Holiday Gift Idea: Kid Tested, Mom Approved
I have a confession - I'm in love with electronics. I love my phone, my tablet, my computer and anything else cool, new, and gadgety. It seems to run in the family, because our kids are always asking to play with our phones, our tablets, and our computers - and we usually let them. There have been multiple times when I've allowed them to play with one of those things, with my supervision of course, while I cooked, worked, or cleaned. What did moms do before these things came along?
However, one day I realized that while I was making the cream sauce for my Chicken Cordon Bleu, my daughter was flinging giant birds at large structures with evil pigs hiding in them. It hit me like a ton of bricks - what am I doing? I realized that while her game-playing might have benefited me, it wasn't teaching her anything at all - except maybe that when pigs start trouble, you can find a few exploding birds to fix the problem.
Hmm. Time to rethink my approach.
So, last weekend, our family tried something new. On Saturday, we set up the uDraw GameTablet® on our Playstation®3 and all four of us sat down to test it out. If you aren't already familiar with the uDraw GameTablet®, it is a gaming accessory that comes with a tablet-sized drawing space and is connected to a pressure sensitive stylus, enabling kids to create drawings and artwork on the screen by using the tablet. The uDraw GameTablet® comes bundled with one game already, uDraw Studio Instant Artist. In addition to that, we received 2 other uDraw Games, Pictionary Ultimate Edition, and Marvel Super Hero Squad.
Being that we have a little artist and a little Super Hero fan in this house, the uDraw GameTablet® seemed like the perfect solution for rainy day family fun. We were all so impressed with it, and my fiance' and I loved the fact that it was fun for the kids, but not mindless. Audrey Grace loves to create things, so being able to draw on the screen was "like, so cool, mom" for her.
The first thing we did was check out uDraw Studio Instant Artist - mostly because it came in the box so it was the first one we opened. We loved the variety of paint colors, brushes, canvases, and drawing tools. As you would expect for a 4 year old mini-artist - her favorite part was the coloring book. You can see her above coloring an entire birthday cake purple - while Banks looks on and tells her that the whole cake shouldn't be purple and my fiance' plays referee. Ah, the carefree days of childhood.
Soon it was time to test out uDraw Marvel Super Hero Squad - a current favorite of Banks' online, so one we were exceptionally excited to try it out using the uDraw GameTablet®. My fiance' and our kids played this one for a solid hour. There was running, saving of damsels in distress, gathering of gold, and other wild things that one can only do as a Super Hero. Translation: It rocked. I will say that while the kids are old enough to play, the game is a bit complex for them to navigate without our help. However, I believe that within the year that will quickly change. I'll be honest, I kind of like the fact that they need us to play - it gives us the chance to spend time with them at an age when they want to do everything for themselves.
Personally, I loved the Pictionary Ultimate Edition uDraw Game the most. We played it as a family, though my fiance' and I did most of the drawing and the kids did most of the guessing. There were lots of giggles, a bit of playful shouting, and tons of smiling. Before i knew it, 45 minutes had passed and it was time for dinner, and I was honestly sad to end that lovely, conflict-free 45 minutes. It was nice to play something with our kids that was good for their development, encouraged creativity, and gave us the opportunity to bond as a family.
Overall, I give the uDraw GameTablet® for Playstation®3 eight thumbs up - two from each of us! I love that my guilt levels are literally next-to-nothing when the kids play with the uDraw GameTablet® because I feel like they are being both educated and entertained - which is a busy mom's dream!
While we have a Playstation®3, the kids are getting a Nintendo Wii™ for Christmas this year (shhh!) and I am planning to buy the uDraw GameTablet® to accompany that gaming system as well, because there are even more options for games with the Wii™ - including a Disney Princess game for our little Princess. I have a feeling that this will be one of the hottest gifts of the 2011 Holiday Season - it already is in our house!