Interactive toys are starting to become really popular these days. We were sent the new Cognitoys Dino Interactive Dinosaur to try out. Given that the boy loves dinosaurs in all forms, we thought we’d be onto a winner. But what did we really think?
First of all, if you’ve ordered one of these from Father Christmas I suggest you carefully open the box, put the batteries in (you’ll need a small screwdriver) and then have a read of the instructions. You’ll need to download a free app to get your dino up and running. It’s probably better to do all this before you’re sat in a room with an impatient child who wants to play with their toy now, this instant, immediately!
The Cognitoys Dino is really easy to set up. The batteries (4AA’s if you need spares) just slot into the battery compartment underneath. You download the app and connect the dino to your Wi-Fi and then he’s good to go.
The mouth of your Cognitoys Dino will change colour to indicate what he is doing. If it’s blue he’s talking, if it’s yellow he’s listening etc. You press down the button on his tummy to talk to him and let go of the button when you’ve finished.
The Cognitoys Dino is meant to be an educational toy which helps to develop and improve problem solving skills; creative reasoning, social interaction and active play. He’s fun and funny; so when he asks you a question or asks you to solve a problem, it doesn’t feel overtly educational. The dino is aimed at children aged 5+. It’s designed to adapt to your child’s development and educationally ‘grow’ with your child.
My son who has recently turned 7 was pretty excited to be playing with the Cognitoys Dino. Style wise it’s quite a soft and cartoony looking dinosaur and I did wonder if he’d reject it for being too babyish, but he didn’t. He liked the look of it and gave it lots of cuddles.
The Cognitoys Dino is easy to activate, just press its button and say “hello”. The dino then randomly starts playing games with you, or tells you a story you have to interact with, and tells jokes or answers questions. He’s really quite good fun. I did like the storytelling, he stops every few minutes to ask you questions and check you understand tricky words. It’s all good age-appropriate stuff.
The app which you download to set it up and activate it also acts as a parent portal, meaning you can keep an eye on what your child has been doing with the dino.
I thought the Cognitoys Dino was an excellent tool to help a child’s development. I do have a couple of slight niggles I want to talk about. You may have noticed I’ve referred to the dino as a he, that’s because he speaks with a gruff male dino voice. I think it would be good to have different voice options to choose from. Helpfully, there are three volume settings underneath, so if your dino is a bit loud you can always turn him down a little.
My other slight concern is that many children have speech issues and I wonder how well the dino is able to process what the child is saying. It didn’t always pick up on what my son was saying. He tends to speak quite fast and sometimes blurs his words into each other. This did force him to speak a bit clearer, which is probably no bad thing.
I’m not that keen that it uses batteries, I think in this day and age it should probably have a USB charging option or a charging stand you can put it on to power it up. Batteries seem such an analogue way to power this interactive toy.
The other thing is manners; something we’ve relentlessly drummed into my son. When the Cognitoys Dino asked him if he wanted to play a game Ben replied “Yes please”, but the dino didn’t really understand what he’d said. I know this is a personal niggle, but manners are everything and it would be nice if the dino could recognise and reward good manners to help reinforce what we do at home.
The Cognitoys Dino currently costs around £104 from Amazon UK. It’s a clever piece of kit. We found it really simple to set up and my son found it easy and really enjoyable to use. It’s not perfect, but it is very clever, engaging and hopefully a tool we can use to encourage some good developmental activity at home.
To find out more about the Cognitoys Dino, visit their website.