A few years ago we bought my daughter a Leapfrog Violet interactive teddy and when my son got a bit older he loved playing with it so for his second birthday we decided to buy him his own. We wanted to get the boy version instead though and not the purple Violet dog so decided on Scout, the green interactive toy dog. We decided to purchase the Scout read with me dog as this not only looked cute but fun and educational.
Scout is a big green dog and instead of sitting on his hind legs like Violet he is standing on all fours like a proper dog so to me he looks like a real dog and looks like he is in quite a fun, playful mood already. He has a really cute smile on his face and is made of a plush material with soft green velvety ears and he is very inviting and really fun to just cuddle.
However, there are so many different aspects to Scout that make him a really fun, educational and interactive toy. Scout has five spots on his body that you press and that make him do a different activity. There is an orange star on his head and he reacts as if you are petting him for example he says, "oh, that tickles," or, "you're my pal." He also has a spot on his back which you can pet and he barks and says that he likes that.
On one foot is a bone and Scout will introduce himself and say, "My name is Scout and I love to read with you."
The other foot has a musical note and when you press this Scout sings with you/to you. I have now heard these songs over and over again and know them off by heart as they are so catchy and yes, a little bit annoying as they are sung in quite a high children's voice but they are good teaching songs and so that is fine by me. One of the songs is a song about feelings and it goes, "do you ever feel happy or grumpy or sad, today I feel grumpy." Then Scout sings about the reasons he is grumpy or happy or sad and tells you that no matter what you are feeling its ok.
I love him because he really enforces positivity and makes a little one feel good about themselves.
There is also a song about colours which goes as such, "Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, these are the colours of the rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, these are the colours I know. "
Of course, the main point about Scout is that he reads books out loud. On his collar there are five buttons which you press to select the book you want. These are numbered one to five and correspond with the book number. The books are entitled:
Book 1 - Let's go camping
Book 2 - Let's find Scout's toy!
Book 3 - Let's have a party!
Book 4 - Let's learn about the weather
Book 5 - Let's cheer up Eli!
Scout reads the words on each page clearly so you can follow them in the book. The books are small board books but are easy to follow and very colourful. During the story Scout will diverge and talk about things in the book too which I think is great. According to the information from Leapfrog, "Scout completes each page and asks the child one of over 70 different engagement and comprehension questions over the course of the five-book set."
Leapfrog go on to say that this teaches children the following important skills:
Rhyming: helps children learn about the sounds of language and build phonological awareness
Learn-about: learn about the world through reading, and recognise how print carries meaning
Narrative: learn about how stories are put together, with characters, settings, and a sequence of events
Pattern: learn with rhymes, refrains, and repetition to predict what comes next
Concept: explore concepts like colours to label and classify new information
All in all I think this is a great concept and a really fun toy. According to an article I read, "Research has demonstrated that the most effective read-alouds are those in which children are actively involved in asking and answering questions and making predictions, rather than passively listening. " I love playing with this with my children too as we can both gets things out of Scout and its a great way to learnt whilst having fun in my opinion.