screw secured battery compartment door.
Adults will enjoy picking up the phone and pretending to make calls with their favorite little ones. I can think of plenty of worse ways to spend time.
The Discovery Toys TODDLER TALK Recording Phone is available directly from the manufacturer.
What I Like: Bright colors; nicely made phone with lots of sound effects; ability to record and play a personal message
What Needs Improvement: The playback sound isn’t the clearest, but it’s still more than adequate
The next item we’ll take a look at is the BABY SIGNS Board Books & DVD Set. According to the Discovery Toys site, “Babies can talk before they can speak! Through signing, children can express their needs, thoughts, and feelings. Baby Signs books include simple easy-to-do gestures, based on American Sign Language (ASL) that resemble objects, activities and emotions. Using signs builds early communication skills and vocabulary, increases self-confidence, reduces frustration and stimulates intellectual development.”
Included in the Baby Signs set are two board books, a DVD, an expanded parent guide, and a quick reference guide. This kit is for kids aged 8 months & up. The books are typical for the age – they are made of heavy glossy pages which should be able to withstand a teething baby.
The premise behind this set is that even before babies can speak, they can certainly communicate. If you read the books to your child, show them the pictures and do the motions described at the same time, your baby might just start signing – and thus communicating well before his or her first word is uttered.
The included DVD uses the electronic babysitter (that’s a television for those of you that didn’t know) to “captivate babies and teach them six important signs through state-of-the-art 3D animation, lively puppets, and adorable signing babies.”
Well…there you have it!
Will your baby be signing like a pro after a few weeks of reading these books together? I don’t know. But I do know that any time spent with a young one is time well spent.
It’s possible that your toddler will pick up on ASL, and will soon be letting you know through precise motions exactly what they want or are feeling. Will it work with your child? There’s only one way to find out…
The Discovery Toys BABY SIGNS Board Books & DVD Set is available directly from the manufacturer.
What I Like: Books are heavy and “child proof”; time spent with your child may pay off in early communication skills
What Needs Improvement: Nothing – it’s a neat idea