**The product for this review was provided by Creative Baby Inc. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
It's hard to believe how much the times have changed. When I was a child, technology was limited and now we have young children with digital devices like smart phones, tablets and flash drives at their finger tips. Now even toddlers as young as 18 months have their own device, the soft and colorful foam i-Mat.
Creative Baby Inc. develops products to excite, challenge and simply delight tots and introduced the i-Mat: My Animal World in August. This is the first in a series of themed interactive foam mats and made of four interlocking soft sections that are activated when used with its Voice Pen.
What's neat is that both babies and older siblings can learn while exploring the illustrated mat with a simple point on the word bubble. They are instantly rewarded with an animal sound, a word, music or a foreign language translation! Wow!
When I was introduced to more information about the i-Mat, I was very intrigued and interested in learning more. That's why I was excited when asked if we'd like to test it out and share our thoughts!
When the i-Mat: My Animal World arrived, my kids were very eager to give it a try. I was excited too! Afterall, I love when we're able to find fun, educational activities and toys that all three of them can use and enjoy. It's also appreciated that the mat is phthalate, lead and have metal-free, and no electronics mean no worries for wiping the mat clean!
Out of the box I was impressed with the quality of the mat. It's soft, but durable. I can tell it will hold up to a lot of use which is great...as all three of my kids love it! It was very easy to piece together, almost like a puzzle. The kids liked helping get it set up.
Once it was all set up, we pressed the on/off button on the voice pen to begin. We knew it was working when we heard a child's laughter and the blue light flash. Using the pen with the i-Mat, we pressed the on/off symbol on the mat to activate the connection between the i-Mat and Voice Pen. We were greeted with a Hello which let us know we could get started.
We then got the volume set where we wanted it, as well as the language by pushing the correct flag. We hadn't even gotten started yet, and the kids were already learning about different languages and countries! YAY!
First we began with out pushing either of the Game symbols. Caysen took the pen and touched the different animals with the voice pen to discover their names, sounds and the sounds of the environment where they live. He loves it and seems to be learning a lot each time we use it!
For older children like Kaden and Kaelyn, there are learning games that are a lot of fun too. Game one is beginners mode and calls out an animal and asks you to find it. Game 2 is an advanced mode and gives an animal sound and asks you to find the corresponding animal.
It's really neat to see how all three of my children ranging from 1-5 can use this mat, have fun and learn new things. It's easy for them to use, and safe which I appreciate more than anything!
If you're looking for a fun and educational activity for your children, one that can be used from 18 months+...I would definitely recommend checking out the i-Mat My Animal World from Creative Baby!
Here's a quick video to show the kids using it to give you an idea of how it works. So neat!
We absolutely love it and can't wait for two more themed adventures to launch soon. The i-Mat My Alphabet and i-Mat Under the Sea!! As new mats are introduced, parents can connect the Voice Pen to any computer with interet access (with the included USB cable), download the new sound file from Creative Baby's website and explore the new i-Mat adventures.
Buy It: Sold as a set, the foamy pad and pen together retail for $79.99. For a limited time, Creative Baby offers free shipping for all pre-orders too! New pads will be priced from $24.99 to $29.99.
Win It: One very lucky reader is going to win an i-Mat: My Animal World like we received. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter Giveaway below.