Maya loves using my computer. She’s great at handling the mouse and can type like a pro. The only problem is we often want to use it at the same time! I’ve found the solution with the Barbie B-Smart Laptop by Oregon Scientific. She now has her own computer that she can pull out whenever the mood strikes!
This isn’t any old toy. The Barbie B-Smart Laptop has 70 games – 60 in English, 10 in Spanish. But what made the biggest first impression is the design. It’s beautiful! Slim and very chic. The laptop can be opened with the push of a bejeweled button and snaps shut just as easily. It has a carrying handle for easy portability and a QWERTY keyboard, which I love. There’s no confusion when going back and forth between my computer and the laptop! The large easy-to-read LCD screen is backlit for low light conditions, and the touchpad is very kid-friendly. The laptop also comes with a mouse, mousepad, and a set of earbuds for quiet play, although it does have a very useful volume control.
The voice of Barbie guides you through the various games and activities – Word, Math, Memory, Logic, Typing, Mouse Skills, Music, Games, Spanish – that can instantly be accessed with the push of the corresponding button on the keyboard. An expansion card is included with extra grammar, spelling, and vocabulary activities (more cards are sold separately). I like that most activities give you 3 attempts per question to answer correctly, and in some games, if a high-score is achieved, a web code will be revealed which can be used to unlock more fun.
Unfortunately Maya can’t do any of the Word or most of the Math activities, which limits her options greatly. The upside of that is that this won’t be a gadget she gets bored with. As her reading and math skills improve, she’ll be able to do more and more of the activities. Right now she likes the Memory and Logic games the most, and the activity that teaches her how to tell time. She has a lot of fun with typing and mouse skills tests, and has gotten the hang of using the touchpad, almost preferring it to the mouse at this point!
A couple of little things that I would change about this product: 1) It has an AC adapter connection but it has to be bought separately. I think for the price it should include one, because the 3 AA batteries (included) wear down fast, even with the auto-off feature. I happened to have a compatible adapter stuffed in my desk drawer, which worked out well. 2) The earbuds are hard to keep inside my daughter’s little ears. She gave up on them and uses her regular headphones instead.
The Barbie B-Smart Laptop is geared towards kids ages 5 and up; I think even a 2nd or 3rd-grader would get a kick out of it! It’s a great realistic introduction to computers and does a good job of encouraging creativity and independent learning. If there’s a little girl in your life that loves Barbie and anything pink, you can’t go wrong buying her this laptop. It retails for $59.99, but there are others in the Barbie collection that are a little less expensive and more appropriate for preschoolers.
The Barbie B-Smart Laptop is currently on sale on Amazon.com and Target!