Ah Scout, the supposedly cute little puppy chum for your baby - beloved by baby, creeps the bejesus out of me!
***What is it?***
Scout is a puppy toy (doesn't look much like a puppy to me!) made by vtech for babies up to around toddler age. His selling point is that he is programmable so that among other things he can 'learn' to say baby's name.
***Why is that so creepy?***
It's just the way he says baby's name that is totally creepy. There is always a slight pause as the computer brain puts the name into the conversation, eg 'I love you... FRASER' 'would you like to sing a song... FRASER'. It gives me the shivers. Sadly I must confess that baby loves hearing the toy say his name so I can't really get rid of it. I can also see that as baby gets older the song where scout spells his name would also help him to learn it.
Ok, this is one area that I really cannot fault the creepy critter on. Scout's rrp is 19.99 but can easily be found for half that on Amazon and other retailers. For the money you get a toy that is programmable, well made, lights up, sings etc. Really, it's pretty incredible. It does use up batteries fairly quickly, but I find this is because we forget to turn it off at the back.
***What else do you get for the money? ***
The best (but most creepy!) thing about the toy is that it plugs into the computer with a usb cord (supplied) where you can programme it with baby's name along with things likechis favourite colour, food etc. I do think that you really need a computer to get the most out of the toy, but very few people don't have one now anyway. A nice element of being able to programme scout is that you can select which songs he sings so you can change them when you get bored of them.
Scout seems pretty well made and is still in one piece despite being walloped and chucked about by the wee man. He is pretty simple so there are no small parts to get damaged. I don't really like the felt stuff that he is covered with but it is pretty easy to care for which is handy with a messy baby.
My verdict - great value for money, just find the constant appeals for love and use of baby's name incredibly sinister. Perhaps I just yearn for the days when baby toys were a little more simple, not to mention quieter!
Baby's verdict - love scout love him love him love him. Food now please.
My Pal Scout is a cuddly green puppy with buttons on his paws to make him talk, sing or play music. He is suitable from six months up and is a great toy to take around with you. I found my eldest son didn't start to grow out of this until he was around 2 years old.
He comes with a USB lead so you can hook him up to your computer and programme him with your child's name and his or her favourite things. I'm in no way way technically minded but it was simple to personalise Scout using the computer as the instructions are easy to follow. Once you've done this Scout incorporates the child's name into some of his sayings and songs. Young kids love hearing their toy say their name so this is a really fun feature. There is space inside the toy to store the lead so it doesn't get lost. You can also change the personalisation as often as you want so if your child changes his mind about what his favourite animal or food is you can easily update it. It also means you can hand it down to younger siblings as your older children grow out of it.
Scout's blue name tag lights up and flashes as he talks and sings. Pressing one of the paws makes Scout say things, another paw sings songs such as 'If You're Happy and You Know It' and a third paw plays gentle music to soothe children off to sleep at bed or nap time. The fourth paw switches him on and off. This is the only drawback to me as my son often switched Scout off while trying to get him to do stuff.
My Pal Scout comes from the manufacturers Leapfrog. I have always been a huge fan of Leapfrog toys and own a vast majority of them so My Pal Scout was an obvious purchase for my 1 year olds birthday. He is suitable from the age of 6 months and is a nice size for cuddling. He normally retails at £19.99 but often goes down in price frequently to £9.99 on Amazon and high street stores. He requires 3AA batteries.
Scout is a cuddly green puppy who wants to be your best friend and know everything about you! When you first get him home you will be required to hook him up to your computer with the provided USB lead to load your baby's details. Scout wants to know their name and spelling, lots of names are included in this list, my children have unusual names and I have not yet come across one name that cannot be found, you can also type in the way it is spelt if it is unusual, ready for scout to spell it out to your baby. He also wants to know your favourite food, colour and animal.
There are lots of different activities and scout uses your customised preferences in his songs and phrases. My babies favourite is when scout sings his name and spells it out, loves it every time. Scout also comes with a bedtime lullaby feature which you can set at 2 minutes, 5 minutes or 10 minutes of bedtime music to be played.
Each of his paws produce a different activity, music, lullabies and counting. He can also be turned off and on via his foot.
Scout is a loveable character and this is a very well loved toy, so much so that my boys now have one each.
We got Scout for my son's first birthday and although he was ignored at first he quickly became my son't much loved toy. My son enjoys the music most and plays his favourite songs again and again, he also loves to take him to bed for a cuddle.
