Fisher-Price takes Interactive Play to a New Level
Fisher-Price recently announced its new product, the Laugh & Learn Apptivity Case, available for iPads, iPhones, and iPods. This case serves as a protection against toddler damange, while doubling as a teething toy. “At Fisher-Price, ‘we bring babies in with their moms and watch them at play with different types of apps, different types of […]
Fisher-Price recently announced its new product, the Laugh & Learn Apptivity Case, available for iPads, iPhones, and iPods. This case serves as a protection against toddler damange, while doubling as a teething toy.
“At Fisher-Price, ‘we bring babies in with their moms and watch them at play with different types of apps, different types of products,’ said Deborah Weber, senior manager of infant research. Her job, she said, is to ‘understand the ages and stages of babies — what they can and can’t do, what their interests are, and the growing needs of families today.’”
However, Fisher-Price is not the only company who is investigating this toddler driven market. Hasbro and Crayola have teamed with digital media companies to conduct similar research and develop new products, and LeapFrog has developed their own touchscreen toddler tablet entitled LeapPad. All tapping into this new research movement, companies are striving to produce the best product for infant play.
“At Fisher-Price, Ms. Weber said, ‘We see 6-month-olds batting at the screen, 9-month-olds swiping, and 12-month-olds pointing out objects to see.’ Observations like these are passed along to toy producers and industrial designers, resulting in products like the iPad case and the Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey, which comes out in August.”
“The Apptivity Monkey would pass for just another stuffed animal if it didn’t have a thick, plastic iPhone case attached to its belly; the front of the case is made of see-through plastic. An iPhone can be placed inside, and a child can play apps on it, either by pressing on the iPhone directly or on the monkey’s paws, which interact with an array of alphabet and singing apps.”
These toys are doing more than pacifying young children, they’re changing the way that youth is learning. Apps have now become one of the fundamental ways that children engage technology. By developing early education apps, innovators are altering the learning process, speeding up what already was.
“Innovations like this are fueling the digital toy trend, according to Lisa Harnisch, senior vice president and general merchandising manager at Toys “R” Us. Last year, she said, the trend in children’s apps and app-related products ‘really started to heighten and explode.’ Indeed, in the last year, there have been nearly three million downloads of Fisher-Price’s Laugh & Learn apps. By year-end, LeapFrog expects to have 325 apps at its online App Center, double the number at the end of 2011.”
To learn more about toddler-friendly toy development, read the full New York Times article.
Published July 13, 2012