What It Is
Even the youngest of kids want to play with mom and dad's iPhone or iPod Touch, but naturally parents want to make sure their devices are well protected before letting that happen. The Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey serves as both a solution and two toys in one.
First, it is a plush toy featuring 10 different songs and phrases. Baby can activate the different features by squeezing monkey's hands and feet.
Mom and dad can then insert their iPhone or iPod Touch into the case in the monkey's tummy so baby can safely interact with the device. Simply twist open the holder, insert the device, and close the screen protector. Parents can download free Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn apps from the iTunes store for baby to play with. The apps will teach baby about colors, numbers, animals, and more.
Apptivity Monkey is compatible with iPhone 1G, 3G, 3GS, 4G and iPod Touch 3G and 4G.
Why It’s Fun
In order to give parents and adults peace of mind about sharing expensive electronics with an infant, Fisher-Price has had to make some sacrifices. The monkey isn't remotely cuddly, for instance since it has to house the protective box for the device. To play with it, a child has to be sitting on the floor, which makes reaching for the app somewhat awkward. Also, when you put the device into the monkey, it shuts off all the other built-in sounds. This makes sense to an adult so that the sound from the app doesn't compete with the plush toy, but will kids be able to make that distinction? We also found the apps hard to control through the thick and loose plastic covering. Fisher-Price has done a great job with its Laugh & Learn line, but in trying to be two things at once, this one does neither very well.
Who It’s For
The Apptivity Monkey is for ages 6 months and up.
What To Be Aware Of
Some of the concepts featured in the apps, such as shapes, may be difficult for younger children to understand.
In order to fit, you must remove any iPhone or iPod Touch case before inserting it into the holder. We found this process to be a little clumsy and time consuming so if you plan on needing your phone back quickly, we suggest using an iPod Touch as opposed to an iPhone.
The process of putting the device into the holder is very clumsy. Don't even think of trying to do this when you're on the go...or if you need your phone out quickly.
Images on the packaging imply that the app and interactive plush features interact but they don't. This means there won't be competing sounds from both the app and the toy, however for a young child this may be confusing at first.
For baby to play effectively with the app, he needs to be sitting directly in front of the toy or holding the toy so that the screen is easily accessible.