Advantages Young children can start to understand the wider world
Disadvantages Joystick can take a while to learn to control
I have to admit, when Jacob was given the Vtech Fly and Learn Globe a year last Christmas, I was unsure as to how interested he would be in it. After all he was only 2 and a half and could not possibly have had any concept of the world. However, 15 months on, this is one of the toys that is brought out time and time again.The globe itself is very eye catching. The sea areas are bright blue and each continent is a different colour. The land areas are raised away from the sea and points of interest such as the Alps or the animals which are dotted around, are raised again. This makes the toy very appealing for young children to touch. The buttons at the base of the globe are chunky and bright as is the joystick that the children use to guide a plane around the world.
It is quite a loud toy and there is no volume control but the voice is English. There is also some quite annoying music that is played until the child starts moving the joystick. And if you have that kind of child that loves to turn loud toys on and then leave them, then beware of this one. It does shut itself down eventually but takes about 2 minutes to do so by which time the music has probably driven you to distraction.Turning the toy on starts the globe rotating and the child is invited to fly the plane. This is done by moving the joystick in which ever way the child wants to get to a destination. There is a see through plastic viewfinder attached to the front of the plane. Once the child can see something in the viewfinder they can click on the red button on the joystick to find out more about it. So, for example, the child finds the Kangaroo and they will be told that the Kangaroo lives in Australia.
There are several animals on each continent as well as a Killer Whale, Blue Whale and Giant Squid to find in the oceans or deserts, mountain ranges and rivers to learn more about. Everything that is labelled can be clicked on and each makes a sound. This might be the noise of the animal or a splash of the river, for example.There are three modes of play, each focusing on something different. The first is the free mode, which is the one explained above where the child can fly to anything to find out more about it. This is the default mode when the toy is switched on and can be returned to at any time by pressing the Bright Flight button on the base of the globe.
Mode 2 is called Tricky Travels. In this mode the child is told where to fly the plane. This might be specific (Let’s fly to the Great Barrier Reef) or be more general (Let’s fly to a southern continent). Once the correct place has been found in the viewfinder a tinging sound is made to tell the child they are right. They are also told a fact about the place they have found as in Bright Flight. If they don’t get the right place then they are told to “Keep Flying” and have another go. They get three chances before it asks them to find somewhere else.And Mode 3, Creature Feature, focuses on the animals. Again, following on from the format of the previous modes the child is asked to find a specific animal or an animal of their choice.
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