We got Mr 4 a Storio, by VTech.
You need a bit of background to understand why. Unlike his sisters, Mr 4 never liked being read to. Since he was a baby, he wouldn’t sit and listen to a story, he had to be in control, turning pages randomly, and not paying one iota of attention to what was being said. He would often let me read a book out, but grab a different one to look through himself, whilst I was occupied with the first one.
A couple of years ago, we began to enforce a bedtime story. At first we had to physically restrain him, keeping his hands away from the pages, and continually drawing his attention back to the story. Now he loves his bedtime story, and gets very upset if there’s ever a chance of it being missed. Unfortunately he still won’t read during the day. On the rare occasion there’s a book he wants to read, he’ll tell me it’s bedtime, regardless of the fact it may well be only 2pm.
What he does love is technology. Give him a computer, a phone, anything with lots of buttons, anything with a touch screen, and he’s happy. This means that Storio is the perfect thing for him. It’s a bit like a Kindle for kids.
It comes with story cartridges, and the stories get read out, with pictures on the screen, and the words being highlighted at the bottom, in the manner of a karaoke machine. The screen is a touch screen, and you can pick items or words to get them explained. Mr 4 loves it. He needed his first replacement batteries on Boxing day.
There are also activities to do, and I discovered him this morning, a child who can’t yet write his own name, writing out the letters d – o – g, following them round with the stylus, and forming them perfectly. I am really impressed. There is apparently data stored, so that when you plug it in to your computer, you can see how they are doing, and the progress they have made. I have yet to try that out, but I’m aware that he will be scoring very highly for his age because his sisters have been very helpful!
I have been so pleased with this toy. Apart from a little blip on Christmas morning when we had to go online to download updated firmware for it, it has been a delight. Five stars.