I learned how to do a lot of things because of Barbie. I learned how to drive a (mini, battery-powered) Jeep. I learned how to style knee-high boots with a mini skirt (but I still can’t pull it off). I learned not to stick my finger into something in an attempt to fix it (read: a Barbie slushie machine). And I learned how to use a cash register, how to make change, and how to talk to customers (aka my sister) thanks to the Barbie Shop with Me Cash Register.
That now-retired symbol of the late ’90s has made way for a sleeker, sparkling model. KidDesign’s Barbie APPtastic Cash Register, with an optional iOS app component, teaches kids the ins and outs of running a business before they have to learn the meaning of income taxes. The register is fully functional on its own, but the app provides users with the opportunity to go on a “shopping spree” with Barbie herself—something I only dreamed of as a kid.
Kids can use the app without purchasing the cash register, but the purchase includes a code to unlock items and customization options in the game. (Kids can also earn points while playing, or parents can buy an expansion pack directly from the app).
Players can virtually visit different shops and boutiques, customize storefronts, and create VIP cards with their own pictures. The app also includes a mini game where kids can try to price as many items as possible while they speed down a checkout line. While it made me glad I had never been forced to scan or bag groceries, the game provides a good way for kids to learn item prices.
While the cash register’s scanner is purely for pretend play, the keypad and microphone are fully functional, and the register is equipped with an iPad stand for extended play. The app accesses the iDevice’s camera to recognize 30,000 different UPC codes, which are converted to items in Barbie’s stores.
And don’t forget the most important part—the money. The cash register comes with Barbie’s own currency (conveniently based on the American standard), a gift card, and a debit card for shoppers on the go. It’s the perfect way to introduce kids to the concept of counting money, buying, and earning. All it needs is a monthly credit card bill—preferably a fake one.