One of the things many people worry about before buying a My Pal Scout or Violet toy is whether their child's name will be included particularly as it is no longer the possible to find lists online of available names. A quick tip to those who would prefer to check before buying, if you have an iPhone or other Apple device that takes apps download one of the Scout apps like Scout 123 carnival. It will invite you to make a profile and choose your child's name so Scout can say it in the game. The name options it gives are the same as those on the Scout cuddly toy so it is a quick was to check before you buy.
If your child's name is on the list but spelled a different way than you use, like Jane/Jayne or Jaiden/Jayden it is possible to put one name for the sound and change the spelling so when Scout spells your child's name out to them the version you use is spelled out even if you had to select a different spelling of the name when you set it up.
If your child's name isn't included there is the option to use something like 'buddy' so all children can enjoy Scout even if they have an unusual name
The best things about Scout is the personalisation, the range of linked in products so if your child gets attached to Scout you can get a range of Scout things and the fact that it is really cute.
The major downside I have found is it is really hard to clean, when my son is ill he wants to cuddle his much loved toy and I am terrified he will be sick on him as it will be a nightmare to clean. Also Scout toys occasionally develop loose connections meaning the sound is a bit off. There are instructions online on how you can remedy that at home or if you would prefer not to Leapfrog are generally helpful with concerns.
I would definitely recommend Scout, the only thing I would say is I think six months and up isn't a sensible age range. Babies cannot press the buttons and it is too large for them. I would think one year and up is a far more sensible age range. That is why another My Pal Scout is hiding in the cupboard waiting for my younger son's first birthday.
My Grandparents brought this as a gift for your daughter when she was 10 months old and it is a toy she has really grown into.
The best thing about Scout is he grows with your child, not literally (of course) but you can download new material to suite different age groups. Our daughter is still at stage one, she is now 19 months old but I think we will soon download the next lot of activities.
It was easy to set scout up and took myself and my Husband about 20 minutes in total.
You connect him to your pc or laptop and download the right age category for your child.
One problem we did have was that our daughters name Thea and one of the nice things about this toy is that it can be personalised by selecting your child's name so that it can be incorporated into songs etc. unfortunately Thea was not in the list of names as it is not very common we requested it to be added but the pronunciation was completely different to her name more like Tia, not wanting to confuse her we chose to select her middle name instead as we call her Thea Bella or sometimes just Bella so she is familiar with that being her name also.
This means that Scout will say things like 'I love you Bella' and 'lets sing a song about...' he will go on to spell out her name.
He also plays bedtime music and you can choose how long this is played for before automatically switching off so it's nice if you want your little one to have something to take to bed.
He has a little collar which lights up when he is being used and when they are older he has more interactive games.
This is a lovely toy and will gets lots and lots of use as our little one grows up so I would definatly recommend him.
For some reason our daughter recently named hers Puggy, no actual idea where she got this name from but that is the one that stuck and she did not want to call him Scout, this was a name she gave him after having him for a year as it was bought for her first birthday present but it is still a toy that she plays with a decent amount even if it now is used slightly differently as part of the role playing she seems to do a bit more of these days. It is aimed at the 6 month to 36 month old age. I have no idea how much it cost at the time as it was a present however looking online it can be bought on Amazon for £17.29, do be aware that it needs 3AA batteries , these are included but it annoys me when they need an odd number as when you replace them you are always left with an odd battery unless you buy in bulk. Looking at Amazon there is also a female version called Violet which is a different colour, you can guess from the name what she looks like. In terms of size Puggy is 26.7 x 24.1 x 16.5 cm.
The toy itself can be connected to your PC to download additional songs and to add your childs name so that it is used in the songs that the dog produces, this is a really nice touch I think and gives the toy a sense of ownership. It is very easy to upload the information througfh the website and there is a decent amount of options, there are five songs already loaded so it is pretty much ready to go straight away but it is well worth personalising it and to help keep the toy fresh and something your child wants to play with.
The toy is very easy to operate as all of the sensors are in the paws, by pressing these you get a range of songs or lullabies. The play mode is currently my daughters favourite as Puggy communicates with her, asking for cuddles and other such things, this is where personalising it with your childs name comes in helpful as it enhances the role play. When she was younger she was more into hearing the different songs but now the talking and interacting are far more of interest to her.
