iTikes Discover Map Review (Little Tikes)
The iTikes Map from Little Tikes is a durable interactive toy that is educational and fun. It’s more limited than the top-selling tablets for kids but it’s cheaper too. If you are looking for a first electronic product for a little child, this could be the one to pick.
* Includes 6 maps on different subjects.
* Used alone, it reads aloud fun facts.
* Includes quizzes and games.
* With iPhone or iPod, download app for interactive play.
* The app brings different parts of the map to life.
* Educational and fun.
* Smart pen included.
* Holders for iPhone and iPod Touch included.
* Takes 3 AA batteries (not included).
* Age range 4-8.
Why Kids Love the iTikes Map
When used alone, the Little Tikes iTikes Map Explorer is a fun educational tablet for kids who are just learning to use interactive electronic devices. There are 6 maps included, covering: dinosaurs, cats, dogs, the solar system, music and world facts. The subjects will appeal equally to boys and girls.
There’s a smart pen that you attach and touch to different places on each map to have it read out fun facts about the subject. You can also do trivia quizzes and play games with no other equipment.
But when you use an iPhone or iPod Touch with it, it really comes to life. There are docks to hold the Apple device safely while an app interacts with the map. Then you no longer need the stylus and you have access to tons more facts, cartoons and games.
There’s a carrying strap for portability and the maps can be stored inside the tablet.
What’s Not To Like?
There are some criticisms with the app being slow or the map switching off if it is not used, but the big downside of the iTikes map for me is that to get the most out of it, the child needs to use an iPhone (3GS or 4) or iPod Touch (iTouch 4) with it. You download the app but you download it to your phone/iPod, not to the map itself. Then kids need to use the phone/iPod to bring the map to life and play interactively. This is where most of the fun is.
This is perfect for kids who have an iPhone or iPod Touch of their own. If not, they will be constantly asking to use yours, or clamoring to have you buy them one. Yes there are docks to prevent the device from being damaged while they use it, but most of us would prefer to keep our phones in our pockets.
So call me selfish but I wouldn’t get this for my kids if the only device available was my own phone. On the other hand, I would be happy for them to use it with my iPod Touch, or of course, if they had either an iPod Touch or an iPhone of their own.
I guess also if there was no Apple device in the house at all, they would have fun just playing with the standalone maps, especially at the younger end of the age range. It depends what expectations they have of electronic toys.
Kids aged around 4-8 will have a lot of fun with this tablet – especially if there is an iPod Touch or iPhone that they can use.
Published October 30th, 2012