My attempt at documenting my daughter’s favorite toys continues. My goal is to identify and review the best toys for newborns from birth through five months. This article series is for new moms, expectant moms, and would be baby shower guests. Today’s review is on My Pal Violet, by Leapfrog.
Leapfrog is a company that focuses on educational toys and games for children of all ages. My Pal Violet is a purple plushy friend that is reported to teach skills like daily routines, first words and numbers, feelings and emotions, and animals. (Leapfrog ) She measures 6.8 x 11 x 10.5 inches (Amazon), and weighs approximately three pounds. She requires 3 AA batteries. The batteries are included, but they may not last very long. Also, the battery box is not removable, so machine washing is not an option. Violet’s most spectacular feature, is that she is supposed to learn your child’s name, and include songs you can personalize. In many ways, Violet really does live up to all the hype.
Violet has a button contained in each of her four paws. One is the on/off button, which is fairly self explanatory (although Violet will turn off by herself) One is the “play” button. This is where violet makes animal sounds, counts to five, and shows her emotions. She will say things such as “I’m feeling a little sad. Will you give me a hug?” I feel that this not only helps children identify emotions, but also helps them develop appropriate responses. One button is the “music” button. Violet will play “daytime” music for your child. She comes with five songs already, but you can choose others from the Leapfrog website. The songs from the leapfrog website do not have words. The final button is the “bedtime music” button. Violet will start by playing two minutes of instrumental bedtime music for your child. Pressing the paw additional times will increase the duration of the music.
As mentioned, Violet is advertised as being a customizable toy. In many ways, she is. It is important to realize however, that you can only customize her with what leapfrog already offers. They offer additional music to download at their website, but you cannot upload your own. Violet can incorporate your child’s name into a few of her songs (and also her favorite food, animal, and color), but you must choose from leapfrog’s list. You can find the list of available names here. If they do not offer your child’s name, they may offer their nickname. I am a little concerned what is going to happen when Violet says that her favorite food is cereal, and my daughter is old enough to try and go get her some. Violet comes with a USB cord for downloading, but it is a little short, and some people may want a longer one.
Leapfrog’s ideal age for My Pal Violet is 6-18 months. My daughter has enjoyed her since two months, but only because of Violet’s flashy dog collar (The collar does not hang down, and does not flash during bedtime music) She still cannot push the buttons herself, but she is really into the music.
My Pal Violet (and her boyish counterpart Scout) is available for $19.99 at leapfrog.com. You can also find the toys on amazon.com for around $17.00. If you expect Violet to be able to hold completely original content however, you may be disappointed. As long as you keep Violet’s limitations in mind, however, I think that it is an excellent toy for a baby or toddler. If you are interested in reading more unbiased reviews of our favorite things, check out my previous articles on Eric Carle’s Developmental Lady Bug and Cloud b’s Sleep Sheep.