Build wise it is a soft play toy, the inner workings such as the battery pack are very well padded and the long ears seem to be one method my daughter uses to move Puggy around. The one downside is that he is starting to look a bit grubby as with the components in him you cannot really give him a wash. The paws are pretty easy to press although it took a while for my daughter to totally master these so befew months at least. aware if buying for a six month old as you will be doing it for them for the first
This is a good and affordable toy which has generated a lot of play. The batteries have lasted the year and there has been no deterioration in the quality of the voice which is an English accent by the way and not one of those awful mid Atlantic ones you sometimes get with such toys. I would certainly recommend this as a good purchase and an entertaining toy for your childs enjoyment and development.
We purchased this toy for my sons first Christmas when he was six months old and it has been well loved ever since.
**The toy **
Scout was a lot bigger than I expected he is big enough for little one to cuddle to hold although he looked very large next to my six month old son when he received him for Christmas but this seemed to be half of the appeal. The teddy himself is extremely soft meaning little one can cuddle them without any trouble and he has a cute face that is soft and playful great for younger children. The activities of this toy are on his paws on his hands and feet and are very easy to press by themselves as the markings for the activities are large there is no trouble for little one to find how to operate scout.
You can personalise scout using the usb connecter and then going to the leapfrog site and you can choose which songs you would like to upload which include a happy birthday tune, Christmas songs and many other choices of lullaby's and popular children's songs meaning you can choose the songs you think your child would like best. You can also program your child's name into the program so it is used in the songs that scout plays along with a number of other options including favourite colour which I thought was fantastic as it means it really can be personalised to your child's taste. We found the personalisation of the toy very easy to do and it can be changed when you like meaning that if a child becomes bored with the options you have chosen you can shake things up a little by personalising it again.
The soft fur of scout can only be wiped down which means he is becoming a little grubby and looking a little tired but other than that he is in full working order and after 18 months we still have the batteries that came with scout in the toy and there is no slowing of voice or any deterioration.
At the back of the toy is a compartment which is where the batteries go and there is also a volume button so you can choose between different noise levels although my children like to have it on the highest setting and I do not find this too loud except at bed time.
Each of the paws activates different play modes so little one can choose which they wish to play.
Play- This mode is one of my children's favourites when you press the button scout will talk to little one about different things it will ask the child to cuddle them and different questions using the child's name so they know it is directed at them. This is the most interactive part of this toy and it is very entertaining to watch the child laugh and scout gets the hiccups or squeeze the toy when he asks for a cuddle.
Day time songs- In pushing this paw little one is rewarded with different upbeat songs that have been uploaded. There are around five songs in total and they play on a loop and it is great to see little one moving around enjoying the music about their favourite things while introducing them to words.
Night time songs- These are the slower lullabies which you have loaded on to scout and is said to be perfect for bed time but to be honest as little one has to interact with the toy to receive two minutes of songs I tend to let them use it downstairs before they go up to their room otherwise they would never sleep and would continue to play with the toy rather than drift of too sleep.
On/off - The final button is the on/off button so little one can interact with the toy when they wish although there is a switch at the back of the toy to turn it off completely.
This toy is recommended from six months plus and this is when we purchased it for our son for Christmas. The teddy is massive compared to a child of that age and so I did think it was a little large and although it was used it was mainly by my two older children who would press the button for Logan. As soon as my son was walking he began dragging scout around with him it was not until he was around a year old he started to use the interactive buttons and really start to get some use out of scout and for that reason I do think the age range needs to be a little higher. Other than the interactive modes scout is perfect for cuddles his cute face draws little one in and the long ears were loved by all three of my children. It is extremely soft and cuddly and even with the battery pack at the back of the toy the soft outer fabric hides this and allows little ones to really enjoy cuddles with the character.
The range of songs is great and the fact it can be personalised anytime means you can choose which songs you wish to have on there and keep things interesting for little one without it becoming boring. My youngest son loves scout and although now he is two he has begun playing with it a lot less he still does use scout often meaning he has had a lot of use.
The buttons are a little hard to press for younger children but after a few days of really playing with scout when he was around a year old my son figured out where he needed to press and now he can play independently which is great as he is at the age he wants to do everything for himself.
All three of my children love scout but he does receive a lot more play from my daughter who is three and my son now two, I thought they may become a little bored with this toy as it is simple and repetitive but actually they still love it even after all this time.
My daughter has a usual name and as she loved playing with her brother's scout so much we were going to be the violet version for her birthday but I thought I would check that her name was available first. The system has a huge amount of names with different spellings but unfortunately Kiana was not one of them and this stopped me from purchasing the toy for her as I know she would be upset that her little brothers spoke his name and hers could not. Scout does not have to be personalised and will work with the songs already preloaded for demonstration mode but as she had seen that my sons would say his name I thought she would be a little disappointed.
