**This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Kayle Concepts and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are always my own!
The shelves this year are stuffed with a glut of new toys, often expensive electronic toys that won’t ever be played with after the first initial period of shininess. As soon as the novelty wears off, they’ll join the ridiculous pile of discarded “had to haves.”
That’s why I’m pleased when something like the Bluebee Pals come along. Sometimes you can just feel when a toy will have lasting appeal and I immediately felt this with the Bluebee. These guys are like Teddy Ruxpin from the 80’s on techno-steroids.
First of all, they come in a variety of adorable plush animal friends for your child to choose their favorite, including Lamb, Lion, Dog, Zebra and Bear. Secondly, these are no mere stuffed animals! They are Interactive Bluetooth® Enabled Plush Companions and Learning Tools. Which is one Very Serious Sounding title for a toy– but what does it mean?
It’s really very cool. Bluebee Pals can sing, read stories, answer the phone and be used as a wireless speaker phone, all with lip-moving synchronization. So they’re more like a friend who can hang out with your little ones, helping to teach them to read learn songs, languages, anything that a smart device can do, but with a friendlier, huggable face.
We received Leo the Lion to test out, and couldn’t have been more pleased with the experience. If you’ve ever paired Bluetooth devices, you should find the set-up super easy, but even if you haven’t, the doll comes with step-by-step instructions and tips. The Bluetooth device is located inside the Bluebee, which you can reach by a Velcro opening in the back. You simply turn the switch inside to “on”, then press down on his right ear until it chimes. Then the doll is ready to pair with your phone, tablet, computer or other Bluetooth device.
On the box inside the Bluebee is also the port where you plug him in to recharge. The toy includes a USB charging cable, but not a wall adapter, which you may want to go ahead and buy separately. I think it’s much easier to have the option of plugging it in the wall.
Now on to the fun stuff! My girls were over the moon about their new Bluebee. Ok, and I admit, my inner child was kind of in love too. It was so fun for them to see an animated plush pet singing along to their favorite songs, or cuddling up with him to tell them a story. One of our favorite features is the ability to use it as a speakerphone to answer calls. We tried it out by calling their grandpa, who has kind of a gruff, lion-like voice anyway. It cracked them UP to see Leo’s lips move while grandpa’s voice floated out at them. I also found the sound quality to be great, comparable with any high-quality Bluetooth speaker I’ve used.
The only drawback I saw was making sure that smaller kids remember to keep their Bluebee close to their paired device. Little ones are full of energy and always on the move, so I had to explain several times that if they wanted Leo to keep singing, they couldn’t run to the other side of the house. Perhaps future Bluebees will have some kind of convenient pocket to hold a phone or iPod in place.
Aside from that, we had the best experience and I don’t see Leo being tossed in a dusty closet anytime soon. Even the older girls couldn’t get over how cute he was. Trust me, hurry and get these on your holiday wishlists while you still have time. They’re available at Toys ‘R Us right now! And check out their fun new com