By Sam Parker
When you’re five years old, nothing seems more fun than playing with a toy that’s not yours. Whether it’s your parent’s cellphone, your sibling’s iPod or your cousin’s tablet, you are bound and determined to get your little hands on someone’s technology. You want to push buttons, watch videos and hear songs from your favorite cartoons, but because your family’s iPhones and iPads are rather costly, you are told to stay away.
In order to solve this modern-day parenting dilemma, children’s toy company Little Tikes developed a way to combine technology and toys in order to satisfy toddlers’ desire to play with techy pieces and parents’ wish to give their children practical toys. Known as iTikes, these tech-meets-toys, app-based products are meant to satisfy the endless curiosities of children without risking damage to expensive pieces of technology.
What is iTikes?
“ITikes is a line of interactive toys that helps kids learn by piquing their curiosity and changing the way they play,” the company’s Facebook page states. “Our goal is to make learning about science, math, technology, academics and the world around us fun through a powerful combination of ‘cool,’ real-world topics, lively text, superior graphics and interactive content.”
The new interactive toys include a map, piano, microscope and canvas and are capable of connecting with iOS devices to offer supplements to your child’s playing time. The applications necessary to run these extra features can be found on iTunes and are available for free. If you decide to exclude your iPhone, iPod and iPad, the toys still have standalone capabilities as well.
ITikes Map Lets Toddlers Explore
In terms of added interactivity, the iTikes Map—with the help of an iPhone 3 or newer, iPod Touch 4 or iPad—can be used with a smart pen to activate facts about different locations on six maps. It also includes quizzes and games with three levels of difficulty as well as 3-D images and animations when an iPhone or iPod Touch hovers over the augmented reality-enabled locations. The standalone map simply reads out fun facts about different hotspots. This toy is suitable for children ages 3 years and older.
Learn to Read Music with the iTikes Piano
With added technology, the iTikes Piano can teach your child how to read music, hear different pitches, watch visualizations and learn to play songs. Without the help of your iOS devices, the piano functions as a regular keyboard in that it can be used to play major and minor keys, record music and play built-in songs. This toy is suitable for children ages 3 years and older.
ITikes Microscope: Examine Slides and Watch Animations
The iTikes Microscope, suitable for children ages 4 and older, functions as a real working microscope. It has three focus adjustments 100x, 200x and 300x and comes with 12 slides that each contain three real specimens. With the help of an iPhone, iPad or iPod, kids can view 3-D images, illustrations and animations that pertain to the different species of plants, animals and bugs they are viewing through the microscope’s lens.
Kids Color and Draw with the iTikes Canvas
The iTikes Canvas, suitable for children ages 3 years and older, serves as a magnetic doodle board, but with an iPad, more coloring pages, colors and tools are available. The app also includes a game to help children improve their drawing skills, and a shape button allows them to add stamps to their digital coloring pages.
ITikes toys will be available for purchase on Sept. 17 through the iTikes website. The map will retail for $59.99, the piano for $49.99, the microscope for $89.99 and the canvas for $39.99. Each product will also include a special white and lime green case to protect your iPhone, iPod or iPad against scratches and messy, little fingers.
ITikes could not be reached to inquire if they plan to expand the smartphone compatible technology to other toys in their product lines.
- iTikes Map
- iTikes Piano
- iTikes Microscope
- iTikes Canvas
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