Last month I wrote a post about parents buying ipads for toddlers. I said that due to the cost and children's ability to destroy most anything, I would wait until Fisher-Price came out with an iPad for toddlers.
Well, little did I know -- they have, or least something similar. A representative from the company contacted me and asked if I'd like to try out the iXL Learning System, and I eagerly accepted, excited to see what it was all about.
My 6-year-old son confiscated it first when it arrived. He spends as much time as we'll let him on his Nintendo DS and with Wii, and I wondered if it wouldn't be a little boring for him after all that. But I've found him playing with it on more than one occasion, and he says it has some pretty cools stuff. So while he's at the high end of its target age range (3-7) with his seventh birthday approaching, it still holds some interest for him. I probably wouldn't buy one new for him, because he'll outgrow it quickly, but it's a nice thing for him to sit and do with his sister.
My daughter is about 18 months old and well below the suggested age range, but she LOVES the iXL. I worried it would be too difficult for her, and parts of it are, but I'm amazed at how quickly she's learned to turn it on, pull out the stylus and navigate her way around. It's best when her brother or I sits down with her and plays along, but there's actually a lot she can do herself.
There are letters you can try to draw, and while hers are mostly scribbles, it's really cool that's she's trying. There's a little book reader video of a monkey that she loves to watch repeatedly, and some songs she attempts to sing along with. It's definitely a toy that will hold her attention for years to come, and it's educational, which I love.
And we haven't even begun to tap into all of its features like the digital art book, MP3 player or photo viewer. We just have the base model, and even without any of the additional software you can buy, there's plenty to do.
It's a great small size and folds up nicely so I've been throwing it in the diaper bag when I know we're going somewhere she's going to need to be entertained -- like the doctor's office or at a restaurant - and it's been a lifesaver. It will definitely be going with us when we travel by plane soon.
At $79.99 it's not cheap, but it's a lot less expensive than an iPad.
If you're looking for an electronic learning toy for your child, and don't want to shell out of the iPad, this is a great alternative.
Have you tried out the iXL Learning System? What do you think?
Image via toysrus.com