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After several weeks of in our house, I have to admit, I’ve been starting to feel just a little bit guilty about all of the screen time Max has been having.
Actually, to be fair, “guilty” is probably too strong a word here: I think we all just do the best we can when it comes to(And, I mean, it’s not like you can force an ill toddler to go to the park, or play with some nice wooden toys, when he’s made it clear that “cuddles” are the only thing on his agenda for the day, is it?), but, all the same, now that everyone’s finally on the mend, I’m keen to try to replace Anna and Elsa with something a little more educational: which is why this device arrived at exactly the right moment for us.
(No offence to Anna and Elsa, obviously.)
(Especially not Elsa: I mean, last time she was insulted, she froze the whole of Arendelle, and I’m not messing with that, seriously.)
(Yeah, OK, maybe I DO feel a bit guilty about all of those hours of Frozen…)
TIMIO is an audio and music player for children: it’s screen-free, but designed to hold your child’s attention with a selection of fun and educational content, which is suitable for a wide range of age-groups. The basic device looks like this:
It’s lightweight and durable (I can definitely attest to this, as someone in our household may have dropped it a couple of times already: not naming any names, here. ..), and has a little handle which Max very much enjoys carrying it around with. It comes with a huge selection of magnetic discs, which you clip into place in order to unlock the content, which ranges from nursery rhymes and counting games to fairytales and music: oh, and all of this is available in 6 different languages, so if your child is learning another language, this could be a really cool way to help them do it.
Our TIMIO came with no less than 20 different discs, which contain content suitable for children aged from around 3 all the way up to 8. At just over 2, Max is obviously slightly younger than that suggested age range, but we actually found plenty to interest him on the discs: his favourite so far is probably the music disc, which includes a little piano which he can press and play, but there’s also content based around helping children learn about colours, shapes, animals, etc – all stuff that we’ve been working on with him anyway, but presented in a format which makes it much more fun and interactive for him.
I, meanwhile, have been particularly appreciative of the Fairy Tales and Bedtime Stories discs. Max has always loved a good story, but lately he’s been asking us to tell him a story, rather than reading one: particularly at bedtime. Oh, and the stories must all revolved around Darth Vader. Yes, the one from Star Wars. No, he has not been watching Star Wars: don’t look at me like that! He found an old birthday card I’d given Terry years ago, which has a picture of Darth Vader on the front, and, after initially being terrified of him, became absolutely OBSESSED with him, to the extent that, well, THIS:
Darth Max warning his reflection not to fail him again…
So, as I said, all stories must include Darth Vader, and while Terry is really good at just spinning a tale from nothing, I’ve basically just been having to insert ol’d Darth into existing stories. (My personal favourite is The Darth Vader of Oz, but Darth and the Giant Beanstalk is pretty good too, tbf…) These TIMIO story discs obviously do NOT chart the bizarre shenanigans of the universe’s favourite foe (Because how much of a coincidence would THAT be if they did?!), but they have allowed us to introduce Max to some slightly more age-appropriate bedtime stories: and have also given me some decent ideas for the ongoing adventures of Darth, obviously…
As well as the stories, there’s also a Lullabies disc which plays soothing sounds, from music to waves, to standard white noise. My experiment in leaving the device next to Max’s pillow while playing this disc was, sadly doomed to failure – he was much too interested in pushing the various buttons on it to actually fall asleep with it near him – but I think it’ll come in really handy the next time we travel: assuming we put it somewhere out of his reach, obviously. At home, we use an Amazon Echo in his room to play white noise, but when we’re away somewhere we normally have to set up Terry’s laptop instead, which means Terry can’t use it once Max is in bed. This device, however, is designed to be totally portable (It runs off 3 AA batteries, so you don’t have to worry about charging it, or anything like that…), so I think it’ll be really useful both on the plane, and when we’re on holiday.
TIMIO costs 119 EUR, comes complete with 20 content discs, and can be purchased online here: enjoy!