A little while ago we brought you news of a Kickstarter campaign for a new interactive educational toy called the Ubooly. We loved the idea of it, and so put it on our Christmas Gift list recommendations page. If you were waiting to hear more about it before parting with your hard-earned cash, then the wait is over. We have managed to get our hands on one, so read on to get our hands-on impressions of our newest furry little friend.
The version we have is the smaller Ubooly, designed to house typical smartphone sized devices (e.g. iPhone, iPod Touch, Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy, HTC One etc), but a larger size is available if you would rather use a mini tablet instead (e.g. iPad mini, Nexus 7).
To a cold hearted cynic the Ubooly is in essence nothing more than a glorified protective phone case. This may be true to a certain extent, but seems a bit Scrooge-like to us. In the box is a plush toy which comes in orange, lime green, or hot pink, and which has a zipper at the top that gives access to a compartment inside where you put your smartphone. A window is provided in the phone compartment that allows access to the touchscreen in order to control the app, and the screen of your phone acts as the interactive face of the Ubooly. The plush toy has been designed to give maximum protection to your phone and is stuffed full of memory foam filling. This means that you can be confident it will survive even the toughest roughhousing from even the most boisterous of toddlers. In fact – try tossing your Ubooly up in the air to see how much it enjoys it…
The real brains of the toy comes from the Ubooly app, which is available for free for both iOS or Android. The app does work without the plush toy – so feel free to download it and have a play ahead of getting the toy (although I would avoid throwing your unprotected phone up in the air…). This also means that you can set the app up so it is ready to go as soon as your Ubooly plush toy arrives through the post – great for avoiding any impatient tantrums from your delightful little ones.
What can it do?
When you first set up the app, you teach the Ubooly your child’s name, birthday, interests and hobbies. It uses this to tailor the playing experience specifically for your child. Ubooly can understand voice commands such as “Yes”, “No”, “Play a game”, “Listen to music”, “Tell me a story”, “Tell me a joke”, and many more. You can tap the Ubooly’s face to pause / resume activities, and swipe left and right to rewind or skip ahead. Double tap Ubooly to skip to a new activity, or tap and hold or swipe up and down to put Ubooly to sleep and wake it up.
If you have more than one Ubooly, then try bumping two sleeping Uboolies together. They will wake up and start talking to each other! In order for this to work both devices must either be connected to WiFi or have bluetooth enabled.
Many of the Ubooly activities include a learning experience, and often result in what the company describes as “Active Play” which goes even further to help youngsters to learn and develop core skills through games and hands-on activities. The Ubooly app is free, and allows plenty of playful interaction. However, to go even further special “Play Packs” for learning are available as in-app purchases which cover unique topics as a multi-session course packed full of fun activities and experiments. Some examples of the educational play packs that are available as in-app purchases are:
- Human Body
- Parts of Speech
- Road Trip
If you want to find out more about what the Ubooly can do, visit www.ubooly.com
If you have heard enough and want to get your hands on one of your very own, the Ubooly can be bought online from Apple for £24.99.
To get the app from the App Store or Google Play, click on one of the buttons below:
To see more pictures and screenshots of Ubooly, visit our Facebook Album