Toy Name? VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone
Who Makes It? VTech
What is It? Electronic toy “smartphone”
What Ages? Recommended for ages 6 months to 3 years
How Much? $15
Needs Batteries? Yes, 2 AAA batteries
This toy phone is one of the top-selling baby toys and no wonder! Any parent who has ever had their toddler accidentally lock up their iPhone, scramble the icons, mysteriously delete apps, or just hand it back covered with sticky fingerprints will be happy to distract their child with this pretend phone.
The VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone acts just like a real smart phone — there is a touch screen with “apps” that light up when touched and you can swipe between screens. In music mode the phone plays several songs, and helps teach letters and numbers. There are 15 different tunes in all. You can even record your own phone number at the “Home” button to aid in learning it.
The touch screen can “swipe” to switch between “apps” mode and music mode. The bright colors attract the baby’s attention and encourage them to interact with the toy. It looks enough like a real phone to engage them in make-believe play, calling and talking with parents, family members, and even other toys! Other family members can use their own actual phones to pretend to talk with the baby, send “messages”, and use apps to get information.
The phone’s small size makes it the perfect toy to carry in a diaper bag for distraction purposes while running errands or waiting in lines. It will also provide entertainment in the car, whether it’s a short car pool hop or a road trip.
The Touch and Swipe phone helps children practice grasping and holding, as well as fine motor skills in pressing the buttons and manipulating switches. As they grow, they can learn numbers, letters, and several songs. And its similarity to the smartphones they see around them will encourage creative pretending and role playing. The variety of functions and the similarity to adult smartphones means that this toy should keep kids entertained through the toddler years and into pre-school age.
According to online reviews, the biggest drawback of this toy is that it is not waterproof, and babies who drool and chew excessively may interfere with the workings of the electronics. It is otherwise very sturdy and holds up well to the dropping and banging common to toddler play. The best way to avoid moisture problems is to wait until the child is past the worst of the teething stage before giving it to them.
This toy does require two AAA batteries, and comes with two included. It features an automatic shutoff, which will keep the phone from using up the batteries too quickly. Some battery-powered toys have lots of play value even when the batteries run down or are turned off. This toy is not one of those! It might be good to keep an extra set of replacement (or charged up) batteries handy.
Children become fascinated by our electronic devices surprisingly early, and seem to know how to manipulate them almost by instinct. All parents will want something to draw attention away from their expensive smartphones while keeping the child entertained. That’s what makes the VTech Touch and Swipe Baby Phone such a popular toy, and it is an excellent gift for a baby (and her parents)!