Sprout has always loved music. His first favorite toy was a Baby Einstein music player that played the Baby Einstein versions of Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, etc. with the touch of one big button, which Sprout made extensive use of. That toy is now tucked lovingly away in the keepsakes box. After that, he moved on to the radio that accompanied a Wiggles book. That set us on our path into all things Wiggles. But now Sprout’s tastes have become more sophisticated. He’s no longer content with all Wiggles all the time. Hallelujah! So at Christmas, Michael, Santa, and I looked high and low for a new radio type thing for Sprout. Our search led us to the SweetPea3, and we could not be happier.
The SweetPea3 is an MP3 player that is both small enough and large enough for little hands, made of durable food grade rubber (I didn’t even know there was such a thing), and has only three buttons for ease of use by both children and parents. It is listed for ages 0-6 and is one of those rare toys that I believe can live up to the wide age designation. Sprout at 2.5 years has picked up its usage quickly. It has volume and shut-off time settings that are accessible by adults but not the kids. I’m a fan of any toy with a parents-only volume setting: There are so few of them. It plays MP3, Windows Media Player, and iTunes formats, and even plays audible.com files, which is the part we love best. It comes with the USB cord to transfer files from the computer to the SweetPea3.
The product complies with the latest safety standards of the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Though manufactured in a Chinese factory (what isn’t these days?), that factory has been certified to employ only workers over the age of eighteen. Would that all toy manufacturers would be so responsable.
The SweetPea3 comes loaded with a variety of music, both upbeat, which Sprout calls happy music, and lullabies, in addition to complete voice narrated stories like The “Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Little Red Hen,” as well as a sampling of offerings from the Audible.com website.
Sprout’s new bedtime routine involves bedtime stories, not my strong suit unless I make them up, which my pregnant self does not always feel up to. Now, we just cue up a story on the SweetPea3 and everybody is happy. Each night, Sprout drifts off to dreamland with his radio beside him, lullabies playing softly. Now, if they could only make a toy that could get him to eat.
My only quibble with the product is that to cycle through the menus, one must hold down the left and right arrow buttons simultaneously for a reported six seconds. This ensures that your child can’t change, say, that ever important volume setting. That’s great, but the six seconds is an optimistic estimation. It’s more like twenty seconds, and a slow twenty seconds at that. It’s a small complaint, but an important one when your sleepy, cranky Sprout wants to hear Bitsy Bitsy (Itsy Bitsy Spider) and wants to hear it right now.
For more information, visit SweetPea3.com and Audible.com