This toy is recommended from six months to three years old but I think personally that the lower end of the age range is a little low as the teddy was nearly as big as my son at this age and there was not much he could do with it other than look at it. I think it is great it can be personalised to suit your child and this is more exciting than other musical toys we own.
This teddy has lasted 18 months so far and has been well loved by my children and I love it too. The teddy is really cute and just begging to be played with and at around £20 to purchase I think it is great value. There is a girl's version of scout called violet but personally I think scout is suitable for both boys and girls. You can purchase scout/Violet from all children's toys shops and online stores such as Amazon.
We bought this toy for my eldest daughter. She was six months old and absolutely adored this toy. She loves it that much that she takes it to bed with her everynight even now (although it does get annoying when she moves round in her sleep and we can hear it playing on the baby monitor!!).
We purchased this for £19.99, although I have seen it at half the price since. It can be bought from various places including Sainsburys and Boots.
Basically you plug the teddy into your computer and follow the instructions to program it in. My daughter loves the fact that it says her name and teaches her how to spell it....it makes her feel extra special, and you can even program it to say what her favourite food, colour, animal etc are. It barks and plays a variety of tunes.
This isn't the first My Pal Scout we have had...the first one actually swore! I was round at my in-laws house reading a copy of the sun newspaper, when I read an article about someones child learning how to swear because of it. I went home and told my husband, who assured me that it didn't swear. Checking for myself, my husband and I were shocked that it did infact swear-but when we contacted Leapfrog they apologised, sent out a letter apologising, with a free adress we could send the teddy back to. We received a replacement two days later, which was a revised one that no longer swore.
Although I wasn't impressed with my daughters new teddy that swore, luckily we noticed before she did, so no harm was done. The new one is fantastic, and she can play for hours with it. We've even bought My Pal Violet for our other daughter as they kept trying to snatch it off each other.
My Pal Scout is a 12" tall plush puppy in green and white, it can also be purchases in purple and white called My Pal Violet. Scout is made form lovely soft huggable fabric and even thought it has the battery compartment, USB port, and power / volume switch securely hidden inside and kept in place by a Velcro fastening it is still an ideal toy for a little one to take to bed.
One of the biggest attractions for me was the fact that Scout can be personalised with your child's name, favourite food, colour and animal and you can choose five songs for Scout to sing from up to 30 online, these can be changed at a later date as your child grows. To customise you do need internet connection, I found personalising Scout fairly easy as the instructions that are supplied are easy to follow and it took me about 15 minutes. If you did not have internet connection you can use the pre loaded songs and phrases which are great to.
To interact with Scout you press his paws which all have a different symbol on them which coincide with that particular paws function
* Lower bottom paw - a red circle with a vertical line, is the on off button.
* Upper left paw - a green musical note plays songs / rhymes.
* Lower right paw - a blue moon and stars plays 2 minutes of bedtime music / lullabies.
* Upper right paw - a purple tennis ball says numerous phrases like "I'm happy show me your biggest smile".
The only downside of the personalisation is that you have to put in your child's favourite colour, animal and food and as my son was only six months old when he received this I had to make these up but as stated previously these can easily be changed at a later date, another problem with this is the choices of names available on the website, my son has a fairly common name so we were ok with this but if your child has a unusual name this could be a problem, although there are suggestions for nicknames on the website.
My Pal Scout / Violet have won numerous awards
2011 Mother and Baby, Silver Award.
2011 Top Toy Awards, Gold Award.
2011 Rainbow Awards, My Pal Scout Best Soft Toy.
2011 Practical-Pre School Awards, Toys & Games 0-3, Gold Award.
2011 Toy Talk Awards, Best Cuddly Toy.
2011 Practical Parenting Award, Best Baby Toy under £20, Gold Award.
2011 Loved by Parents Best Interactive Toy, Gold Award.
2010 Mother and Baby Magazine, Mother and Baby Silver Award.
2010 Right Start Toy Awards, Best Toy, Bronze Award.
2009 Toy Talk Awards, Musical Toy Winner.
2009 Practical Pre-School Award, Winner Silver Award.
Scout is recommended from 6 months to 3 years, which is why my mum purchased him for my 7 month old son for Christmas. Although it is recommended from 6 months I feel my son will get more benefit from this product as an educational toy when he is a bit older at the moment he just likes to listen to the music and watch scouts name tag light up blue in time with music.
