As a parent or caregiver, your foremost concern in the later years of your child’s life is his or her education. You want them to go to the best schools with the best teachers so they can succeed later in life. You also want your kid to be around teachers who model socially desirable and moral behavior for your children. In a word, you want your kid’s teachers to be good role models, to reward your child when they misbehave, and encourage them when they do the right thing.
Yet you also realize that your child will learn throughout the entirety of their life, and that this doesn’t start or stop with formal schooling. There are undoubtedly many lessons to be learned in the School of Life, especially during one’s toddler years (from ages 0 to 7). The behaviors and habits your child learns during these formative years will influence them for the rest of their life.
This understandably puts a lot of pressure on parents to make sure they teach their child the proper way to interact with others and express themselves in a becoming manner. It also means parents have to make sure their child interacts with others who will reinforce these invaluable lessons—including toddlers toys.
Yes, toddlers toys. Why? Because toys are playmates too, albeit inanimate ones.
But there’s a problem: most traditional toddler toys—the most common type of playmate your child will encounter—don't provide any guidance at all or rely on their users to learn a correct response. You simply can’t trust them to help you raise your child!
But there are some smart toys for preschool boys and girls that offer a stark contrast. In fact, one of the newer education toys for toddlers, Octobo, models and encourages good behavior, such as teeth-brushing, cleaning up, and respecting rest time. This smart toy becomes a mini-parent and play partner when you simply don't have the time, making it one of the best kids learning toys out there!
Before we get into specifics concerning this octopus toy, let’s first consider the state of toddler toys more generally.
While it’s well-known that most traditional toddler toys can help your child learn concepts such as colors, shapes, and patterns—something Octobo already does with its various story-kits and ABC learning game—we might want to ask: What kind of moral behaviors and habits can toddler toys teach in addition to basic educational content?
Consider a traditional toddler toy—what exactly does it do in the hands of a young child? Not much, to be frank. If you child feels like gently petting a non-interactive toddler toy, he’ll be able to; but if he feels like hitting or throwing it, the toy will offer no instruction to the contrary. Toddler toys like these leave your child at the mercy of his or her passing inclinations or whims, which may or may not be conducive to healthy long-term mental and emotional development. We might formulate the rather unfortunate motto, “The toy is only as good as the kid.” With traditional toddler toys, the parent or caregiver is an absolute necessity if the child is going to learn the proper way to use it.
But this simply isn’t the case with one of the latest kids learning toys, Octobo. Thinker Tinker is slated to release a variety of behavioral games for Octobo. Some of the core values of these games will include sharing, respect, and active play, and will be built in at each level in an age-appropriate manner. But let’s get more specific about this newest of educational toys for toddlers.
Let’s start by looking at some of the basic responsibilities Octobo can help teach your kid.
One of these is one of the most common parents have a difficult time teaching their kids: cleaning up after themselves! (Indeed, some toddlers are so resistant, they don’t learn how to do so well into adulthood!) But with this kids learning toy, parents can breathe a sigh of relief because of the extra help they’ll receive on this front. This smart toy for preschool girls and boys is designed to encourage cleaning up after interacting with your child, so when they’re not hearing it from you, they’ll be hearing it from one of their lifelike companions. Because of this innovative feature, you’re less likely to have to pick up (and accidentally step on) Octobo’s various interactive story-kit tokens.
Now if helping your child build that healthy habit into adulthood isn’t reassuring enough, this educational toy for toddlers is also programmed to encourage your child to attend to their personal hygiene. Unlike many kids learning toys out there, Octobo encourages your child to brush their teeth! While this probably won’t obviate the need for you to remind your toddler from time to time, this smart toy will likely reduce the amount of times you need to do so. In early childhood there’s no such thing as too many reminders!
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most essential lessons toddlers are always in need of learning: How to treat others kindly. For very young children, the most frequent stumbling-block in this regard is petting pets properly. How many times have you had to stop and reprimand your kid from poking, hitting, or otherwise handling a pet roughly? Traditional toddler toys don’t—indeed, can’t—lift a finger to protect your pets. (Do I even have to mention the obvious fact that young children often use toddler toys to abuse animals, whether that means turning them into poking or projectile weapons, or handing them off to pets to be chewed on and swallowed?) Even smart toys can give rise to same fears…if that don’t have safeguards in place to prevent this kind of antisocial behavior.
With Octobo, all these worries are greatly reduced, and not just because it’s an interactive plush toy that you can remove your tablet from at any time. Rather, Octobo serves as a kind of mini-parent, instructing your child as to what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior. This is because Octobo’s operating system mimics healthy social relationships.
With sensitive sensors hidden underneath its plush exterior, this kids learning toy can actually tell the difference between a poke, hug, and even a tickle. And because this educational toy for toddlers has a range of emotions—rather than the fixed and non-responsive faces of traditional toddler toys—it can respond in a way that clearly communicates to your child whether it enjoys a specific interaction. Octobo’s lifelike simulations of facial and verbal expressions are empathetic, meaning that they’re designed to instill in your kid a healthy respect for personal space and gentleness, without precluding the possibility of establishing emotional rapport by touch. Octobo is just as likely to thank your child for a hug and express gratefulness as it is to warn against eye-pokes and other forms of intentional and unintentional abuse.
And because toddlers tend to imitate the behavior they observe, they’re likely to learn the proper way to respond to others when they aren’t treated with respect and dignity. If this kids learning toy serves as a model for rejecting poking but accepting legitimate expressions of affection, your child will already be a lot further along in their emotional and mental development than they would if they lacked a smart toy like Octobo.
With a kids learning toy like this, imagine how much easier you’ll feel about leaving your pets around your kids—and how much safer your pets will feel around them! Without a doubt, Octobo will save you time and provides peace of mind on this front.
But that’s not the only positive behavior this kids learning toy encourages. This smart toy also teaches more complex habits, like respecting the autonomy of others. Here’s a common dilemma many parents face: their kids often won’t accept the schedules of their caregivers. If they want to play now, they want to playnow, regardless of whether their playmate has the time or is so inclined. Rebuffed requests for playtime are likely to be met with tantrums and tears—unless or until the child is instructed on the right way to handle rejection.
And traditional toddler toys aren’t much help either. Your child can play with them for as long as they want, and this can be a big problem if the toy in question happens to be an app on an electronic device.
Fortunately, Octobo avoids electronics-based brain-drain and helps teach your child learn how to respect the rest time of others. This kids learning toy will tell your child, “I’m feeling tired and need to rest now. Let’s play again later,” instead of offering a simple countdown like similar educational toys for toddlers would. And to give you the greatest control over how long your children play with this kids learning toy, you can set the limit using the Parents Portal of the Octobo App on your tablet. This way your child will not only learn the value of respecting the time and wishes of others, but also how to communicate their own desires in a forthright manner.
With all this in mind, it’s hard not to recommend a smart toy like Octobo as an alternative to traditional toddler toys when it comes to teaching positive behavior to your toddler. As described above, Octobo already encourages a slate of healthy social interactions, and is set to offer more soon. It’s definitely an investment that will be paying dividends long into you and your child’s future and can easily vie for the mantle of best learning toy in today’s burgeoning smart toy market.