Thursday, September 28, 2006
Gadgets and Gizmos: Educational Toys
In a few weeks, report cards will be sent out to students all over South Florida. But if your child's struggling with ABCs or 123s, there are options. In tonight's Gadgets And Gizmos, Seven's Tom Haynes shows us how to get to the head of the class by playing a few mind games.
WSVN -- From "School House Rock" to "Baby Einstein," we're always looking for ways to make academics enjoyable.
But now, the education experts may finally have found a way to put the fun in fundamentals for children and parents.
Lorenda Ray: "Well, I mean if they enjoy doing it, if they enjoy doing something, then it's not as hard to teach them."
Lorrenda Ray is a mom with four times the trouble.
At her house, a teaching toy better not be tedious, or ...
Lorenda Ray: "It'll probably go into the toy box, something that's a waste of money, that's never going to be used."
Something that will get use is the Math Mat Challenge Game.
Think of it as twister with numbers.
The game asks kids a series of equations, making then step on the right answer.
For mom Lorrenda, it's definitely a step in the right direction.
This one gets an A+.
Lorenda Ray: "It's easy for us, it's easy for them. It's something they're going to enjoy doing. It's not something you're going to push on them. They're going to want to do it."
Something else they're going to want to do -- the Leapster Learning System.
Forget Playstation and Nintendo, this machine is an academic arcade your children will love.
The games test everything from animals to art.
We give it a solid A.
"I think it's a cool game, a nice game."
Another fun game is the Picocricket Kit.
Created by the folks at MIT, this is perfect for future inventors and engineers.
Kids can even design a robot and make it move.
Only drawback -- it can be complicated, so it gets a B+.
De'Mariek Ray: "It was fun for a lot of reasons, mostly because I like to play and because, with stuff like that, I can build more."
Tom Haynes: "Now we've all heard what Mozart can do for the mind. But why listen to Mozart, if your child can be the next Mozart? Today's technology can help any kid learn a musical instrument. Just check out the Piano Wizard -- it's a program that can turn practice into child's play."
Now, for the older students, you no longer have to butt heads over homework.
This Fly Pen Top computer is better than a tutor.
It's got a brain, a voice, and it can tell you if your algebra answers are right or wrong.
At the Pineda household, 12-year-old Sasha gives this gadget an A+.
Sasha Pineda: "I think it would make a big difference because if my mom, like, is busy, and I need help, it can just help me, and I can help myself."
As for her older brother Nicholas, a little help with his espanol is essential.
For him, there's the Franklin's talking Spanish-English student dictionary.
It not only tells you how to spell a word, it tells you how to pronounce it.
We give it an A- only because the exercises included aren't very entertaining.
Nicholas Pineda: "It was good. I'm more of a verbal learner, so I know when I see and hear something at the same time, it's very good because I get it in my mind, and I can hear it too."
And for parents, that means you'll hear less complaining when it comes time to study.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
(877) PIANO-04, (877-742-6604)
PicoCricket Kit: $250
Leapster Learning System: $50
Fly Pentop Computer: $100
Franklin's Talking Spanish-English Student Dictionary: $60