This product requires 3 AAA batteries which have to be replaced by using a screwdriver. The batteries that came with the product are still going strong in the Scout we received a Christmas which has had moderate use.
My Pal Scout can be purchased from most toy stockists but can be purchased on Amazon for £19.40.
Overall I think this was a fantastic purchase although my son will get more benefit from the educational side of this toy when he is older as at the moment he is too young to play Scouts "Guess what I am" games and "If your happy and you know it clap your paws", but he does like to laugh at me singing along to the songs and doing all the actions.
The only down side is the fact it isn't machine washable.
My Pal Scout is by far the best toy I have bought for my son and for a bargain price! I actually purchased mine from Boots in their 3 for 2 mix and match Christmas offers. Leapfrog toys are excellent learning aides for children and I already have a list of toys from the range ready to buy when my son reaches the appropriate ages. My Pal Scout (or Violet for the girls) is a stuffed dog that you can connect to your computer and you can enter information such as your child's name, favourite food, favourite animal and favourite colour which all get incorporated into songs and phrases. The look on my 6 month old son's face when Scout says his name is priceless! On the box, it says that you can choose from over 30 songs to download onto the toy but don't be fooled . I assumed that there would be a choice of nursery rhymes to pick from but they are just tunes and not many were familiar which I was disappointed with. You get to choose 5 bedtime songs and 5 nursery rhymes but the choice wasn't great, they even consisted of Christmas songs which isn't great for an 'all year' toy!! The songs that include your 'favourites' are lovely though and my son has hours of fun playing with Scout! Definitely a good buy!
I am a new mum and I am constantly on the look-out for good toys for little boy - he is 6 months old. I have heard a lot of good things about Leapfrog toys - not only are they entertaining but they are also educational, which is very appealing to me. I had seen and heard a little about My Pal Scout but didn't know a great deal about this toy. I saw it on the shelf in my local Boots store and decided to have a little look at it and find out what it is all about. It is aimed at 6-36 month old children so perfect for my young son.
Scout is a large green and white dog (it also comes as My Pal Violet - violet and white), and is perfect for both boys and girls. The face is happy and appealing to children and as soon as my son saw it he wanted to hold it! Each of Scouts four paws has an embroidered design - On/Off Paw, Lullabies Paw, Activities Paw and Daytime Songs Paw. Pressing on any of these paws brings Scout to life (unless turning him off). Whilst in the display box, in demonstration mode, Scout has a limited number of songs and phrases that can be heard. While Scout is talking or playing music his name tag also flashes. My little boy was really impressed with this - he loves anything that plays music or has lights, I decided to buy this for him as it looks like something that will develop with him. When I bought this in Boots it was around £15 but it is around £20 in most stores.
Getting Scout Home
Before you can customise Scout you have to download the LEAPFROG Connect Application from the Leapfrog website. By doing this you can customise Scout to say your child's name, favourite food, favourite colour and favourite animal, it also allows you to chose songs for Scout to play. In the box with Scout there is a USB cable to allow you to connect Scout to the PC or Mac. The LEAPFROG Connect Application also allows you to create a Learning Path on-line, this can be set to email you with the skills that your child is exploring and gives you further learning ideas to help your child. Clearly my son is a little young for this at the moment but it was interesting to see this and I'm looking forward to the day that we can fully use these tools.
Scout has an opening in his back, held closed with Velcro in which his battery pack and USB port can be found. This pack also allows Scout to be turned off and there is a volume control - I find this useful at bedtime. Once connected to the PC or Mac Scout can then be personalised; first you type in your child's name - they have a huge database of names so will be able to say most names. Next you select favourite animal colour and food this involves clicking a checkbox, again there is a huge range of each to choose from (this is useful as it can be changed in future and therefore constantly change Scouts messages). Then you can choose up to 5 daytime and 5 lullaby melodies from a selection of over 30 tunes - some are well known (including some Christmas ones) but there are also some that you won't know - but you will in future! Again this can be changed as often as you want so you never get bored of hearing the same tunes every day. There is an option to listen to the tunes before selecting the ones you want too - useful for an older child to select their own melodies. There is also an option to print a Puppy Adoption Certificate, lyrics and colouring pages. Once connected you also have the option of joining the learning path for your child where you can track their progress in learning with Scout. After this is all complete Scout is ready to go.
