Over the last few weeks Teddy has become somewhat of a little explorer! He’s fascinated by maps, telling us to put the sat nav on in the car so he can see where we’re going and where he should direct us, looking through his Pop’s binoculars to see what he can see further afield and just all round showing an interest in places and the world around him.
This couldn’t have been a more opportune time for us to review the Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Adventure. Teddy is able to explore the world from the comfort of the living room and learn more about the planet we live on. As soon as it arrive both Toby and Teddy were absolutely dying to get it out of the box to see what it’s all about. There’s something about a globe on a stand that’s a magnet for children and, of course, this one is no exception – especially as there’s a pen attached!
Requiring absolutely nothing to get you started, since it already includes the 3x AAA batteries you need for it to work, you simply turn it on using the button on the pen. It’s quite loud to begin with and I found the introduction a bit ‘tinny’ to start with but once we’d turned it down to a more respectable volume it was much easier listening.
The Smart Globe itself is fixed to a relatively child friendly base (nice and chunky!) and is home to all the functions needed to start interacting with the Smart Globe. Split into three categories – find, touch and compare – there are several subcategories in each one to choose from which will dictate the activity on the globe.
The base also has an enhanced map view of Britain & Ireland which is a great conversation propellor when talking about where we live. Toby has responded particularly well to this, wanting to know places that he hears a lot of talk about such as London and Bath.
This is where you’ll also find the ‘pause’, ‘volume’ and ‘repeat’ functions.
I would really have liked to have seen the Smart Globe with the ability to tilt slightly as you do lose the underneath of it when you’re sitting face on but other than that it’s wonderfully structured and spins freely.
Using The Oregon Scientific Smart Globe
Teddy has been focusing mostly on ‘Countries’ where the Smart Globe will say the country and he has to find where it is, almost like a quiz. This is great as it’s quite basic Geography – though I couldn’t find Japan for the life of me the first time I had a go.
Once he’s found where the country is, he uses the pen to tap it and you get a little bell of confirmation before you get told to find the next one. Other functions include the Smart Globe telling you the capital city of whichever country you touch, continents, language and national anthems to name a few. It’s incredibly informative – even I’ve learned a few things!
One thing I will say is that the pen doesn’t always sense you’ve tapped the Smart Globe. There have been times where Ted’s been tapping away at it and it takes a couple of goes for it to register what he’s trying to do. I also had a go as I thought perhaps it was just a small lack of fine motor skills getting it on point, but it also happened when I had a play. Turns out you need to use the pen flat against as it doesn’t work if you just tap it with an edge.
Allowing both boys to explore more than 220 countries using games, challenges, quizzes and activities is incredibly clever and they really have been loving playing with the Smart Globe; though sometimes the arguments over who is actually playing and had it first can get quite intense!
However, it’s not just for kids! Jamie and I have been scratching up on our knowledge of the globe and it makes for a great competition – but don’t tell the kids we play with it after we’ve gone to bed.
The Oregon Scientific Smart Globe has AR technology which is accessed by downloading the app either on Apple Store or Google Play. Admittedly there were a few hitches when using it but nothing that put me off using it. The boys really enjoyed looking at things on the phone too – Ted was particularly interested in all the animals!
The intro when you turn the Smart Globe on can only be skipped if you choose an activity from the base straight away. It’s also really loud as soon as you turn it on and Ted often covered his ears and said “too loud” before I’d had a chance to adjust the volume.
The instruction manual is minimal. I did think it would be nice to see a little breakdown of all the functions available but the Smart Globe is so easy to use that you can pick it up pretty quickly.
Overall, the Smart Globe is absolutely worth the RRP of £59.99 and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a Christmas present this year, or for any occasion really. Both boys are exploring their interest in the world, where places are and everything that goes hand in hand with it and you’d be hard pressed to find anything that rivals this.
*We received this product in return for review. All views and opinions are my own.