If you follow me on Snapchat, you’ve probably noticed Harlow playing with a new toy. Actually, I know for a fact that a lot of you have noticed because I got like 100 messages from people saying, “Hey, what’s that toy Harlow is playing with?”
The toy is the Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe from VTech and since they sent it to us, it has become quite the hit in our house.
As you all know, my kids are huge fans of their iPads and when they are not playing with those (which we try to limit to the mornings), they tend to play with dolls and dress-up stuff. There’s a lot of role playing and pretend play in our house. We have puzzles and number and letter themed toys but they tend to get overlooked. I think that’s one of the big dangers of letting your kid play on a smart device— other toys can start to seem boring.
The Activity Desk Deluxe excited me because it is interactive, with buttons and audio which takes you through the discovery tools and an LED display which teaches letter and number strokes and how to draw basic shapes. It comes with five double-sided interactive pages so your kid can switch up and vary the lessons. VTech sells expansion packs with different cartridges and curriculums so that you can have more advanced lessons like reading skills, math and occupations. The desk also transforms into a chalkboard and art station with ample space for supply storage, and it has a music player and a pretend phone to play with as well.
It seemed like just the kind of thing that could draw Harlow away from the lure of a smart device while still being able to teach her valuable new skills.
I can tell you that as soon as Harlow saw it, she got excited. My only issue is that Mazzy got excited as well so I had to mediate to figure out who would play with it first. The desk is made for kids 2-5 years-old, so after a few days of trying out the different expansion packs, Mazzy realized she was a little old for the desk and let Harlow have full reign. Harlow has found countless different things to do with it— from listening to letter sounds to pretending she’s the teacher with the chalkboard. She also really likes taking pretend calls on the phone.
Since Harlow is on the younger end of the age the desk was meant for, she is definitely more comfortable playing with the activity sheets that came with the desk than the expansion packs which are meant for older kids. She is also so intrigued by all the buttons and options that sometimes it’s hard for her to stick to the activity sheet at hand without getting distracted, which throws off the audio prompts. But I feel that will come in time.
Obviously, the desk didn’t stop Harlow from asking from her iPad (she still uses it in the mornings as always) but it definitely made her ask for it less often at other parts of the day, since the iPad is usually requested when she can’t find something else to do. She played with the desk for a good amount of time every day, from the day it arrived until we left it at the house when we moved back to the city last week. We didn’t bring it back to our apartment because we don’t have a lot of space for a big toy but I already wish we could find some room.
When Harlow is playing at the desk, I feel like she is discovering new skills and entertained and working on her fine motor skills, without the option of exiting a game to watch a YouTube video. And oddly enough, even though the desk is a larger sized toy that you can’t put away, it makes way less mess than pulling all the clothes out of the dress-up bin and scattering her Barbies and their various accessories around our living room.
Today, I am giving away one Touch and Learn Activity Desk Deluxe to one lucky reader!
You must be a Mommy Shorts subscriber to enter and then leave a comment below. I’ll pick one winner at random on September 29th!
Congrats to Rebecca Hall! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!
This post was sponsored by VTech, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.