I am shockingly bad at Geography, at least the kind where you need to know where countries are and their capital cities. I would like my children to be better at this than me so I agreed to review the Smart Globe Adventure from Oregon Scientific.
It comes in a huge box which would make a very impressive wrapped present for Christmas, and you can press a button and try it out before you buy if you see it in stores. It’s available in Argos and Amazon. The children were all very excited to play with it. What makes it superior to a normal globe is the interactive pen that comes with it. The on off button is on the pen, and the female English speaking voice booms out a welcome, akin to something you’d get at a planetarium. You can then point the pen at which features you want, plus if you just point it on countries it will sound them out and tell you the country. There is the ability to play with it in French speaking mode too.
My daughter Phoebe, who’s 6 (nearly 7) loves the game feature, you can set it to name countries, you have to find the countries before the timer runs out – if you’re having trouble friendly globe lady gives you a clue. Now Phoebe knows where Japan and Peru are, I’m so proud! We had fun with the language function, if you point on a country it tells you what language they speak and how to say Hello. We collapsed in fits of giggles when it was revealed that in Brazil they say hello by saying “Oi!”
The UK is also displayed at the base and you can discover it in more detail, with counties and cities to show you. Together with the globe which gives you 25 activities (19 English plus 6 French) you get information about continents, capitals, population, geography and much more. The app that goes with the adventure smart globe is free to download, then you activate it by scanning the QR code on the back of your smart globe. Then you get to experience 3D Augmented Reality with your tablet or smartphone – landscape, animals, landmarks and even dinosaurs! The AR visuals change as you move across the globe. The children weren’t as impressed with the AR as they were with the interactive pen and globe, I thought it was good but didn’t add an amazing amount to the experience. It’s something we’ll play more with time. You need to make sure the light is bright enough for the app to focus on the globe. It’s recommended for Ages 5+, Daniel (nearly 3) likes to spin it and pretend to draw with the pen on the map, but I would suggest sticking to the age range, or at least aged 4.
On the whole the children enjoy it and I can see it becoming a firm favourite, especially as they study different countries and cultures in school. They have already challenged themselves and improved using the quizzes. A good investment in an educational toy, I’d recommend it.
Disclosure: we were gifted the smart globe for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.