Chapter 2 : Choosing a System for Your Preschool Child

If your child has older siblings he or she most likely sits and watches the other children play their video games only to wonder why they can’t participate.  With a video system based towards learning and creative play, your child can feel like a big kid and learn a thing or two while doing so.

The VTech V-Smile is geared towards children between the ages of 3 to 8 years of age.  This educational video game system can easily connect to any television in your home.  It has fairly good graphics that seem to look better on a small television set rather than a larger screen.  This system would work great set up in your child’s room and would not take up a lot of room.  The less clutter the better.  V-Smile approaches learning with a unique ability that is sure to attract even the most reluctant children.  You could go as far as saying it tricks them into learning.  This is the first of it’s kind that allows early school age learners to play several imaginative and exciting games.

It uses popular characters to guide the children through age appropriate skill levels and master their developmental skills.  They will learn essential skills to help them with their teachings in school, such as:

  • Math
  • Spelling
  • Problem Solving
  • Memorizing the Alphabet
  • Color Recognition

The creative jumbo sized joystick is designed for right or left handed children.  This will ensure no child will feel left out.  The joystick also has four flashing buttons with a huge enter button in the center of the pad that is created especially for preschoolers’ little hands and fingers.  The four buttons are a great way to teach your child their colors while learning to play their games.  A second joystick can be added for two-player games, although the second joystick would have to be purchased separately.

If your preschooler is able to recognize letters, then the starter system should be enough to keep them interested for a while.  If your child is just beginning to learn their ABC’s, then you may want to purchase some other games that will teach them their alphabet rather than simply reinforcing it.  There are several other games you may want to consider to reinforce their other skills and developments.

If your child is on the younger end of the age group you may have to help them insert and eject the cartridges until they are familiar with the system.  This may also be the case with the games they play.  Some of the games will need your initial instructions, but after one or two times your preschooler should get the hang of it.

The basic system comes complete with the game console and one jumbo joystick.  The joystick is a wonderful way to have your child learn their basic hand-eye coordination. 

The control is easily adjusted for left or right handed children.

The package also includes one game called Alphabet Adventures.  This game does require your child to know some letter recognition to play.  Alphabet Adventures focuses on the reinforcement of the alphabet and simple spelling words.  This game has two different modes to play.  One is going to the adventure park and trying to help grandpa build toys.  There is also a free play mode that lets your preschooler pick what games they want to play.

One nice feature of this system is how easy it is to set up.  There are no extra wires that need to be hooked up to your television.  You don’t have to worry about your television being compatible, which is great if you have an older television for game playing.  The console can be plugged into the wall or can be battery operated.

The games or (smartridges) are labeled with age recommendations on them.  This makes it easy to pick out the perfect game for your child.  This is also nice for relatives when purchasing a game for your child’s birthday or special holiday.  Most of the games come with two different levels of play, so once your child masters the easier level they can advance to a more difficult level.  The two different levels make the games more useful and less of a chance of them getting tired of the same game.

Another great perk to the V-Smile is the accessories that are available for purchase.  As stated before, you can purchase an extra joystick and let their friends join in on the fun.  They are retailed at a very reasonable price and sound at many retailers.  There is a 9-volt adapter, which is great for taking it on the road with you.  A V-Smile art studio is a nice accessory to accompany your child’s system.

If you decide to purchase a V-Smile learning system the one thing you won’t have to worry about is the price.  The price of the system generally ranges from 65 to 50 dollars.  It can be found at Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart, and many other retail stores.  Prices usually drop closer to the holidays.  And if you are willing to shop the day after Thanksgiving many stores will have their lowest prices on gaming systems.

The variety of games available for the VTech V-Smile continues to grow rapidly.  Many of your preschooler’s favorite characters are featured in the smartridges.  Here are just a few titles you may be interested in;

  • Aladdin’s Wonders of The World
  • Barney’s Land of Make Believe
  • Blue’s Clues:  Blue’s Collections
  • Bob the Builder:  Bob’s Busy Day
  • Cinderella’s Magic Wishes
  • Dora’s Fix-It Adventure
  • It’s Wiggle Time
  • Scooby-Doo Funland Frenzy
  • Spider-Man & Friends Secret Mission
  • The Lion King:  Simba’s Big Adventure
  • The Little Mermaid:  Ariel’s Majestic Journey
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Toy Story 2:  Operation Rescue Woody!

As you can see the variety of games is endless.  No matter what your child’s interests are there is something for everyone.

All of the games are in the same basic price range, which is about $18.95.  A pretty fair price considering the range for some other games on the market.

For children on the go, you may want to consider a V-Smile Pocket.  This system also combines a video game platform with fun time learning.  This is a portable system that can go anywhere and can also be connected directly to your television at home.  The portable system is geared toward a slightly older group, ranging from age 5 and older.  The Pocket features a full color high resolution game play for an amazing screen for playing your games.

The V-Smile Pocket operates on 4 AA batteries or you can purchase a rechargeable Power Pack from VTech.  The best perk about the Pocket is it plays all of the smartriges from the basic console system.

There are some accessories available for the portable system as well.  There is a V-smile Pocket Car Charger for purchase around $10.00.  To protect your child’s system you could consider the Pocket Case.  This is a great accessory to protect it from any damaged from dropping it or scrapes. As stated before, a Pocket Power Pack for nonstop playing.  This is great for long car trips and not having to purchase batteries.

The V-Tech Pocket tends to cost a little more than the console system.  The average price for the portable system is around 80 dollars.

The Pocket version of the video learning system comes in a package similar to the console system.  This includes;

  • Connector Cable which allows you to directly hook up your portable system to your television in your home or anywhere else.
  • Full-color LCD screen with 320x240 resolution
  • Zayzoo, My Alien Classmate (smartridge included)
  • Headphone jack ( you will have to purchase headphones separately)

The controls can also be adjusted for right handed or left handed players.

After reviewing the VTech V-Smile Learning System, hopefully this will help you in making your decision on when it is the right time to purchase your child’s first video game system. 

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