* Prices may differ from that shown
== Introduction ==
For my daughters main Christmas present of 2012 I bought her an Innotab 2 children's learning tablet, it's been a great purchase and I've had my money's worth out of it ten times over. Recently Lily-May has been getting into Hello Kitty and for her birthday I bought her a Hello Kitty scooter and I decided to get her this Innotab Game, despite my own feelings on the Hello Kitty brand.
== The Product ==
The Hello Kitty cartridge is compatible with the Innotab 2 and the newer Innotab 3S, which only came out a year after I bought the Innotab 2 unfortunately for me. For anyone that hasn't bought an Innotab for their child, I highly recommend it, there are some great learning apps out there for children and this is just one of them. As with all the other Innotab cartridges, this one is also designed to help with the school curriculum. The instruction booklet explains what part of the curriculum each learning game on the cartridge helps with, for example; Cake Time on this cartridge deals with colours/shapes/memory skills. This cartridge is split into three sections; Interactive Story, Learning Games, & Creativity.
After the cartridge has loaded up, we see a little animated screen with all the different activities on the cartridge, and to do each activity you just tap an icon with your finger.
Each cartridge comes with an interactive story and this one comes with 'Hello Kitty's Surprise'. Each page is interactive, you can tap on the illustrations to watch some animation or hear Hello Kitty and her friends say something. There are also certain words, which are highlighted in red and clicking on them prompts a little box to pop up explaining what that word means, such as "wondered - When Hello Kitty wondered who would be at the party, she was thinking about it because she was not sure". The pages of the story turn automatically after about a minute, this is usually a lot longer than your child will probably need on the page, so your child can turn the pages manually swiping his/her finger across the screen. The story has different modes, you can have it narrated, or you can read it yourself, when it is being narrated each word turns red as it is being read and then changes back to blue when the whole page has been read, except for the keywords, which are highlighted red. The story on this cartridge isn't that great, and even Lily-May rarely plays the story, it just doesn't have the same appeal as previous interactive stories she has read and at the end of the story there is an option to read it again and Lily-May always touches "No". The story basically follows Hello Kitty as she is trying to organize a surprise party for her friends.
This cartridge has three learning games on it, which I shall explain in more detail below, the games are Cake Time, Hello Kitty The Magician, and Dance To The Music.
=== Cake Time ===
This game has two difficulty settings, easy or difficult, there is no in between level, although, the difficult setting isn't that much harder than the easy setting, it does provide a bit more of a challenge for your child though. The game starts off by asking you to pick a coloured item and drag it onto a cake with your finger. This is good for helping your child with colours, Lily-May found this to be too easy and whizzed through it. At the end of the colours part of the game, you get a time limit to rearrange the items on the cake, this is just a bit of fun to make your child feel he/she has accomplished something. The next part of the game is a memory game, two characters are displayed and above their heads of a short time limit are the items of food they want, your child should pay attention and memorize what each character wants, at the bottom of the screen are three items and you have to drag the correct item to the correct plate. I found the second part of the game to be a good test for Lily-May, she didn't find it too easy and got a few of them wrong, you get three life's, so it does provide a bit of a challenge. The next part of the game deals with shapes, another game that Lily-May found really easy, a shape is called out and you have to drag the corresponding shaped topping onto the cake. Then we go back to the memory game, which is slightly harder with three things to remember, on the easy level two of the characters are having the same food item, so it isn't too challenging. At the end of the easy level of the game you are given the option to try something more challenging, tapping on "Yes", lets you play this game on the difficult level.
Curriculum - Colours / Shapes / Memory Skills
=== Hello Kitty The Magician ===
As with the previous game, you are given the option to select the easy level or difficult level. The first part of the game your child has to count the balls on the table and tap the magicians assistant who is wearing the corresponding number on his hat. You get two rounds of this and after each round Hello Kitty does a bit of magic, before moving onto the next round. This is one round of shape sorting, your child has to drag and drop buckets in order from largest to smallest, Lily-May found these first rounds really easy, I can see how it fits in well with the curriculum though. We then have another counting round before the final round of shape sorting, with more buckets this time, in the same order, from largest to smallest. This was probably the easiest game on this cartridge, it wasn't long until Lily-May was onto the difficult level.
