by New Contributor Jennifer Babich —
As school is rapidly drawing to a close, I am preparing myself for the down time before camp starts. I know I will be repeatedly hearing “I’m bored” and “play with me”. While I love playing with my children, it is sometimes difficult to meet the entertainment needs of three kids at the same time. I had the pleasure of trying out My Friend Cayla; the world’s first interactive doll with my three children. Cayla was able to answer my kids’ questions and even play with them!
This doll, from Genesis toys, is available now.
My Friend Cayla has won several awards including:
· Innovative Toy of the Year 2015
· Gadget of the Year
· Top 10 toy on Amazon UK, Agros, and Carrefour
What makes Cayla so special? Well, she syncs to your smart phone, computer or tablet, connects to the Internet, and interacts with users on a variety of levels. Cayla can converse, answer questions, play games, read a story or share her photo album to a child.
When I took Cayla out of her box, my daughters were immediately drawn to her cute outfit and long blond hair. My 17 month old immediately wanted to push the “baby” in a stroller, while my four-year old was eager to use the brush and mirror that Cayla comes with.
I used an iPad when we played with Cayla. She has an accompanying app that was very simple to download and use (even for those of us who are less than tech-savvy). We tried to have a conversation with Cayla. She is quite chatty and eager to engage kids in conversation. We quickly discovered how to decrease the amount of independent talking Cayla does. She answered some of our questions, but she had a hard time understanding my four year old. We were most successful when sticking to the list of examples that came in the package. Her answers to Math problems were impressive, but when asked questions such as “What is Disney World?”, most of her response sounded like it was being read from a Wiki page and went over my kids’ heads. Since Cayla can speak different languages, this conversation feature could be very useful to a child learning to speak a new language or trying to practice conversation skills.
My children really enjoyed Cayla’s other features. They were engaged in a memory game using theiPad and took turns with Cayla. It kept them entertained, and Cayla doesn’t always win! Cayla also comes with a tic-tac-toe game and in the future additional games will be added via app updates. They also liked hearing stories read out loud by Cayla. She comes with three stories that children can follow along with on theiPad which is great for new readers. My four-year old also really enjoyed learning about Cayla’s “trips” through her photo album. I liked that it reinforced collections of vocabulary such as items encountered at the beach.
Cayla is definitely more than your average doll. Her capabilities are impressive an entertaining for kids. I imagine that someone doing Math homework with Cayla nearby would really appreciate her! Her Internet connection enables her to provide kids with some information, but it would be nice if it were all filtered to be more child friendly in content. Cayla is equipped with safeguards to prevent children from accessing unsafe and inappropriate information.
I am really looking forward to the games component to be further developed and until then, we can still enjoy this new “friend”.
Buy on Amazon.
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