With each new holiday season comes a tidal wave of new gizmos and gadgets that do their best to separate you from your money. I’ve lost count of how much I’ve spent on toys, games, and apps that promised to turn my kid into the next Jamal Wallace. Nevertheless, not all so-called “educational” toys are created equal. Some will teach your kids basic math skills in a style reminiscent of Ben Stein. Others are all sizzle and no steak (Baby Einstein, anyone?). Sure it makes your son laugh so hard milk erupts from his nostrils, but don’t count on that to help his test scores.
Since before preschool, my kids enjoyed going through workbooks, doing science experiments, and playing online games designed to elevate their academic performance – each a helpful step in raising a lifelong learner. While your mileage may vary, it’s safe to say that our kids would rather play games on the iPad in all their magnificent glory instead of picking up a book that “doesn’t even make any sound.” (4-year-old logic at its best) As a concerned parent, though, I’m often left worrying about in-app purchases, in-game advertising, and the ability to stumble upon the seedier parts of the internet. But what’s a guy to do?
A company like School Zone (kick-butt company that’s been producing children’s educational products for more than 30 years) needs no introduction, but here’s what you need to know about the Little Scholar:
- It’s jam-packed with over 150 premium preloaded learning apps, including educational games, videos, e-books, and songs.
- All of the content on Little Scholar was created by School Zone and covers an essential curriculum that builds kids’ skills in areas such as reading, math, spelling, science, logic, geography, and creativity.
- The intended target is children ages 3 through 7, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not totally digging “Napoleon Bone Apart.”
- The built-in wifi grants you access to the School Zone Market – an app store for additional content – but it’s completely unnecessary to your use and enjoyment of the tablet.
- Covers Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade
- Built-in 300KP front & 2MP back camera
- Has parental control options
- Google Android™ OS
- My son LOVES the “ABC Train” and the movies
The A+ Report Card app is one of my favorite features because it tracks and guides progress. This is crucial if you’re looking for a way to get in a little extra practice in a particular subject like reading, science, or problem solving. Now you’ll know exactly how much time is spent in each category and can encourage or reward Little Man’s dedication to improving his grades.
The Little Scholar comes with a surprisingly high number of songs ready to groove to. Unfortunately, the built-in mono speaker does little more than aggravate the user despite having the volume maxed out. This is my biggest (dare I say only?) complaint – the speaker sucks. If you only have one kid in the house and there are no other living things doing anything at all whatsoever, the speaker might be able to overcome the deafening silence. It’s a shame, too. That James Vander
beek Ark looks like he could shred a Gibson in his sleep.
For all of the tech specs and detailed info about the rest of the features the LS offers, you can check out School Zone’s website. That’s also the place you’ll head to place your order for the tablet and any additional accessories (stylus, headphones, carrying case, screen protector, etc.) you want to stuff in the overpriced, officially licensed character stocking.
You want a big bang for your buck? You want to give a gift your kid’s won’t outgrow or get bored with before Spring Break? You want to invest in your child’s academic future… and have a blast in the process? Then drop a little extra coin buy the Little Scholar. It’s the best way to insure your kids know more about the alphabet than they do Angry Birds.
Order it at Toys R Us today!