In my former life, before kids, I really LOVED playing video games.
I had a few different consoles over the years and plenty of time after work (as an adult) to explore dynamic worlds, conquer level after level and increase the strength of my characters until the wee hours of the morning. I’m not trying to pretend that I was the ultimate gamer, but I loved to play. In fact, there were some games that I was just plain horrible at.
Fortunately for me, a lot of those games allowed you to chose which level of difficulty you wanted to attempt.
So I would draw the blinds, turn off the lights and hide in my apartment illuminated by the glow of the TV while I selected ‘easy mode’, completing every level of the game and slowly building up my self-esteem and confidence so that I might actually play the ‘intermediate or hard mode’ while my friends were around…and look like a stud.
It was, and still is, a great theory for those that love to game. Any particular title could have players varying in age from their tweens (perhaps younger) all the way up to grown adults. A ten-year old may not be equipped – may not have the dexterity or skill sets to beat the game at the hardest level, hence the option to start off a little slower.
Wouldn’t it be great if this same theory applied to toys for babies and young children? Wouldn’t it be great to find toys that grew with your child?
With three kids at varying ages, my basement floor looks like a toy cemetery. It’s a sea of retired monkeys, lions, cars, trucks and plastic laptops without batteries, toys that my kids have outgrown, mastered and grown bored of.
They huddle together as I walk upstairs and turn off the light, waiting for the day that we have another child, dust them off and breathe life back in, carrying them up from the depths of despair and back into our beloved play room.
Wouldn’t it be great to find toys that had different functions for different skill levels?
As many of you know, a few months ago, I took a trip to the Fisher-Price headquarters in East Aurora, NY.
During my visit, we got to spend a lot of time with the toy developers, being introduced to and taking a look at some of the new products being launched by FP. One of the most interesting things that I saw was their new ‘smart stages’ line.
Smart Stages ™ technology is an exciting, new way to change learning content as your baby grows. Every baby develops at their own pace, and this technology gives you the ability to select the stage that’s best for your child. Each toy comes with a variety of developmentally appropriate songs, phrases and sound within three levels of play – just slide the switch or enter baby’s age for automatic level changes.
The Smart Stages technology operates on three different levels.
- LEVEL 1 – EXPLORE: First words and sounds spark baby’s curiosity.
- LEVEL 2 – ENCOURAGE: Prompt baby through questions and simple directions.
- LEVEL 3 – PRETEND: Imaginative fun and early role play.
I truly love the foresight of the development team, finding a way to create toys that will grow with your child.
Not only did we get to meet the actual designer of the Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Smart Stages Train, but we also took a look at the Laugh & Learn SS Chair, Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Home and the Smart Stages Crawl Around Car.
I was so impressed by the little house, that Dad or Alive and Fisher-Price want to give one away.
At the end of the day, as parents we have a mammoth amount of responsibility riding on our shoulders. We’re the ones deciding what influences they have, what toys they play with and how they learn and grow. I hope this Smart Stages Home is a welcome addition to your playroom – and puts a smile on your child’s face.
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