Kids Can Learn While They Play
New technology toys are further blurring the line between educational software and television. Consider VTech's V.Smile Pocket, a book-size gadget for ages 3 to 8 that plays arcade games laced with educational content. Available for $90 at major electronics and toy stores, it also runs 19 games made for the console-size version released last year.
Plugged into a TV, the device acts like a standard game controller. Pull the plug, and the game switches to the V.Smile Pocket speaker and screen. Instead of prying a stubborn player away from the TV, you can carry the child right out the door, game in hand.
The crisp color screen is better than the one on the Leapster L-Max from Leapfrog, due this month, and the software library features children's all-stars like Bob the Builder and Mickey Mouse. Every cartridge has plenty of mazes, shooting galleries and scavenger hunts, all focused on teaching things like letters, colors and early math skills.