The benefits of interactive technology for your child and you

(BPT) - Interacting with your children is one of the best parts of being a parent and it’s no surprise that many people report looking for toys this holiday season that incorporate interactive technology. Are you one of them? If you are, then you know you’re looking for the kind of technology that involves you and engages, motivates, teaches, surprises and sparks the imagination of your child.

The benefits of this interaction are considerable.

Interaction key to helping develop children’s minds

Responsive interactions are the key to a toddler’s ability to increase their vocabulary and a baby’s ability to learn language, according to a study by the Society for Research in Child Development. Researchers at the University of Washington, Temple University and the University of Delaware studied 2-year-olds who effectively learned new verbs, either through training face-to-face with a person or via live video chat technology such as Skype. The study found children learned new words only when conversing with a person live or in the video chat, both of which involve responsive social interactions. These findings highlight the importance of a more interactive and responsive approach to learning language.

One creative, technology “toy” that’s being introduced this year to support these findings is Chappet, a 2-inch, round yellow speaker button that’s controlled by a smartphone app. Chappet allows parents or caregivers to interact with a child through a stuffed animal that adorns the button by supplying their own voice via voice or text chat. Chappet can also support more than 1,000 prerecorded phrases, features 20 prerecorded songs and stories and its auto chat function can mimic the words a child shares with it in conversation, allowing children to interact with their toys in an entirely new way.

“You can be in another room or right next to them on the couch,” said Naoki Ono, Chappet Development Team Leader. “They won’t know it’s you unless you tell them because Chappet allows parents or loved ones to become the voice of the child’s plush toy that involves fun, responsive, back-and-forth social and creative interactions. Children also will laugh aloud when they find out their best friend plush is mimicking them.”

The Chappet speaker button can be sewn on or attached with a string to loop it around the stuffed animal’s neck like a necklace. It does not need a battery since it is rechargeable, and because of its size, is safe for little children.

Learning more about new options to interact with your child

With a successful launch in Japan last year, Chappet is launching a project on Kickstarter to fund the development of the English version of the app and introduce Chappet to kids in the U.S. The campaign will last three weeks, ending Dec. 3. Visit www.Kickstarter.com and search for Chappet or click here where Chappet will be offered at up to 30 percent off retail price. Take the time to learn more about this and other interactive solutions available for your child this holiday season. Because, as the research shows, a little interaction can go a long, long way.

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