Normally I don’t advocate electronics that might take away time from actual reading and imaginative play, but today we ran across a device that I actually think is sort of cool.
Have you hard of the Playaway View? A Walmart grant afforded our local libraries to purchase these small devices to allow children to read and watch videos on their screens. They are shaped like a small game system about the size of a GPS system and feature a plug-in device for charging. They are super easy to hold and just as simple to use.
They Playaway View we checked out is a four-part series of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. One of the episodes was my daughter’s favorite one, about how fortune cookies are made, so you can imagine how stoked she was to see that! There are lots of other choices available as well, from The Very Hungry Caterpillar to The Mouse and the Motorcycle.
Other selections on the Mr. Rogers edition include the Eric Carle episode as well as episodes about Wynton Marsalis, The Flying Karamazov Brothers, and Sylvia Earle. It runs about an hour and 53 minutes.
The all-in-one video player does not require any DVDs or other loadable materials; it simply plays on the screen. This, of course, limits your choices to only the selection that you checked out.
These devices would be great for long trips, or stays in hotels. I don’t like cars with television screens in them, but this would ensure a brief viewing time that wouldn’t be as long as an entire movie. It’s super easy to use, with buttons for playing, volume, skipping, rewinding, and fast forwarding. They come with pretty sturdy carrying cases, too, so you know they’ll be safe for traveling.
Playaway Views are recommended for ages 3 and up. Adults are recommended to supervise their children while enjoying the device, and kids should be aware that the screen is not a toy to play with. They are also quite costly to replace—up to $99 for the screen itself and $15 for the plug replacement. Fines are similar to videos as far as late charges go—25 cents per day—and you have to be at least 18 to check them out. Check out your library’s policies for specifics.
If your library doesn’t carry Playaway Viewers and you’d like to check them out, see if you can request one via Interlibrary Loan. If not, perhaps your library could obtain a grant from a local business.