My kids have been enamored of technology since they were very small. I recall our older children, sitting at the desk with my husband, not more than two or three, and he was already teaching them to use and control a mouse. Not such a big deal, nowadays, but that was more than 20 years ago. All five of our children have been exposed to, interested in and skilled with electronics and technology from a very young age. That probably comes from having parents who are interested in and excited about newly emerging technologies. It’s no surprise then, that our grandchildren are equally enthusiastic about the latest technology offerings. The cool part for me, is that over time, companies have started gearing that technology specifically to the interests and abilities of the chubby-fingered prodigies whose dexterity and motor skills can make it somewhat frightening to hand over a tablet or handheld that may have cost several hundred dollars. VTech has always been at the forefront of child-geared technology and electronics. That hasn’t changed in the twenty or more years, since our oldest were small.
Today, I broke out one of their latest offerings, for our grandchildren, the MobiGo2. This is a durable, handheld that is a good size for small hands to be able to control and grip. Unlike other handheld game systems, the MobiGo2 incorporates education and fun in such a way that the kids don’t even realize they’re learning. Our grandkids have spent hours testing and “playing” games that are reinforcing letter identification, mathematics skills, sequencing, memory, small motor skills, vocabulary, spelling, problem-solving and so much more. Whether they play one of the two pre-installed games that came on the MobiGo, one of the free games we’ve downloaded, color pictures in the coloring program, or use the digital photo album, our grandchildren have been engaged in activities that challenge them to think and learn as they play. The unit’s display, slides up to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, protected underneath, to add to and enhance the gaming and learning experiences. It also has a built-in microphone, which can be used for everything to making voice commands in the programs or “blowing” bubbles in the digital album. In the end, MobiGo 2 is just plain fun and the kids never want to put it down. They have had great lessons in patience and sharing, waiting for their turn with this fun educational toy.
Something I find totally unique about the MobiGo 2 is its ability to sense motion. I haven’t seen this done effectively in other handheld toys for younger children. What this means is that in games like Hamster Highway where children are racing down a path working on eye-hand coordination and small motor skills, the game is held like a steering wheel and “steered” to dodge obstacles and move forward on the track. Gently turning the game back and forth or tilting it forward or backward allows the child to speed up, slow down or turn left or right. This is pretty impressive technology in a product designed for three- to eight-year-olds.
The MobiGo 2 also has the potential to be used as an e-reader, with several stories anticipated to be available for download, very soon. Registering the game allowed us to download three additional programs for free. The other programs available for download range in price from $2.99 to $4.99. The unit came with an installation CD that allows your MobiGo 2 to interact with your computer, loading a program called Learning Lodge onto your desktop, which allows for downloading new apps and programs and storing your account information. The MobiGo2 has around 75 MB of internal storage memory. Downloaded programs can be moved back and forth between the MobiGo2 and your computer if you want to free up memory for new games, apps or stories. They will be stored in your downloaded games folder under your account in the Learning Lodge.
If I could change one thing about the MobiGo 2 it would be to be able to add multiple users to the unit at one time. Currently, only one user account can be tracked and progress saved. You can change the name on the account, but then progress previously tracked is lost. So, currently three grandkids play with the MobiGo 2 and use the same account. Ideally they would each have their own user accounts and we would be able to track their learning progress individually. Other than that, I have been very pleased with the MobiGo 2, both as entertainment and educational tool.
The best part about MobiGo 2 is how portable it is. I don’t worry about the kids walking around with it, carrying it off to play or taking it in the car. It is sturdy and durable, made for little hands and easy to toss in a diaper bag or carry-all tote, while moving from playroom to homeschool table to playhouse or even to the park or on a roadtrip. It can easily go where your kids go and the entertainment and educational possibilities are extensive.
I think that MobiGo 2 would be an asset to any early elementary homeschooling program and a fabulous gift option with the holidays approaching. Whether you’re using it for fun, for education, or for both; I believe your that the MobiGo 2 is a good value for the price; and the children in your home will have hours of fun using it as they learn.
I participated in this campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for VTech. I received a MobiGo 2 to gather information for this review and test the product, myself. No monetary compensation was received. As with all Busy-at-Home product reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.