My Little Ponies can stand on two legs, schools can anticipate the possibility of bees nesting in new playground equipment (wooden playgrounds, I’m looking at you), and every character ever can be found on a T-shirt. But kids are also growing up in the middle of an ongoing technological revolution that just won’t quit.
By way of the handheld movement comes the InnoTab Max from VTech, a super cool kids’ tablet with so many features that it might leave parents a little jealous. Gone are the days of parents forking over their devices so kids can take pictures of the family pet or check what day their best friend’s birthday falls on. With 18 built-in apps, Wi-Fi, and a rotating camera, this 7-inch tablet is as feature-packed as it is parent and kid-friendly.
Parents can download additional e-books, games, movies, and music from VTech’s Learning Lodge store, which features both VTech apps and select age-appropriate Android apps (such as Toca Boca’s Toca Pet Doctor, which is incredibly cute and you need to download it “for your kids” right now). And with additional storage via an optional microSD card, the downloadable play is nearly endless.
The educational apps and ebooks range in topics from social studies to math and everything in between, letting kids help their favorite characters—like Hello Kitty, Iron Man, and yes, of course, Elsa, Anna, and Olaf—dodge monsters, rebuild train tracks, and generally save the day. My favorite built-in app, however, is the stop-motion video app. Let that sink in a little. Stop. Motion. Video. For Kids.
The Movie Maker app uses the tablet’s camera to let kids capture images and rearrange them into a stop-motion movie with 23 provided songs, ranging in mood from fun and jazzy to dramatic, for any possible type of film. While the app isn’t the most high-tech program I’ve ever seen, it is designed for a kids’ tablet, and it’ll provide hours of creative fun for future Sophia Coppolas and Spike Lees.
When kids need a break from all of the creativity and learning (but lets be real, these games are fun), the app store has a number of “Just for Fun” kid-approved videos and music to download—so no need to worry about uncensored ads popping up when kids go looking for their favorite songs or crazy YouTube comments on episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
The Innotab MAX’s safety settings allow parents to control the apps their kids can access, as well as for how long they can access them. They can also add to VTech’s list of kid-approved websites accessible through the tablet’s kid-friendly browser. The tablet allows for four player profiles, which parents can customize depending on the needs and abilities of each user.
VTech’s new and improved Kid Connect app, which parents and older siblings can download for their own devices on the iOS and Android app stores, allows kids to message their family and friends and post on the Family Bulletin board, which VTech will release later this fall.
InnoTab cartridge games are also available at major retailers.