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Back last Christmas I had the wonderful job of buying my 3 year old twin boys a lot of toys off Santa, usually they have the same of everything, but one thing I did buy different is a laptop. They had a toy story spaceship laptop which I reviewed recently and I also bought them the Lightning Mcqueen Laptop.
Lightning Mcqueen is a very popular Disney/Pixar character from the Cars film, and Cars 2 has just been brought out in the Cinema too.
The laptop is shaped very much like a dumpy version of Lightning Mcqueen himself which is very appealing I must say.
Surprisingly the laptop is fairly lightweight and not overly bulky either, it's quite a compact laptop and almost resembles a mini version of a portable dvd player, so you have an idea of it's shape and the way it's designed.
The design of the laptop resembles Lightning Mcqueen so realisticly with it's eyes, windows, smily face, lights and even the 'Rust.Eze' logo on him and he even includes wheels on the sides - however these wheels don't turn and one wheel is more than just for show.
The one wheel is in fact the laptop mouse! The wire to the wheel mouse is attached at the bottom of the laptop and the wheel attaches to a wheel space on the front right corner of the laptop. This is very handy as it's prevents the wire or the mouse from becoming detached or broken so easily as it always has somewhere to sit safely until it's next use, it keeps it looking neat and tidy too which is always a bonus. Theres no confusing which wheel is the mouse as it's the only wheel with buttons on too!
To open the laptop you simply lift up the top and it smoothly opens up to reveal a rather colourful qwerty keyboard, a well decorated and fairly sized screen and a sort of car like appearance - with it's fuel lights, temperature lights etc.
The buttons on the keyboard are quite large, and brightly coloured, the letters, numbers and even the words are clear to see also.
There is an ignition switch inside the laptop which acts as the on/off switch - keeping on with the realistic cars theme here. Next to the switch is three Cars characters, Moulded Doc, Mater and Luigi - these are also buttons to be pressed which lead to extra unique mini games, such as directing luigi past tyres using the mouse, a bit like a maze.
When turning the ignition key you hear the revving of an engine and the animated screen begins to light up showing cars and many other pictures whilst a man speaks really clearly beginning to list the various activities that are available on the laptop. This man speaks throughout all of the activities and games, guiding your child through. From here your child can either press one of the 3 3D characters which leads to a game, or can press Demo, Language Lab, Maths Mania or Logic and Games. Each game and activity varies tremendously and I've noticed my boys can't play all of them independendantly but they are just 4 in November. Providing I remind them which buttons to use some of the games they can play and really enjoy, such as Spotting Cars, where they see a car drive past piled up tyres, the laptop then shows them cars which they have to decide which one they just seen drive past. If they get things wrong the laptop allows them to try again which is fab as it doesn't discourage them in anyway, and if they do get an answer right the man rewards them with encouraging phrases such as 'way to go' or 'that's how it's done' or even 'Practice makes Perfect', all brilliant encouraging phrases to help them gain confidence in their learning.
I've noticed throughout many of the games your child has a choice as to whether they want to use buttons or the mouse to decide on answers etc which is always good as we all prefer different ways of doing things.
Navigation through the activities is fairly easy, especially for a child as the man tells them the name of each game so they will soon begin to recognise the name and the animation for each activitiy.
The games are surprisingly exciting and a bit energetic, alot more than the toy story laptop I bought them, especially as the majority of the activities involve racing cars, revving engines, beeping of horns etc it's all energetic and fun for a child which again is very appealing when it comes to the learning aspect of the computer.
I think this laptop is brilliant, even though it costs roughly £30-£35. It offers so many activities, both fun games and educational activities, all of which can suit varying ages and grow with children too. It allows them to play independently and confidently being rewarded for correct answers and encouraged to try again if they make a mistake. Hand eye co-ordination skills are developed tremendously through the use of the keyboard and the mouse and children having to keep an eye on the well animated screen too. The laptop is reccomended for children aged 4+ but my boys have been using it since they were 3 and it has introduced them to letters and numbers, more so letters as numbers they are quite confident with, and it has helped them recognise letters quickly and confidently too. I'd certainly reccomend this laptop to anybody looking to buy one for their child, it's not just one of them toys which is overly expensive due to it's character, it is actually a really good, fun yet educational toy which children can benefit from, my 2 definitely have!