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The Early Learning Centre learning laptop is a laptop style toy suitable for children aged eighteen months and over. It is a modern style, colourful, lots of buttons, lots of noise sort of toy. This was bought for my youngest son when he was two years old he is now three and a half and still uses it from time to time. It is an educational yet fun type of toy that has a longer life span then you original think.
*****The basic design*****
The laptop comes in red and blue. The screen part that lifts up like a real laptop is red where as the main body of the laptop is blue. I have recently noticed Early Learning Centre now give you the option of this in pink but personally I would say this particular one is unisex. It comes with plenty of buttons to press something that is important to a very young child as they don't really gasp the reason behind the keys they just like to press lots of things. Turning the laptop upside down you will find the on/off switch which is quite easy for a young child to do themselves once they realise it is there. The laptop is designed with a thick plastic carry handle so you little one can have fun carrying it around. My nephew who is one has recently started having a go pressing the buttons and carry it around and does have a tendency to drop it on your foot, it is heavier than you think!
The screen has six coloured boxes on it with six different items; there is a boat, balloons, tea cups, apples, bikes and a car. These squares light up at the relevant times when in use. The keypad below has six coloured keys all a different colour to match the screen above. The top row of keys are labelled 1,2 and 3 and the bottom a, b and c. Down either side are three different coloured circles red, yellow, and blue down one side and pink, green and orange down the other. One side has musical instruments below each circle and the other has shapes, circle, square and triangle. All the buttons on this laptop are thick and chunky making then very easy for small fingers to press.
Just from its description you can see this laptop covers a wide area of learning from numbers, colours, shapes and sounds something your little one will pick up along the way.
*****The four modes*****
The laptop comes with four modes which are changed via a thick blue sliding switch on the front of the laptop.
The first mode is the magnifying option. Your child presses a coloured key below and it will light up the matching square on the screen and tell you clearly what it is and follow it with the sound the item makes. For example three pink bikes followed by a bike bell. This mode is lovely and simple and perfect for the young age range. There is no testing the child just a simple clear voice telling them what has lit up on the screen. The circle buttons also do the same they just don't light up the screen. My nephew who is one loves doing this as it talks back to him but at his young age he has no idea what he is actually doing but this fun play will help in the long run.
The next mode is 'Find the..' This mode does step up a level and can be quite fun if explained to a young child how to do it. For example how many bikes do you see? They press the number 3 key for the correct answer. Or another example you hear a sound of a trumpet and it asks what is this. They press the trumpet key for the answer. My eldest son who is five loves doing this, it might have something to do with the fact he gets them all right but he still enjoys it! Whereas my youngest son who is three and half has taken a bit of time as his development is a little behind but with the use of this he is really coming along with his colours now. This particular mode he finds quite easy and does it alone now the next mode includes the first letter sounds of items which he struggles with but he will get there. This mode and the next one are the ones I particularly like as they are interactive modes for your children they have to get involved and you can see what they do and don't know.
As mentioned the next mode is pretty similar as it is a find the.. mode again. But this time it does add in the first letter sounds of items. Again this is another step along for your child and is something hopefully my youngest will progress with in time. I do feel a few of the questions do seem a bit trickier then the previous modes but there are still simple ones added in too. I feel this is perfect as it keeps your child's confidence up. For a child to keep getting the questions wrong it can knock their confidence and put them easily off something.
The last mode is a music mode. The keys and circle buttons all play a key so your child can play their own tune. This and the first mode are ideal to begin with; your child is still young and investigating things. There are also two yellow buttons underneath the keys which play two different tunes for about 10 seconds. Again this is another favourite of my nephews.
This toy has had quite a long life so far and I can see it lasting my youngest a bit longer still. There is plenty to do and will keep your little one occupied for some time. As mentioned my eldest has had good fun over the last year and a half with the find it modes and now my youngest is enjoying these too. I love toys that come across as fun to the child but are educational too. I will admit it is teaching your child the very basics with the numbers only going up to three and the letters only being a, b, c but that is where your child needs to be confident with to move on. There is use of the three basic shapes and six common colours too. The age range is eighteen months on it and I would highly recommend for this age as I know they won't be able to do the find it modes but just becoming familiar with the item they can grow with it. My nephew who is just over one loves it.
It is currently available from Early Learning Centre for £18 and online at Amazon too for the same price. For an educational toy that is going to grow with your child for some time I think this is a reasonable price and would make an excellent gift for a young child of eighteen months plus.
Four fun modes to help your child's letter, number and sound recognition.
With carry handle.
Requires 3 x AA batteries.