Classic Toys Incorporate Latest Gadgets

February 26th, 2012

I know purists will find this story appalling, but toy manufacturers are updating classic toys to interact with tablets. Barbies with digital cameras. Board games that use an iPad as a spinner.

“The future of play is trending towards a seamless integration between a physical toy and digital add-ons,” said Laura Phillips, senior vice president for toys and seasonal merchandise at Walmart, in an e-mail. “This innovation is extremely important to keeping kids engaged and keeping toys more relevant.”

“While parents might want certain things, kids enjoy their mobile devices,” said Hasbro’s chief marketing officer, John Frascotti. “This allows parents not to have that confrontation with kids.”

Gadgets that make the link between the virtual and the actual world can be helpful to children, said Sandra L. Calvert, director of the Children’s Digital Media Center at Georgetown. Though children need time away from devices, “any kind of link that you can be drawing between different environments, and seeing that they’re somehow linked together, is useful,” she said.

These children will be in law schools in a decade or so. Pedagogy should keep this in mind.