Curriculum - Numbers / Maths / Logic
=== Dance To The Music ===
The first game on this is a matching game, you have to match the silhouette of the musical instrument with the musical instrument, when you get it right the narrative explains what the instrument is and what family it belongs to i.e. brass family, string family etc, I think this is quite good for familiarizing your child with different instruments and the families they belong to. Lily-May has a couple of toy instruments that are depicted in this game and she now knows what family they belong to due to playing this game. The next game uses the motion sensor of the Innotab to make Hello Kitty dance, depending on which direction sign is showing on the screen e.g. right arrow, left arrow etc. We then go back to the silhouettes game, before finishing off with some more directions. This was the most challenging game on here, Lily-May struggled a little with the directions, the silhouette game was pretty easy and educational too.
Curriculum - Musical Instruments / Directions
Just so your child doesn't get bored with all the game playing and puzzle solving, this is the section for your child to let their creative side out.
=== Hello Kitty Greeting Card ===
On this little app your child can create their own virtual Hello Kitty greetings card. First of all your child can choose from six different coloured backgrounds for his/her card. Then your child can add different decorations to the card, followed by adding different greeting lines e.g. "Happy Birthday" etc. When your child is happy with the card he/she can save it, you can also save it half way through creating the card and come back to it at a later date. This is just a little fun app that your child can mess around with, there are no rules on this app and your child can really make some lovely virtual greetings cards, this would help when making a proper greetings card for someone.
.Curriculum - Creativity
=== Hello Kitty Album ===
This allows your child to create their own photo frame. Your child can select from a few photo frames on offer and choose whether he/she wants to add a photo to the frame or to make changes to it. When you make changes to the frame your child just drags and drops the decorations on the frame to wherever they want to put them on the frame, so there isn't much a child can really do here, and Lily-May found this quite boring. When your child is happy with the frame you can add a photo by selecting a pre taken photograph from the Innotab's photo gallery, this could be a photo your child has previously taken or one of the built in photos.
Curriculum - Creativity
=== Hello Kitty Camera ===
This allows your child to take photographs with Hello Kitty backgrounds. Your child can either click on photo studio or gallery. When photo studio is clicked the Innotab's camera opens up and your child can scroll along to the desired background for their photograph and take a picture. Your child can then save their photograph in the gallery for later viewing. Lily-May has used this once and has taken a photo with it, although I am not sure who or what she was snapping away at, it is quite dark.
Curriculum - Creativity
You can purchase this from www.amazon.co.uk for £9.99, which is about a reasonable price for these cartridges, it cost me £19.99 last year, so it has come down in price a little.
I wasn't too enamored by this cartridge and neither was Lily-May, I had expected a little more from it, considering her previous cartridges have kept her entertained for hours. I am not a big fan of the Hello Kitty brand as a whole, although Lily-May is and I expected her to really enjoy playing it, this is now the most least played cartridge in her collection and it is little wonder that you can now buy it for less than ten pounds. The plus side of this cartridge is the music game, Lily-May is starting to really get into music at the moment and familiarizing her with the various instruments is quite a good thing. The game is marked for ages 4-6, and to be honest, I think a 6 year old would be bored with this within an hour of playing on it, I think a 3 year old would have no trouble playing this and would find the majority of the tasks on here quite tedious. Overall I can only award this a low 2/5 stars, it just didn't live up to Lily-May's expectations
Learn as you play with the Vtech Innotab Game - A Day with Hello Kitty and Friends. Join the cute white kitten on her adventures with twin sister Mimmy using this cartridge for the Innotab learning games console. There are games to play, stories to read and creative activities to take on, and everything you do will boost your memory and your knowledge of colours, shapes and words. This Hello Kitty game software is compatible with the Vtech Innotab - which is sold separately.