Electronic wizardry for youngsters has come a long way, as Maureen Shelley discovers
MY LITTLE PONY PINKIE PIE LEARNS TO WALK Hasbro, $ 59.99 hasbro. com/ mylittlepony
Walking, talking dolls are not new but the My Little Pony franchise takes the doll to a new level in this incarnation. Doll owners can ‘‘ teach’’ Pinkie Pie to walk and the doll will kick its legs and repeat pre-set phrases. A squeeze of the hand will elicit one of the stock phrases. It can be ‘‘ fed’’, comes with a bottle and bowl and is suitable for children aged three-plus. Available in stores from September and will probably have broad appeal to fans and new followers alike.
AR. DRONE WI-FI QUADRICOPTER
Parrot, $ 349 parrot. com
Parrot’s AR. Drone is a wi-fi controlled helicopter with four rotors for added stability. It is controlled remotely by iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. It comes with indoor removable hull featuring apertures to protect the rotor blades and your furniture and an ‘‘ outdoor’’ hull. Budding pilots fly the AR. Drone using the Free Flight app and, depending on the signal strength, it has a range of about 50m.
LEAPSTER EXPLORER Leap Frog, $ 139.99 leapfrog. com
★★★ ★ ■
If you are looking for an educational game console for a four-to-nine-year-old, the Leapster Explorer can assist. This personal device has downloadable apps, supports online play, comes with a variety of games and includes flash cards and videos. Also comes with a preloaded game and a Leaplet ( a learning app download card) and extra games cost $ 44.95 each. Conveniently, its stylus is attached so it can’t get lost. Games range from simple to complex.
SMIGGLE WIZZBANG Smiggle, $ 19.95 to $ 24.95 smiggle. com. au
While not strictly toys, these desk accessories are super cute, fun to play with and due out shortly. The stapler can handle up to 14 sheets of paper officially, but managed 20 before it started grumbling. The hole puncher inserts two holes perfectly on a single sheet of paper or up to 14 sheets at once very cleanly. A guide places the holes correctly for A4 ring binders, while the tape dispenser feeds tape automatically. Robust gadgets and very appealing.
BOP IT! XT Hasbro, $ 39.99 bopit. com. au
This electronic toy records how fast a player obeys commands to flick, twist, bop, shake and spin levers and handles on the Bop It! device. The object is to respond quickly and correctly to the voice commands and get the highest score possible before the device times out. It responds to action with words, sounds or musical tones and comes with a headphone jack so sounds are inaudible to non-players. Unfortunately, the jack can hook up to speakers!