Playing with Scout
Daytime Songs Paw - pressing this paw makes Scout play the melodies selected when personalising Scout. In addition there are some 'learning songs' - at the moment we are singing about wanting a dog, who is blue and likes to eat bananas (our favourite things)! My little boy loves this tune and my husband and I can't help but sing along too! Scout also sings about the child spelling out their name, which I think is a great way of learning, getting them singing and spelling, it is so catchy you really can't help but join in. My little boy loves it when we sing to him and also loves musical toys, so I think at the moment this is his favourite paw.
Activities Paw - pressing this paw will prompt Scout to speak about the favourite things, he also makes animal sounds and talks about feelings - I think it is really sweet when he tells the child that he loves them.
Lullabies Paw - pressing this paw makes Scout say goodnight or snuggle up to the child before playing either 2, 5 or 10 minutes of your preselected lullabies. We use this every night when going to bed, my son is already beginning to associate this with bedtime, it is at this point I ensure that the volume is turned down low.
On/Off Paw - pressing this will turn Scout off or on, pressing any paw will bring Scout back to life though.
Our Thoughts on Scout
I think Scout is great, my son loves playing with him and although he really is too young to appreciate what Scout is saying he loves cuddling him (and biting his nose!) and is quickly learning how to make Scout sing or talk to him. I can see how this toy can really help children develop as they get older and I can see my son being very attached to him too. I like the fact that parents can log onto the website to see how exactly Scout is helping your child to develop. Scout manages to combine learning with being a very inviting cuddly toy, he has a happy smiley face and is a good size for small hands to hold onto and cuddle. In addition to helping children learn about numbers and words, I think the fast that he speaks about feelings is something that is often overlooked in other educational toys but is still an important life skill that children should be learning from a young age. My purchase has also drawn me to other Leapfrog products that will benefit my child as he grows. I can't recommend Scout highly enough and I look forward to watching my son develop with his help.
I will start by saving in all honesty, I think my baby (currently 7 months old) would be perfectly happy with only one toy: Scout! We got it for him for Christmas (2010) using some Tesco Exchange vouchers, so essentially for free, but it is worth every single penny (and more) of the £19.99 or so it generally retails for.
I was immediately drawn to Scout by the bright green colour, the friendly looking face and the fact you can easily personalise him with your baby/child's name and favourite food, colour and animal. Scout is designed to learn as your child does.
Scout is interactive, and provides literally hours of fun. It can double up as a sleep aid too, with the options for up to 10 minutes of soothing bedtime music. If I'm going out for the day/staying overnight somewhere, the one toy I would pack without hesitation (after my son's 'soother') is Scout, he's so multi-purpose and just a fabulous distraction from crying/refusal to eat etc!
For the price I think Scout is exceptional value for money, and provides hours of fun for your child, no matter their age. I really think he is my 7 month olds best friend, he can always make him smile, no matter what!
The only one, teeny tiny thing I dislike about Scout is that you can't remove/replace all of the songs. There is one which I think sounds rude: If You're Happy And You Know It 'Bark With Me', which I think sounds more like 'F**k With Me'...just sayin'!
Word of warning though, you WILL get the songs stuck in your head. FACT!
When his Great Grandma asked what Freddy would like for Christmas one of our suggestions was the Leapfrog My Pal Scout. Although Freddy already had several Leapfrog toys, I'm not really sure what I expected from Scout, only ever having read reviews I knew that Scout could be personalised, but didn't realise just how big he is.
==Our Friend Scout==
Scout came packaged in an open-faced cardboard box, that was relatively easy open. The fact that I can't remember there being a particularly huge number of plastic ties that needed untwisting is a testament to how quick and easy he was to free ready for play. Although Scout can be played with as soon as he was removed from the box, your child will have far more fun if you spend a little time setting him up.
Scout himself is a surprisingly large soft toy, especially as he's advertised as being suitable for babies as young as six months old. Sitting about ten inches high, Scout is made of the most beautifully huggable, soft, pale green plush, with darker green ears and white nose, tummy and paws. With his child-like, friendly face, it's almost as if he's begging to be cuddled. There's a battery compartment on Scout's back that is hidden behind a Velcro flap. As an adult it's a little fiddly to get to the on/off switch, USB connector and screw closed battery compartment, which is reassuring as it means it's even harder for little hands. As well as switching Scout on and off the switch also allows us to choose between full and half volume. Scout takes three AA batteries, but a demonstration set is supplied and these are still going strong with over two months of daily use.
