Today’s children have been immersed in technology since the time they were born. Hence, many toys and games that appeal to the youngsters of today have a digital basis. Although some parents decry technology-savvy games, there is strong evidence to suggest that such games can be useful teaching tools. One of the most engaging game systems for young children is VTech’s “InnoTab 3,” a tablet that gives children aged 3-9 ample ways to gain both entertainment and education without leaving their seat.
The InnoTab 3 is a portable, durable, full color touch-screen, app tablet that expands children’s minds with age-appropriate activities and games and up to 32GB of memory. Some games that are available on the InnoTab 3 respond to tilt-screen stimulus and mostly every activity comes with clear sound effects that enhance users’ experiences. The InnoTab 3 also lets parents download certain content from the Internet, like songs and TV shows, that children can later play using the InnoTab. In fact, children can create their own MP3 playlists!
Even without Internet downloads, the InnoTab 3 enables children to play games, read interactive e-books and learn vocabulary words with the “story dictionary” feature. The device also has a camera, a video recorder and Art Studio feature that allows children to digitally paint, draw and alter photographs. The picture on the screen is so crystal clear that it rivals those found on Apple and Samsung tablets and phones. According to the official VTech website:
“Have fun and learn with a large library of cartridge games featuring your child’s favorite characters. Each is packed with exciting activities to entertain your child as they solve math problems, develop memory skills, learn science concepts and so much more. Interactive e-books teach reading and vocabulary, while creative activities and camera fun inspire your child’s imagination. Available as cartridges or downloads from VTech’s Learning Lodge (sold separately). VTech’s Learning Lodge features more than 600 educational games, e-books, music and videos developed specifically for each child’s unique stage of development, as well as their age and interests. The broad library of subjects includes reading, math, social studies, science, creativity, problem solving and so much more! Starting with activities suitable for toddlers and expanding to grade schoolers, the Learning Lodge gives every child an opportunity to expand their learning potential while keeping them entertained.”
The InnoTab 3 comes in a set that includes four AA batteries, a “Read, Play & Create” cartridge (in addition to some pre-loaded features), two plastic pointers (which help to precisely navigate the touch screen) and a cable for an adult to connect the InnoTab 3 to a computer and enable additional downloads. There is room for up to five children to create avatars and the InnoTab 3 will automatically shut itself down (thus saving battery life) if it is not played with for several minutes.
The InnoTab 3 is preloaded with some very cool features that will surely amuse children. For instance, there are three preloaded pictures under “Photos.” These photos are of three adorable animals: macaw parrot, a cat and a fish. The “Video” tab comes with several short commercial clips that advertise other available cartridge games. Although some people will take issue with placing advertisements in a children’s toy, some of the other games look very amusing and even educational. Children can also take and decorate their own photos and videos from the get-go. The InnoTab 3’s theme song is preloaded into the “Music” tab, the “Clock” can be set and the “Calculator,” “Calendar,” and “Notes” all work. However, to unlock the “Games,” “Art Studio,” “My Magic Beanstalk,” and “Friends” features a grown-up must connect the tablet to the learning lodge via a download from the “Learning Lodge Installation CD” that also comes with the InnoTab 3 set.
The “Read, Learn & Play” cartridge that is included with the InnoTab 3 set is what really gives newcomers a taste of what this technology is capable of. The app comes preloaded with three features: a read along eBook, a learning game, and a digital painting “Creativity” section.
The eBook is an adorable story titled “What’s That Noise?” It tells the tale of a country dog who moves to the city and must adjust to the change in his environment. The story is very amusing, it has a wonderful message, and the illustrations are bright and cheerful. The story includes a pleasant read-along feature, great sound effects, and even little animations on every page that are activated when a user touches a particular part of the page/illustration.
The learning game is called “H2O Go!” It contains five levels that are based around the adventures of a water drop who must navigate his way around a maze until he finds a drain to slide down. As he wanders the maze, the water drop must avoid sponges (that absorb water) and occasionally freeze into ice or heat up into precipitation in order to successfully make it to the drain. There is a time limit on the game and if the water drop does not get down the drain in time then players must try the level again from the start. This game is fairly simple but addictive and entertaining and it really does include some interesting facts about water and how it can change into ice or air.
Finally, there is the “Creativity” feature which is simply a digital coloring book. A child can select a preloaded image and then color it to his or her liking. Once the picture is colored in, it can be saved or even used as wallpaper for the entire tablet.
Overall, there is very little to dislike about the InnoTab 3. It is a wonderful tool for both entertainment and education that will surely keep many children occupied for an untold number of hours while also actively engaging their imaginations and natural curiosity. Considering all the features that this set comes with, the price of $79.99 is quite reasonable.
I give the InnoTab 3 5/5 stars and strongly recommend it to anyone who has children who are interested in digital technology. To learn more, visit the official website: