* Prices may differ from that shown
There seems to be many variations of this toy as they have upgraded over the years like all consoles do ours is the vsmile that has the joystick with the stylus included with it. We paid around £20 for this at Argos but that was a sale price and these can retail to anything up to £50 so do shop around.
The console and setting it up
The console itself is pretty basic it is made of plastic and is rather chunky and reminds me a little of the old Nintendo consoles. It operates with cartridges you receive one with the console when you purchase it and others are available to purchase separately. You can purchase this in different colours we have the blue one as my son was the one who received it but it also comes in orange and pink so a colour for anyone.On top of the console there is a storage section for games that simply lifts up and down I think this is great as with all the toys and games my son has it means we can keep them in one place we have 4 games for this console and they fit in there easily and there is even room for a couple more.
To set it up it is simple there is a scart lead option and a video audio cable option which is the one we use so it is just plugging the three coloured wires in to the TV and it is ready to go then you just put the cartridge in the console and push the on button and it magically appears on the TV.There is also the option for two controllers though only one is provided you can purchase one separately and some of the games have a two player option so your children can play together.
Well the games all vary but all has the same concept they use your child's favourite characters and settings and you can choose one of two options learning mode or just normal action mode.Learning mode as it suggests has games to play like help Thomas sort through puzzles and challenges like sorting items for a delivery choosing the correct shape for Thomas to move forward on the track. All the different puzzles help teach children shapes, colours numbers and lots of other skills while still making it fun and like a video game. Action mode still brings in some of these features although it is a lot more of a video game and there is not as many challenges for little one to get through and is more simple fun of controlling Thomas in games.
The joystick has 4 different coloured buttons which are used in the game the child is asked to pick the correct corresponding colour for the correct puzzle piece or object for Thomas to move forward. The joystick controls which way the characters move in the game and on the whole it works very well sometimes it can send the character the wrong way or stick for a second but mostly the console responds very well to the way the controller is being moved. There is also a small area for little one to draw or write letters when asked to as part of the game and again this responds fairly well and encourages little ones to begin writing letters and numbers.There is a wide range of activities for the child to use and it is all done in a simple yet engaging way giving them choice of how they would like to play so keeping the whole experience interesting for them no matter how many times they have played.All the characters from your child's favourite show is used and the whole set out is fairly easy to use on most games although some are a little confusing sometimes for little one as they say practise makes perfect and they will soon be able to use all the features.
There are a range of game you can purchase for this console and they all retail at around £9.99 although again do shop around as they are often on special offer and a lot cheaper. There are a wide range of characters available from Thomas to Scooby doo to Dora so you will be able to find a game to suit your little one and the console itself can be purchased with a choice of a free game to suit the child that will be using it.You can also buy games depending on the age range so some of the games are aimed at the lower age range of 3-5 years and others are aimed at a higher age range of 5 -7 so the console can grow with your child and they have more challenging games on it. The instructions do have text on the screen but they are all spoken too so that little one can follow the game easily while seeing the words being spoken to them again helping with letter recognition.
The console takes C batteries and you need 3 C batteries which do run out rather quickly and as they are not provided with the system you will need to have them ready before you can use the console. After searching the internet we found vetch do sell a charger for this console it is a 9 volt charger that can power a lot of the v tech consoles and costs around £9 and I would recommend purchasing this as it will stop the cost creeping up from using batteries. We were a little disappointed that this was not included as there is no mention of it when you purchase the console it is just another way to squeeze a little bit extra out of parents after paying for the console itself.
The graphics are really basic on this console the characters do look true to the TV programs and books they are based on but the whole set up of the game is a little grainy and basic. The voices are clear and although the voices are often out of synch with the mouths on the games my children do not seem to mind. It still provides a fun video game feel for them and all the backgrounds and characters used are easily recognisable to children and it makes them happy so that is all that matters.All the games and scenes are bright in colour and really attract little one to the game and keep them engaged and focused on the task in hand they use the characters well for example Thomas has to make deliveries to different places and Dora has to sort animals in to different sizes so they stay true to the sort of activities they would be doing in their TV programs and books.
Ease of use
The cartridges are a little hard to get in and out of the console and this really is a job for mummy or daddy and as we need to set it up to the TV for my son anyway this really is not a problem.At first my son found it a little difficult to use not because of the joy pad or controls but because of the way the menus are set out on the screen it can be a little daunting for little one but after a few times of using this console he is now a pro and can use it better than mummy.Instructions are all spoken to little one or have clear illustrations so they can understand what they need to do which I thought was great as this is recommended from 3 years plus and children are not reading at this stage I have found other consoles aimed at children tend to use a lot of text which can be frustrating for a child as they wish to use it independently rather than having mummy have to tell them what they need to do.
The joystick is very easy to use although there are 3 different ways it can be used, the coloured buttons the stylus and the joystick it is all set out clearly and simply so your child knows exactly what each part is for. There is also a large enter button, a pause button and a exit button so your child can be in control at all times.It is a good size to hold in little ones hands meaning they can move between all the features easily and it is still comfortable to hold and use while playing the game.
My son loves this console and although of late he has become a little bored with it and moved on to his Storio he has had this for around 2 years so it got a fair amount of use out of it. My daughter now uses it and it still works perfectly she loves it just as much as my son does and I can see some improvement with her writing and letter recognition already.
From a parents point of view although it is not great for children to sit on a console for great amount of times when limited this can be a really handy tool in encouraging them to learn a wide range of things. It encourages little one to recognise and use letters, numbers, shapes, colours while using their brains to solve problems yet still provides a fun experience for them along the way.
It has already lasted nearly two years and although sometimes the game can stick and we have to reset the console this only happens very rarely and overall it still performs very well. Different games can be used to suit different children and in the games are different settings so they can be less challenging for beginners and more challenging for older children.
I would recommend this console to anyone the age recommendation from 3 plus is perfect as this is when I found my children were able to operate it correctly and take part in the puzzles and challenges created on the games.
We originally bought this for our son when he was just about to turn 3 he is now almost 6 and has just recently lost interest in it.
The console plugs in to the TV and comes with cartridge type games which are both fun and educational, we had Winnie the Pooh, Thomas the tank engine and a Diego game for ours.
The controls are easy for little ones to manage and the games all have an eductaional value with counting, colours and basic alphabet and phonics.
The only downside to the console is that it would sometimes freeze then switch itself off in the middle of a game meaning that it would have to be unplugged and reset which caused more than a few tears at time.
Value for money though and a great way to introduce a younger child to gaming.
We had the original orange version but it is also available in pink for a girl and I believe there is a
Thomas the tank version also.
Overall good play and educational value.
We bought this for my daughter when she was 3, What a waste of money the graphics on the games were rubbish, the controls on the games were very hard to use which put my daughter off using them. The drawing pad didn't work half the time. We decided that we were better off just buying children's game for the other consoles we have, my daughter enjoyed this a lot more then a console that was aimed at her own age. Very disappointed, we wasted a lot of money and didn't get half as much back when we sold it.
Like all kids, if one has something then the other one want it too! This is what happened when my eldest son had his console. His brother wanted one...
As he was only 4 at the time I bought my middle son the V-Tech V-Smile console. My main reason was that it looked very child friendly and it using cartridges rather than discs. Disc as we know can get scratched and broken very easily so these cartridges prove quite invaluable.
We chose to get the Thomas the Tank version rather than the orignal orange and purple one as it seemed much more boy friendly! It also came with a Thomas game.
We also bought the art studio the same time, this allows you to draw on the board with and watch it all come up on the television, the contoller also has a little pad on it for writing.
All the games have similar type features and are educational and fun.
You can also get the console in a pink version for girls.
The V-Smile is a console that connects to the television in the same way other console do (ie. xbox/playstation etc). It comes with a great little controller that can be flipped to the left or right which makes it suitable for left or right handed children, I found this a lovely little, thoughful feature.
It also has a compartment to the back of the console where there is space to store 6 cartridge games.
It is aimed at 3 - 7 years although younger could use it with ease.
The thing I found really annoying is that the mains adaptor was not included in the package. I had to purchase this seperatly and was another £10 I could have done without spending. It does run off batteries but I couldn't see them lasting very long to be honest.
The console cost me around £40 around 3 yrs ago from argos. I would suggest looking on ebay etc.. to see if you can get it cheaper as a newer version of this hasn't long been released. It can be bought on amazon for £21.00.
I bought the V.Smile console as a present for my daughter when she was 2.
The Vsmile can be bought in a few different colours, but I got the pink and purple one which came with a Dora the Explorer game included.
The console is about 10 inches by 3 inches by 8 inches. There is a slot at the front to insert the game cartridges, which are little plastic things about 3 by 3 inches and only .25 of an inch thick.
The console connects directly to your tv by using 3 av leads (which are supplied).
The picture quality is surprisingly good, although somewhat basic. The graphics are nothing spectacular but I think that makes it more appealing to 2 - 3 year olds as they can see exactly what it going on and the pictures are clear and simple.
The console has an on/off switch at the front and is very simple to operate. As soon as it is switched on, you load a cartridge in and the game boots up quickly. You are then ready to go.
The console comes with one joystick/writing pad. The joystick fits little hands comfortably and my daughter only needed a couple of goes on it before she was an expert. The writing pad requires a little more skill. It comes with a pen attached. As you touch the writing pad with the pen, you see a cursor appear on the tv screen and you are able to manouver it with the pen. The pen can be a little jumpy but my daughter eventually got the hang of it with a bit of practice. For fine tuning a child's motor skils, it's very good.
The control console also has 4 coloured buttons on it and the games often ask you to press a certain colour button, so it helps young children learn and recognise their colours.
The product also comes with a microphone. The top of the console flips open to reveal a storage compartment where you will find the microphone. It is internally attached tothe console, so there ane no further wires to plug in. The Dora game has a singing section and I think the microphone works really well. My Daughter loves hearing her voice coming through the tv.
The console has 2 sockets for controllers, so you can play with 2 players if you buy an additional controller.
Underneath the console is a battery compartment. The product runs on 4 AA batteries, but I have never used these as I invested in a VTech adaptor, which means the console can be mains powered. The adaptor only cost me about £3, so has been well worth it.
I paid £25 for this console and it has been a good investment. The games can be expensive - sometimes about £20, but I keep an eye out in the sales and often pick them up at a more reasonable price - around £5.
As a first games console I think this i a great product. My daughter is now 4 and a half and still really enjoys playing on it, along with her 2 year old sister. I think we'll be using it for several years to come.
This unique TV learning system allows your child to learn fundamental skills through play including all the pre-school basics: i.e English, Maths, logic and science.
The sturdy looking console is brightly coloured (see above picture) and I believe it can also be purchased in pink if buying for a girl only. It has a useful storage compartment that can store up to six games which is very handy.
The console comes with a robust Joystick which is easy for them to hold with large and also colourful buttons that light up on it during game play and cleverly, there is a switch to turn the joystick around for left-handed children so it is easier for them to operate which is a nice touch. Also included is an A/V cable so that you can connect this to your T.V. and we got a game (Winnie the Pooh - The Honey Hunt) included to start us off.
I bought this for my two children when my son was four and my daughter was three but the age range in game terms goes from 3 up to 7 years in the following brackets: 3-5 years, 4-6 years and 5-7 years. Many of the games are based on children's favourite disney or cartoon characters which they love. For example: The Lion King, the Little Princess or Scooby-Doo, Spiderman and Mickey Mouse so the games are geared towards both genders fairly equally.
The graphics are brightly coloured and the characters within the games are very encouraging and will prompt a player to navigate through the games and tasks if necessary.
My children absolutely loved having their very own games unit and we did buy another joystick as there is a two player mode option in all of the games. I loved the fact that although they were in front of the T.V. playing a computer game, it was not some mindless shoot 'em up game but something that would enhance their learning as well as their hand to eye co-ordination skills. The age ranges suited them perfectly so there were very few times where they got frustrated and felt that they could not do something themselves.
Now aged seven and five and a half, they don't play it as much because the Wii has superceded it but we did get a good three years of enjoyment and extended use out of this and they do still occasionally play it and in all we have about 10 games that have been played in their entirety by both of them more than once.
I would highly recommend this learning system to parents.
Well, maybe we're unusual in this, but after more than four years we are still using it. And yes, when he has finished I have a little go before switching it off...We bought it when our son was little, but older at 4 than most children who nowadays get their first console at two. It came with the Winnie The Pooh game, but we bought lots more to go with it and later on the drawing pad and the dance mat, very handy when friends came over with their little girls. I am no expert, but I am pretty sure in some way it helped speed up his learning of the alphabet and basic spelling, although he is no genius. It just has an element of fun that sets it apart from other children's "computers". It might have been the controllers, grown up in design but very sturdy at the same time, or the games, which made him think this was his very own game station, but he never tired of it. Even now, when he plays with so many other portable consoles, he still goes back to it every couple of months (even the dance mat, when there's no one around), while all the other "laptops" have long been abandoned. We started buying batteries for it, but after a while saw the error of our ways and bought an adaptor. I like the fact that the games are divided into age groups so you know what difficulty to expect from them, unlike others which generically state they are from age 3 and turn out to be way too hard for the little ones. The children love it because there are plenty of famous characters to choose from for their games, and they are educational without being boring.
Now he mostly plays with 2 or 3 games but also uses the drawing pad, which is a gem in itself, very good for the creative types. Realistically, it is about to be consigned to the loft, but we had a lot out of it and it has not broken, which is quite a feat, so we definitely got our money's worth. I would advise parents to get one of these for their toddlers because it's more age appropriate and better for their eyesight, and maybe get one of the well known portable devices later on, or possibly get this in conjunction with its "pocket" version to get the most out of the games. At worst, you would get two years of play out of it, but it goes up to age 8 or 9, I think, so it would be money well spent. It is obviously more expensive if you factor in all the games and the external accessories, but it is still cheaper than all the major portables and has been sold at reduced price at Argos, Amazon and Toys R Us.
My daughter recieved a V.tech smile console for Chrstmas and I have to review it to let you all know how brilliant I think it is!
My Daughter is three years old and very much into Dora the Explorer so with her V.smile she recieved the Dora game. Im not going into details of the game as that ruin the suprise when you buy one haha!
The console itself - V.smile is very compact and easy to use it simply plugs straight into your t.v threw a scart, we use batteries to power ours, alternativly you can use a 9v adapter.
The console includes a very easy to use joystick along with a microphone for sing along games and a pad and pen that you can use for other learning games.
V.tech games that you can buy for this console range in age (certain games are for older/younger children) and price from around £9-£18. The console itself cost me £29.99 but they also range in price depending on were you buy it from, I found Tesco or Argos to be the best.
The different games each have different ways in which help your child develop educationally, i.e the games involve counting,spelling,colours,vocabulary,matching,music, problem solving etc.
Each game has its own key features.
Its all about learning with a smile, whats better when learning turns into fun.
My advice to anyone with a pre schooler is to purchase one of these as its a great educational fun toy. Me and my daughter have many fun moments playing this and its so nice to see her learning whilst having fun. Shes so proud when shes able to fulfill the tasks involved herself and moves on to the next level.
When my daughter started taking an interest in her older brothers games console, just before her 3rd birthday, it caused some conflict in the house. She, naturally, was interested and wanted a turn. He, again naturally, didn't want her sticky mits anywhere near it and to be honest, his games weren't all that suitable for a little princess anyway. This gave me the perfect solution to her 3rd birthday gift, and I purchased her very own console. Or rather the Vtech V-smile T.V learning system.
~ The Product ~
The Vtech V-smile learning system is a games console aimed at pre-school children between the ages of 3 and 9 years. Vtech themselves describe the V-smile learning system as a solution to the dilemma surrounding young children and consoles, claiming it combines " A kid friendly design, age appropriate curriculum, entertaining graphics and fun game play" as well as being " An innovative way for your child to learn while having fun".
We have a pink and lilac console, in fitting with my daughters princess tastes. The console is thick and chunky plastic, a similar size and shape to a shoe box. It comes with one joy stick and drawing pad, with pen attached and a microphone. Additional joysticks can be purchased giving you a two player game option. Games cartridges are loaded at the front of the machine and on the top there is a compartment with a lid to store the small games.
The console connects easily to the TV, even a technophobe like myself managed it without any difficulty. You simply connect the 3 audio and video input cables to your television. If your TV doesn't have audio/video input sockets on your TV, you can connect the console with a scart lead. A scart adaptor is included with the console, but you will have to purchase a scart lead. Similarly you can connect with a scart lead to a VCR machine. As I have audio/video sockets, I used that method and simply switched my TV to AV2 by the remote and we were ready to go.
The V-smile learning system requires power by either battery or an AC adaptor, however neither are provided with the console and have to be bought separately. I hadn't realised this and found it quite annoying, in particular Vtech insist you use their own adaptor which costs an additional £10!. As I didn't have one and my daughter was keen to play, I used batteries (4 x AA). I have changed the batteries in the console twice in 2 years, however this has very little to do with the machine using little power and more to do with it having very little use.
Finally, the V-smile learning system came with 1 Dora the Explorer cartridge game (other colour consoles come with different games). Additional games can be purchased and there seems to be a pretty good selection of Disney and TV characters to choose from. Prices range from £9.99 to £24.99 and they are apparently age appropriate. Some will be aimed at 3-5 year olds while others at 5 plus.
~ My (and daughters) Opinion ~
My daughter was keen to get this up and running straight away, and as described above it was very easy to do so. As well as the Dora game that came with the console, I had also purchased 2 other games. And here came the first issue I have with this system. The games are a cartridge style and are slotted in vertically into the machine. However this is very difficult to do. My daughter can not manage to push the game down hard enough, or pull it out when she wants to remove it. In fact I have to use a considerable amount of strength and am always fearful of breaking the machinery where the game slots.
My next complaint is with the quality of the graphics and sound. While I wasn't expecting WII or Xbox 360 graphics, they are very poor and old fashioned. The pictures are really fuzzy and the sound is awfully muffled. Both myself and my daughter struggle to hear the audio instructions, which make game play very difficult. The ability required in the game play isn't particularly high, my daughter had no problem from the start with controlling characters with the joy stick, however there seems to be a lot of alphabetical and numerical games which in my opinion are not age appropriate, and my daughter really struggled with, even with my help and eventually got bored and wandered off leaving me to do it alone.
The pen and microphone sound like exciting features, however the truth is very few of the games have the function that requires them. Out of five games we now own, only two use these features. Even then, they are pretty underwhelming. There might be a couple of songs like 'twinkle twinkle little star' you can sing along to, but my daughter already had a childs cassette player with microphone, and a larger range of songs at her fingertips, which she much preferred. The pen and drawing pad also don't have much use, although on the rare occassion they are required, do work quite well and are fun, encouraging hand to eye co-ordination and concentration.
On the plus side, the console is very attractive looking and easy to clean and maintain. It has big chunky coloured buttons for matching games and is reasonably easy to use. It's a relatively cheap option when considering a console for this age group, at just £39.99 as of the date of this review (although I paid £10 more 2 years ago). I'm afraid that's where the positive end for me, contrary to a lot of other reviews I have read.
Of course you maybe thinking that I am judging this through adult eyes and being unfair. After all does a pre-school child require the fantastic graphics and features of more expensive consoles? Possibly not, but the fact that in 2 years my daughter has played with this console less than 20 times speaks volumes. On the rare occasion she does get it out, it isn't long before she is bored or frustrated and it's put away and forgotten about.
~ Conclusion ~
I am pretty disappointed with the Vtech learning system, and it would seem that it's little owner isn't all that impressed either.
Vtech continually market this toy as a 'learning' system, yet I struggle to find anything educational in it. Cbeebies and Nick JNR websites provide more fun games with educational value, and with equal if not better graphics (and presuming you have the internet are free!). Pens, paper, reading books and some of your time are far better alternatives when learning your child to read and write. The talking and pronunciation (when you can make it out) is American to boot and I already struggle to stop my daughter saying 'Jagwaar' and 'Ladybug' thanks to a certain Animal rescuer!
I think that perhaps at the age of 3 a child doesn't even need a console. If you can put it off for a year or two, then you'd be far better investing in a proper games console which will last longer and grow with your child. The V smile learning system is designed for children upto 9 years old, however I have to be honest and say I can not see many 5 year old upwards children being either interested or impressed in this machine and the games it has to offer.
I pretty much feel I wasted my money on this system and the games I bought to go with it. My daughter has got little enjoyment from it and its been relegated to the cupboard under the stairs, barely seeing the light of day. I'm afraid the V-smile learning system receives just 2 stars from me.
My son's main present of the "in-laws" for Christmas is the product I will now try and review. The reason I am only just getting to grips with it is the poor little sod had to wait until his birthday for a television, this was so he could actually play with it!
The product I will now review is - "Thomas the tank, v-tech, v-smile"
I am sure that many of you have seen these units advertised on the television, especially before Christmas, this is how and when my son first spotted it.
First the set up -
This was the part I wasn't looking forwards to. My husband normally sorts out any of the toys or even household electrical's as he seems to be able to set things up without the aid of instructions, or at least that's what he says!
Unfortunately two nights ago he discovered the delight that is Facebook, I have yet to get any sense out of him bar from who his new friends are, and can I help with the film quiz!
Ok, so I'm on my own.
I tentatively remove the very well packaged unit and accessories from the box. I am faced with a yellow clip which I fling to one side, thinking that this is actually part of the box! There are two main units to contend with, the computer unit and the joystick unit.
The computer unit itself is the larger of the two units, this where the games cartridges are inserted and this is the unit that is plugged into the television.
Aside from the things I have mentioned above there are a couple of other features. There is a large compartment running the width of the unit at the top, this to store any game cartridges that you may have. On the other side of this there is a smaller compartment, this holds a microphone on a wire. This is plugged in to a port inside the compartment.
The main unit was extremely easy to set up, surprisingly! Firstly you need to put batteries into the unit, the battery compartment is on the base, and this takes 4 x AA's.
You then get a scart connector to go into the back of the telly, you simply match up the coloured connectors with the corresponding holes, then put into the telly... check!
That is the main and most difficult part to the set up, I had more trouble finding the channel on the telly to play this on, after a few presses of the source button... by my husband, and a lot of moaning that he was losing valuable Facebook time, we were good to go!
The joystick unit is so much more than it sounds. There is a joystick made of thick and sturdy plastic, this is housed within a circle base, attached to this is a slightly larger circle of plastic that houses a drawing board.
This is of course a virtual drawing board, complete with pen and pen clip.
This attaches to the main unit with it's own attached cable, the connection port is at the front of the unit.
There is a final feature on this unit, depending on whether you are using solely the joystick, just the pad or both at the same time, you can move the afore mentioned things so they sit differently.
This can be achieved by pressing a release button under the unit, you then either twist the joystick to the front, back or to the side, his is obviously a much needed feature as my sons hands are quite little, and he might have struggled using both features if spaced to far apart.
Finally I am left with the yellow clip that was taken from the box in the first place, am quite glad I didn't throw it now, this clicks into the side of the main unit and holds the microphone when in use!
The controls are simple on all the items mentioned. There is an ON button and an OFF button on the main unit, as my son is not reading yet he can differentiate between them s there is a light that shines on the ON button, he now understands that this light has to be gone for the unit to be switched off, those poor batteries don't stand a chance!
The joystick has the bog standard up, down, left and right movements. The only thing that he will need any help with is the adjusting of the joystick base as mentioned previously.
Now the fun part, the playing!
I was left on my own for the entire set up time, and the second I switched it on my kids appeared from thin air wanting to have a go, I am such a bag, I made them go downstairs so I could play, well I did set it up!
The start up screen features four options, these are learning adventure, learning zone, sing along and engine depot. To choose one of these sections you simply use the joystick to cursor up or down and press the enter button under the joystick itself.
Learning adventure -
The first screen on any of the sections you have selected will firstly ask you whether it is single or double player mode you require, once this has been determined you will get an index of games available.
Calling all engines - Thomas needs to gather all the engines on Sodor for a pow wow, move the joystick to direct Thomas to gather letters to complete the engines names.
Find an exit - Thomas puffs into a cave, find the exit in the allocated time, collecting bonuses as you go.
Flying to the rescue - This is a more involved game. Harold the helicopter is given assignments by the fat controller, he must complete these, move cargo about, replenish his fuel and avoid low flying clouds.... Phew!
Cargo catch up - Help Harold chase Thomas and try to load the colour co-ordinated cargo, that Thomas had left behind!
This again is a busy game, not only does the cargo have to be colour sorted and loaded, but to get extra points get the cargo loaded before stations, whilst avoiding buildings and low flying things!
Bertie beats the clock - Help Bertie to collect a group of school children and deliver them to the right train station before the train gets to the station. This a good old fashioned driving game. The child has to be able to keep there eye on the clock, going against the timer and be able to count the children off at every stop!
Mini game: Take a break - Bertie is being asked questions by Trevor and Terence. Help Bertie gain a shortcut to the station by answering the colour coded questions for him.
In this game the child may also be asked to help Bertie write a number on the virtual pad.
Learning zone -
Recycle challenge - You have to help sort the recyclable items into the corresponding "troublesome truck". This can be achieved with either the pen and pad method, the easiest I feel, or the joystick that involves positioning the rubbish then pressing enter to "throw".
Count the engines - This probably my favourite. You have to count how many trains pass through the station, every time one goes through you have to press enter to update the counter.
This can get quite frantic as all the different engines zoom across the screen!
Fix the tracks - Thomas is on his way. Join the track pieces together to make a track for Thomas to travel on. The child can make a track of their choosing by simply touching the piece with the pen and dropping into place.
Nice and simple fun!
Sing along - This is a small section in comparison to the others, these is essentially a karaoke mode, featuring two songs that would be familiar to the child, though I personally only know the "If your happy and you know it" song. You obviously use the included microphone for the song singing, and the words of the song are shown on the screen with the words being highlighted as and when they should be sung, this is again a little too advanced for my youngest, though his sister feels it's her duty to help him!
This section obviously encourages the reading aspect of learning.
Engine depot - This is more of a "learn about the characters" section than a game section. There are many different characters to learn about, 10 in total. The child simply cursors down to the character they want to have information about then press enter. A screen will then be brought up for that specific character.
This again a little advanced for my son to read, but all sections, games and information includes audio with the appropriate character voices.
The screens for every game, even through to the screens that are there for you to select characters are brightly coloured and eye catching with a plethora of other activities to complete.
There are only a few general conditions that in fairness common sense would have pointed out to you!
Never wash the unit with something wet...d'oh!
And don't drop the unit, well I can't guarantee that one, if my son gets me to set the unit up for him to play, then turns it off and shouts me once more I will throw the bloody thing, let alone drop it!
This is of course a computer system. The reason it is called the Thomas system is the fact it comes in the obligatory Thomas colours and of course the game.
There are other external games available that can be used with this system, these are readily available and in hundreds of different formats, though the longevity of the game we had with the unit should last Connor a good while yet!
This system in my opinion is a complete bargain, this is available to buy from www.toysrus.co.uk
This is available for the sum £39.99.
For more information visit - www.vsmile.co.uk this will give you so much more advice on the best system catered towards your child's age, sex and learning requirements.
Thanks for reading x
My daughter recieved this for christmas from her nan and grandad as a present and she has been eagerly wanting to play with it every day.
It is called a tv learning system but my daughters is a little different from the one pictured above, she has the pink and purple one which is designed for girls and it came complete with the microphone and pen, where in previous reviews they had to be purchased seperatly my daughters was attached to the console, and is aged from 3 years up to 9 years of age.
The thing I really liked about this is that it it suitable for left or right handed use, as my daughter is left handed she uses it with ease, you just move the joystick round to suit your requirements, not many games take that into account.
The console came packaged in a brightly coloured box with a large picture of two children playing the Dora game, it also has a fold out part on the box which tells you what games can be purchased and for what age range they are for.
Age ranged games:
Early learners...Ages 3-5
Junior thinkers..Ages 4-6
Master minds....Ages 5-7
Older thoughts..Ages 6-9
The games are all well known childrens favourites, like scooby doo, spongebob square pants, toy story, disney etc etc. There is also a free game included with the console, which was Dora the explorer, and I also purchased the shrek game for £16.99
The console itself cost £44.99 from toys r us and once home it also requires 4 aa batteries to work the console. I have since bought some rechargable batteries as my daughter plays so often with it that the batteries I have only last a couple of days, so definatly worth thinkng about to save a little money.
The set up of it is very simple, all that is needed is a tv then you plug the scart plug provided into the scart socket on your tv then attach the yellow, red and white cables into the scart plug, then turn the console on, then insert the game cartridge into the slot at the front and it brings you straight to the menu page of the game. All that you need to do at the start of the game is to make sure your settings are on the desired setting ie: 1 or 2 players, sound on/off etc.
Each game teaches things such as:
I can only comment on the Dora and shrek game as to what they are like because they are the only two at the moment my daughter has. The Dora game has different sections to go onto depending on what she wants to play at the time, her favourite is the animal games, where she has to put the various animals together in shape order from small to large and has levels to complete, she also likes the song section, where she gets to sing along to row row row your boat or twinkle twinkle little star.
The shrek game has more of an adventure setting, and my daughter loves playing the game which takes shrek round the shops collecting various foods and then taking the food to the correct shops ie bread to the bakery, then once taken all the food to the shops she then gets to meet up with other characters from the films and go onto the next adventure with them.
Both games are fun and educational and my daughter loves playing them. The best part for me is that she is learning at the same time as having fun and the games help her to learn the things that she is also starting to learn at school, so will benefit her in so many ways.
You can then add additional items to your v smile, there is a handheld game console so your child can play the same games in the car or while on holiday, and there is also an art studio so your child can do drawings and then see them come to life on the tv.
I have to say this was a great gift that can grow with my daughter and hopefully last her many years and help her grow and learn the fun way, I highly recommend to anyone thinking of purchasing this aswell.
I bought this for my son when he was 3 as a bundle with Winnie the Pooh for around the £40 mark I have the orange and purple one but it also comes in pink and purple with Dora the Explorer for the girls and blue with Thomas and Friends for the boys. The games are all educational yet fun for kids as are all of favourite characters:
Winnie the Pooh (3-5 years)
Dora the Explorer (3-6 years)
Shrek the Third (4- 6 years)
Ratatouille (4-6 years)
Toy Story (4-6 years)
Cars (4-6 years)
Spiderman (5-7 years)
The Wiggles (3-5 years)
Bob the Builder (3-5 years)
Thomas the Tank Engine (3-5 years)
Scooby Doo (5-7 years)
Diego (3-5 years)
Cinderella (5- 7 years)
The Backyardigans (3-5 years)
There are probably more games but these are the ones i am aware of and they retail at around £16.99. The games are educational- learning letters and numbers and all have short puzzles as well as learning adventures - well i am assuming the girls are the same as the boys. The ones I have actually seen are Winnie the Pooh, Bob the Builder. Thomas. Toy Story, Cars, Rataouille, Shrek the Third and The Wiggles. The age range is between 3 and 7 years and thats one of the benefits to this console games that suit your growing childs ability. I would however say that most of the games would be far too advanced for the average 3 year old.
The console itself is sturdy - has been accidentally dropped on floor a few times with no damage. It has suctions caps on the base to prevent falls. It connects so simply to the tv via a scart lead. There is even has a picture of a sun to turn it on and a moon to turn it off so children can be independant , there is no complicated set up. It has a handy storage compartment on the top for storage of games (keeps them all together and free from dust and sticky fingers)
The console usually comes with one joystick but most games can be either one or two players and spare joysticks sell for around £11.99.
The joystick can be changed to suit left or right handed children and the buttons are all big and bright so easy for little fingers.
There is also a sing along microphone available for around £10 which encourages reading and confidence.
Another great add on is the V Smile Art Studio (a stylus and pad a bit like a scribbler) which connects to the console and allows drawings to be displayed straight onto the TV.
A must buy however would be the Vtech 9V adapter around £8.99. The console does operate on size C batteries however in my experience they dont last very long and i was forever running to the shops for new ones
The games are great educationally and my son learnt heaps without even realising it (the best way to learn) It is perfect for when hes a bit tired or just for a quiet hour with his friends. Would definately reccomend this learning system.
We bought the v smile console and leads seccond hand and then bought controllers, and games seperatly.
i had seen my friends children playing with these and was eager for my daughter 4 to have one as she was due to start school and i wanted it to help her with her numbers and letters, colours and shapes etc.
I like the little space on the top of the console to keep the games in - i think this is a brilliant idea and keeps the games from getting lost.
The next good thing is the controllers they can change into left or right hand ones... a very unique and clever idea!
This is definatly a learning system rather then a 'play computer' which is great and im happy for my daughter too 'play' on here a few hours a week as i know shes practising and learning.
The games are ones that appeal to children - disney princess games, bob the builder, lion king, spiderman , winnie the pooh and loads loads more!
You can play the games one player or two, my seccond daughter is coming up 3 and she now likes to play on the v smile with her sister too.
The v smile console can be pugged in with an adapter or used with batteries instead, although it doesnt last as long as you think on batteries and you end up with an upset child when the game cuts off half way through!
I brought this games console for my sons christmeas present last year when he was 4. I brought it in argos for £49.99 and it came with a free game of bob the builder. The console its self is made from an orange and purple plastic. When you but the console it comes with a winnie the pooh honey game and one controller. You and buy additional controllers which can be used for right or left handed children so two can play. It then pluggs straight into the tv and you are ready to play. There are a number of different games you can get to play on this console. They seem to all be based oround childrens characters. My son has a number of games including diego, dora the explorer, spiderman these all range in price but dont seem to be over £20 which is quite good value. My son who is now 5 still plays with this so i wouls say it was a good buy.
My daughter had this computer for her birthday last year, from argos for £49.99
In the box you will get the computer console which is made of purple ond orange plastic, it looks very strong and has lasted almost a year so far in our house which is a miracle.
You will also get the leads to connect the computer to your tv, this is easy to do as they are pins that go into the scart.
You get one controler but can buy these seperate for £14.99.
You also get an instruction manuel and a game.
THE COMPUTER CONSOLE
The computer console has a lift up lid on the top to be able to store up to 6 games in which i find is good as they are not scattered all round the house.
The on off buttons on the computer have a sun for on and a moon for off which is great for younger children as it is easier to understand.
The games just push in to a slot on the computer and pull back out which is quite easy for a child to do.
The computer runs on c type batteries and these dont last too long probably about 10 hours but you can buy a power adaptor for the computer for £9.99
The controler is big and chunky so great for little hands, It has four light up buttons for use in the game play, a large orange button to select things and jump and a joy stick to move around.
The joy stick is particularly good as it has a large bauble at the top so can be grasped very easily by young children.
The cntroler can be turned round so that the joy stick can be used by right or left handed children.
The game you get free with the computer is winnie the poohs honey pots.
This game has many different things you can play on it and teaches many different things.
My daughters favorite setting on this game is to walk winnie the pooh around the woods where he has to collect honey pots either in the order of the alphabet or in number order.
There are a lot of different games available and come in different age ranges.
3 to 5 years
4 to 6 years
5 to 7 years.
hand eye co ordination
We have since brought
Bob the builder
The little mermaid
Dora the explorer
Games range from £15 to £30 depening on where you purchase them from and all teach valuable educational things to your child.
The games them selves are plastic cartridges very simular to those that used to be in the old game boys so they are not fragile and will with stand thr abuse a child will give them.
V.Smile is an award winning TV hook-up learning console guaranteed to capture any child's imagination! The inspired console is accompanied by Disney's Winnie the Pooh 'The Honey Hunt' Learning Game and is compatible with a library of popular titles that teach age appropriate curriculum through fantastic games! There are 2 modes of play for a variety of real gaming and educational fun, with 2 levels of difficulty for progressive learning. Including a brilliant joystick that adjusts for left of right hand users and features light up buttons and a chunky enter key, the V.Smile Learning system makes learning fun with minimum effort! If you add a second joystick (not included), your child can enjoy 2-player gaming. The built-in storage compartment holds up to 6 cool games!