Before giving Scout to Freddy for the first time I connected him to my laptop via the rather short supplied USB lead to personalise him. Although the supplied USB lead is a little too short, it is a standard micro USB connection, so since then I've used an old camera lead that is rather longer, which makes it a little easier to connect Scout. Once Scout is connected, the required software is automatically installed, after which your internet browser of choice opens and takes you to the Leapfrog website, where you can download and personalise Scout to your heart's content. I can't say how easy this process is with other browsers, but I've encountered no difficulty using Firefox.
Among the different aspects that can be personalised there are a number of different songs for different occasions. As Freddy received this at Christmas, I loaded a couple of Christmas songs including Jingle Bells. But on his birthday next month, I'll be changing on of the songs to Happy Birthday. Most of this songs are actually tunes rather than songs, but they are all recognisable. You are also able to program Scout with your child's name, when I added Freddy's it gave me a choice of two spellings, but when I checked the sample it sounded right. Along with your child's name you can also program their favourite colour, animal and food all of which are incorporated into Scouts songs and phrases. Once Scout is programmed, he does need to be 'ejected' from the computer before disconnected so as not to damaged to internal flash drive, but this is easily done via a prompt on the website. And then Scout is ready to be played with.
Each of Scouts four paws will activate a different activity, well three of them really as one of his feet is an off button. The other foot will play two minutes of bedtime music, which tunes it plays depends on what you have downloaded, but all of the choices are slow and calming. Included in the choices for this selection is Brahms lullaby, which Freddy loves. One of the paws has a musical note and plays a selection of much more lively tunes, including one that involves spelling out your child's name and another that goes through your child's favourite things. Although, I must stress that again what tunes this plays depends on what choices you made when downloading. The final paw activates some activities, during one of which Scout makes animal noises and then asks the child what animal they think he's pretending to be. As well as playing the tunes and saying phrases, the bone on Scout's collar flashes.
Although there is a volume control, this really only gives a choice between loud and very loud. Even the lower volume is loud enough to be heard in another room, and if Scout is accidentally set off in the night then it's loud enough to startle a child awake. The higher volume is, naturally, far louder and loud enough to have woken me during the night even in another room through a closed door. So as far as I'm concerned this is a loveable toy, that is great for during the day, but not to be used in the cot at night unless switched off.
==Freddy's New Friend==
Freddy was nine months old when he received this for Christmas, which I would say is just the right age to start playing with Scout. I really think Scout is a little too large for younger babies, and they might have a little trouble pressing the buttons. At nine months old, Freddy was fascinated with Scout and the fact that it said his name (in a very child-like, English voice) as well as playing lots of music, but he found pressing the buttons just a little too difficult. We did originally allow him to Scout to bed with him, that is until we were woken up at four in the morning on several occasions. As Freddy would toss and turn in his cot he would accidentally set Scout off and that was not only waking us up, but also waking him. So if you buy this for your child (or someone else does) a big tip is do not allow your child to take this to bed with them.
It's only really been in the last couple of weeks that Freddy has been able to play with Scout independently and Scout is now a toy that Freddy will actively seek out. At eleven months, Freddy finds Scout a perfect size to hold and cuddle and he has no trouble pressing any of the buttons. Even though he will press the other buttons (and laugh at the phrases and songs), Freddy absolutely adores the two minutes of bedtime music. It's quite sweet to watch him examine each of the paws, before pressing the foot, setting the music off, then grinning as he give Scout a cuddle. As far as how long Scout keeps Freddy's attention, well it's long enough for me to start to get a little annoyed at the very childish voice, but not long enough to make me want to switch it off. At a rough guess, I'd say that Freddy plays with this for about a quarter of an hour at a time, but several times a day.
Although Freddy does love Scout, he also likes to suck on it's paws, sometimes making them quite soggy. I was a little worried that this would affect the electronics, but so far so good. It has meant that Scout is a little grubby though, and being an electronic toy, I can't stick it through the washing machine.
All in all, while Freddy can't actually tell me how much he loves Scout in words, he can show me by his actions. Freddy will regularly pull Scout out to play with, even if Scout is behind other toys and he has to make a real effort to get him (sometimes taking 5 minutes just to get hold of Scout). So I would say that Scout has made quite an impression and if Freddy could talk, he'd give him five out of five.
==Scout The Teacher==
As with any toy, Scout will help your baby learn new skills as they play with him, in fact Leapfrog are renowned for how educational their toys are. According to the Leapfrog website, Scout will help teach your child first words, daily routines, early number sense, animals and emotions and feelings. And I guess all this is true as depending on which phrases and songs Scout has been programmed with, all of these aspects are covered. But Scout will also help your child perfect their fine motor skills as they learn to press the paws and are rewarded with songs and phrases. Scout is also so cuddly that he makes a great comforter.
