Any parent knows that irrespective of what engaging and exciting toys you buy for your children, they will always be more interested in your mobile phone or tablet computer. It's an inescapable fact of modern day parenting. With this in mind, toy firm Little Tikes has revealed a range of iPhone-friendly toys which can connect with your iOS devices.
The iTikes toys include a keyboard, map, microscope and an art canvas, all of which can be used as stand-alone toys. But it's when you add an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running a free iTikes app, that the fun really begins and the toys gain additional (and considerably more high-tech) functionality.
For example, without an iOS device the iTikes Keyboard is a typical child's keyboard which can be used to make noise, play along to built-in songs and record musical masterpieces. With an iOS device (an iPad, iPhone 3 or newer, or an iPod Touch 4) learning games teach little musicians to read notes, hear pitch, sight read music or watch visualizations.
iTikes Microscope is a real working microscope with 3 focus adjustments 100x, 200x and 300x which comes with 12 slides each, containing 3 real specimens. Children can also learn more about the plants, bugs or animals they are looking at via the microscope’s built-in learning system. But with an iTikes app-toting iPad, iPhone 3 or newer, or an iPod Touch 4, they can also watch animations, hear more facts and play with interactive 3D images of what they are looking at through the microscope.
Likewise, on its own the iTikes Canvas is a classic magnetic doodler, but with an iPad (any version) it gains coloring pages, interactive games and the ability to "stamp" shapes onto your little ones works of art at the touch of an oversized button. Artworks can then be saved and shared online.
The iTikes Map includes 6 maps with information about subjects from dinosaurs and world facts to the solar system, and when without an Apple device these facts are accessed using a smart pen. But when an iPhone 3 or newer, or an iPod Touch 4 is held over the augmented reality enabled maps, illustrations, animations and interactive 3D images can be accessed.
The iTikes range is set to go on sale in time for your children to pester you for one for Christmas. The map will cost £60 (around US$93), the microscope is £75 ($116), the art canvas comes in at £40 ($62) and the keyboard £50 ($77). Each toy also comes with a matching white and lime green plastic case to give your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch a bit of added protection.