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LeapFrog MyPal Violet Interactive Teddy
Member Name: arleek
LeapFrog MyPal Violet Interactive Teddy
Date: 18/06/10, updated on 18/06/10 (269 review reads)
Advantages: There are too many to list
Disadvantages: Tunes get stuck in your head
This was a Christmas gift for my almost 3 year old last Christmas, and when she opened it and I saw that it was recommended from 6 months to 3 years I was a bit disappointed because she was 3 almost straight after Christmas. But 6 months on and this is still one of her favourite toys, the enjoyment doesn't end when they turn 3 and to be honest I think they older they are, the more they can get from this cute little toy!
It actually looks like a standard cuddly dog/soft toy, but it's actually an interactive Puppy called Violet, made by Leapfrog, that you can personalise with your child's details, it's one that you can plug into your computer with a USB cable (provided). Once you plug Violet into your computer (or Scout if you have the green version) I'm not sure whether the website automatically uploads or you have to find the website yourself, but you have to download some software, and then the fun can begin. I remember it all being very simple, because we did it on Christmas morning amidst all the other chaos that was going on at the time! This software stays on your PC and you can change the details whenever you like.
You get to put your child's name into the software, their favourite food, animal, and colour. You also get to choose 5 songs from the list provided, and 5 lullabies. These can be changed whenever you like, you just need to plug the toy back into your computer. On counting up on our current software, there are actually only 25 tunes to choose from and only 15 lullabies, so there is not a massive amount, but I suppose it's plenty really, we don't really have any complaints, and it's nice that you can change them whenever you want to. Some of them I have never heard of, but there are familiar ones in there such as Twinkle Twinkle, Mary Had A Little Lamb, and well known lullabies (Rock-A-Bye Baby, Brahms Lullaby). There are also a few Christmas songs, which was handy at Christmas time! What I have also noticed about the tunes is that some of them are quite unrecognisable but if you listen hard you can actually make out what they are meant to be.
Once you have uploaded everything you need onto Violet, you then get to see (or hear) what she can do. The first thing you'll notice is that it says your child's name and makes up a song about it, and also spells it (you get the option to input into the software the correct spelling of your child's name, if they happen to have an unusual name that might be spelt a bit differently). She will also say things like 'I like...FISH FINGERS!' (my daughter's favourite food). And funnily enough her favourite colour is pink and favourite animal is a dog...just the same as my daughter!
She thought this was amazing when she first heard it, it made her laugh and I don't think she could believe that a toy could like all the same things as her. I think it baffled her to be honest!! It's all done in a British accent as well which is a bonus, but it's not an accent my daughter would class as British, with us being from Up North!!
You activate all the functions by using Violet's four paws, one is the on/off switch which although doesn't need to be pressed to activate the toy, Violet will greet your child when you press this button. It can be used to turn her off though (only temporarily though, they main on/off switch is inside on the battery compartment located inside Violet accessed via the back).
The other paws activate music, games and lullabies, this option allows you to have 2, 5 or 10 minutes of bedtime music and depending on which option you select Violet will work her way through 2, 5 or 10 minutes of the lullabies you originally selected from the software.
This is perhaps a handy function for a younger baby who might need to music to sleep to because the tunes are slow and quiet, and it does shut itself off after the allotted time is up. My 3 year old however just likes to listen to it sometimes, and will often go and get Violet when she feeling like a lay down and will activate these tunes herself and just lay on the settee cuddling Violet and listening to the music.
With some of the tunes Violet will also sing along, and one we have at the moment is 'If You're Happy And You Know It' and I just love it when I hear my daughter singing along as well. Sometimes I wonder if Violet has helped my daughter to sing in tune!!
What I love about Violet's paws is that they are so easy to activate, it must be quite a sensitive button in each paw which makes it so simple for a child to press. So thankfully there are no tantrums when the child cannot press the button to activate the functions, unlike on a certain Upsy Daisy toy we have (oh the tantrums I have gone through with that blasted thing!). They are so easy to press in fact that my 19month old has no problems with playing this toy, and she understands the whole idea of it as well (I might even be tempted to buy one for her so she has her very own Violet, because the arguments between my two daughters over this toy are sometimes unbearable).
The other good thing is that if you press a paw to activate something, if you don't like that particular thing you just press again and it moves onto the next, there is no need to sit through a tune you don't like. My daughter often sits there pressing her paws trying to find her favourite tune.
We all love Violet in our house, especially my daughter, I think it's the that fact it's her own personal puppy that really appeals to her, especially because she says her name and seems to talk to her, and is always pleased to see her! That fact that you can vary her tunes and her favourite things (we all know how fickle children can be) gives it a different spin because in theory your child will never get bored of it. But they will grow out of it...and the beauty of that is that you can re-programme her to suit another child!
Violet, or Scout is definitely something I would buy for someone else's child, based purely on how much enjoyment my children have had from it. It can seem a bit pricey, but I think it's worth it.
The website says it aids learning, first words, numbers, animals and daily routines, I wouldn't go so far as to say it helps with that (I'd like to take the credit for most of those milestones thank you) but I think it may assist in helping children with their interaction skills, even if it is only with a pretend puppy!
Violet requires 3 x AA batteries which come provided with the toy, and I have only just replaced these today (so 6 months use - not bad!).
You can get Violet or Scout from popular retailers including Toys R Us, Boots, Mothercare, Asda Tesco. The price is usually around £19.99 but it's currently on Amazon for £15.82.
Summary: Great little buddy for your little bubby
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