When I was a kid, I remember that wanting to be grown up was all about being allowed to wear makeup or talk on the phone to boys. Kids these days? I'm sure that makeup and boys rank right up there in importance, but there's a new heavy-hitter in town: technology.
With how savvy kids are with computers, tablets and phones in 2011, I sometimes worry about my girls growing up too quickly. What happened to just wanting to play with dolls? Or your most cherished item being a stuffed animal and not something that requires batteries or apps?
Well, thanks to the well-known baby brand Infantino teaming up with the publisher Tipitab, there is now a new, innovative toy on the market that combines a child's favorite plush pal with a first-of-its-kind, interactive, 21st century twist. Introducing HappiTaps.
A toy/app hybrid, HappiTaps is a combination of a lovable teddy bear friend and a huggable cover for your iPhone or iPod touch. By purchasing the HappiTaps case and downloading the free app from the app store, your child's love of touchscreen devices can now extend to an adorable, lovable companion... that comes to life!
Knowing that there wasn't going to be much more that Big Sister E and Little Sister B would enjoy than an animated friend to play and educate them, when our HappiTaps case arrived, I was eager to check out just how easy it would be for them to utilize.
Thankfully, I was able to find that it barely takes any time at all to transform an electronic device into an extremely fun (and very cute!) toy for kids to enjoy.
After downloading the free app, I easily slid my iPod touch right inside and with a tap or two on the screen, Beary Happi came to life.
Oh, the cuteness! From the moment I introduced the girls to Beary Happi, it was apparent that I was never going to get my iPod touch back from them again... but, considering the joy that they've received from him, I'm okay with that.
Watching him come to life like they've never experienced in a plush toy before, they've adored nurturing, feeding, talking, joking, singing and more with Beary. Whether they are helping him go to sleep or sharing fun facts and stories, their cuddly pal manages to keep them engaged while also throwing in some learning at the same time.
Although I was initially concerned that Beary wouldn't do quite enough to keep my kids' attention for a long period of time, I was happy to find that I was mistaken (although Big Sister E, at 5, does tend to play with him less than Little Sister B, age 3). As he comes programmed with over 150 different expressions and various songs, games and stories, each time we turn Beary on leads to a different experience.
Plus, this app uses more than just audio and video to engage with young learners and employs motion sensors and gyroscopes to create a more lifelike, realistic experience. Beary isn't just a computer, he really reacts to you and makes you feel as though your beloved teddy bear really has come to life.
With the convenient hook at the top, Beary can easily be clipped onto a car seat, bag or more and I appreciate that the HappiTaps case itself protects my iPod touch from any dings or dents when being carried around or while during play. If there is ever a time that I am out running errands with one of my kids and I know that there might be a wait, I'm sure to bring Beary along as the perfect boredom buster!
Retailing for $19.99, the Beary Happi HappiTaps case is a great investment for parents everywhere that want to allow their children to have fun with their electronic gadget. The main thing that I would like to change is the ease in which my kids could accidentally purchase additional stories or games. With the 99¢ accessories available with a simple two taps on the screen, I wish that it was more difficult and less accessible for kids.
For more information, please visit HappiTaps online as well as on Facebook and Twitter. I'm looking forward to seeing how this app changes and grows as it updates in the future!
(Other than the HappiTaps Beary Happi case that I was provided by Infantino, I was not compensated or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of this app and the accompanying product.)