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Back To School With Kid-Friendly Tech

Smart Animals Scanopedia

Smart Animals Scanopedia

Long gone are the days when children would look up animal facts in heavy volumes of traditional encyclopedias. The newest learning toy from Jakks Pacific and Discovery Kids gives the same trusted and true animals factoids you used to have to look up in dusty books and makes them available via a high-tech “scanner” kids can operate easily. Complete with a few plastic animals to get started learning right away, this new kind of electronic talking encyclopedia relays information about each plastic animal in the series when kids scan it. While the information contained in the Scanopedia can be accessed by children as young as three, the quizzes and games are more suitable for children who are old enough to understand what an “herbivore” really is.

In addition to the included set of animals, there are extra animal packs that can be purchased to unlock even more information about the animal kingdom, and the Scanopedia itself comes packaged with a fun, interactive map that kids can scan for additional learning adventures. This audible teaching tool was easy to operate and understand and the buttons were simple to use. Our only concern with this otherwise brilliant toy was its inability to shut off completely (without removing the batteries). Even with the three-minute snooze function that kept the toy quiet after minutes of inactivity, a simple nudge or accidental button push would bring it back to life (along with the roaring, chirping, and screeching animal sounds it emitted.) At $29.99, this is a learning toy that should hold a budding zoologist’s interest for several years beyond its introduction, and with the release of new animal accessories, like the Smart Animal Ecosystems for $4.99, you can build upon the set for months to come.