As to the recommended age group, well while Scout is safe enough for a baby six months or even younger, I personally think he's a little too large for these younger babies. At nine months, Scout was the perfect size for Freddy to hold and Freddy was just about perfecting the skills required to make him work. While now at eleven months old, Freddy is able to play with Scout independently, so I would say that Scout is perfect for babies from about nine months. As to the older limit, well that obviously depends on the child and while I could see a child of three taking Scout to bed with them as a comforter, I really couldn't see them playing with him much.
Although Scout is a well loved, much played with toy, it's not one that I think is worth paying the full recommended price of £19.99 for. He is very cuddly and I like the way that he can be personalised, with the sounds being changed again and again. But he is far too loud for me to allow Freddy to take him to bed. Also this is not a toy that I would recommend if you don't have access to the internet, as it's unique selling point is that it can be personalised and this cannot be done without an internet connection. But all in all, even with these minor quibbles I would still give Scout four stars out of five, simply because Freddy does love him so much.
We brought this for my son for christmas (he was 8 months at the time). We were immediatly impressed with this toy. It was on offer half price £9.99 at argos which was an absolute bargain would have happily paid the full price or more for it!
It comes with a usb cable so that you can choose what songs you want it to play and you personalise it with your childs name, favourite animal, favourite colour, favourite food and it sings songs and says phrases about this.
There is a wide range of songs/names/foods etc so it really can be made for your child.
My son loves it especially when you first turn it on and it says "hello name."
There is also a button that plays 3/5mins of bedtime music.
It has a blue collar with scout written on that flashes blue light which my son likes aswell.
Recently someone has complained to my local paper about this toy as there is a song where it says "if your happy and you know it bark with me, woof, woof" and they are moaning saying it sounds like "f**k with me" but i think that is ridiculous, yes maybe if you arent listening properly it might sound a bit like that but no child is going to think that, and if you listen it clearly says bark and even says woof woof after.
I would reccomend this to anyone with a child from a baby to about 3 my baby loves it and you can change and update the songs and favourite things so your child will never get bored.
My 3 year old son had a Fisherprice learning puppy when he was a baby and still loves it now so I wanted something similar for my 4 month old daughters Christmas present. When I spotted Scout we had to have him! It's amazing how things have advanced even in 3 years!
Scout is lovely and soft a cuddly with a safely concealed battery pack in his back, a blue flashing collar and pressable paws for activities, learning songs, lullabies and an off button. The lullaby option is great as it gives the option of playing the music for 2, 5 or 10 minutes!
By far the best thing about Scout is the option to personalise him which is why I was so drawn to this toy. It comes with a USB cable and software that allows you to choose up to 5 separate songs and lullabies to play when the paws are pressed and even add your childs name!
The software is easy to install and use with step by step instructions, it did seem to take a long time to install but I'm not sure whether this is due to my laptop! Once installed the software gives you the option to choose the age range of your child. For obvious reasons I have only tried the infant selection.
It then gives you a selection of music to choose from and lets you play the music first to see if it's right for you. (This reminds me... I must change the Christmas music I put on Scout!)
The next option is to personalise the activity paw. Scout says what his favorite animal and food is and you can choose to make it the same as your childs favorite! (cat + milk for us seeing I can't ask my little one ;) )
The name personalisation part it brilliant. You can type your childs name in and play the names the software comes up with to make sure it's pronounced how you pronounce it. It doesn't matter if this part is spelled differently to how you spell it because the next step is to spell your childs name to ensure that Scout gets it right in his songs.
Scout sings and spells out your chosen name and always uses it when 'talking' to your little one. It so sweet when I hear it say "I love you Maya" to my daughter. ahhhh
Well it's obvious that I like it but it's not my toy is it... Well even though my daughter is only tiny she seems to love it already! The flashing colour got her attention at first and she likes brightly coloured things. She also likes to cuddle Scout and suck his ear... I'll take it as a thumbs up from her! Even my 3 year old really likes Scout and its his favorite thing to play with his little sister with. Because it says Mayas name though and not his there is no risk of him becoming too attached and running away with it. He knows it's his sisters special toy!
I really would recommend this as a good buy for a baby or younger child. It's one of those toys that will be with them for a long time. If you have a small baby to buy for and you're not sure what to get then go for this! I'll be buying for my little niece when she arrives!