Being as how this product is a bit techy I gladly handed it over to Dave to set up so he has done the review for you as well!
One of the things I enjoy most about being a dad is reading to Ben, Chloe and Amy. It’s lovely to have their undivided attention and both Ben and Chloe snuggle into me as I read. I have no doubt Amy will be the same. That feeling is one of the things that get me through the tough times. I’ve always wanted to read to my kids. Before I was even really sure if I wanted any children, I knew that I wanted to read to them if they ever came into being. Being read to is one of my earliest memories, sitting with my mum as she read a book to me. I can’t even remember the story, just the feeling of happily drifting off into a fantastic land. It’s no surprise I became a keen reader. Something Colette and I both share and try to pass onto the kids.
With that being said I completely understand the point of this product. If you’re away from your kids a lot then this might just keep them a little happier in your absence. No substitute for actually being there but even if it just means they don’t forget your voice then that’s something.
I’ll say right now that this isn’t something we would have bought. I’m not giving up reading when I am here and I’m rarely away for more than a night but as I said above I get it if your situation is different.
|Sparkup: The Magical Book Reader|
Anyway on with actual reviewing. The Sparkup is a camera and recording system that you clip to a book of your choice that will read the story to your kids as they turn the pages. You record what’s on each page and the camera takes a picture and ties your recording to that picture. Hey presto! Show it a page and it’ll read back to you. Without fault in my experience. The bonus of this personal system, aside from your own voice reading to your nippers, is you can be creative and tie it to your kids by mentioning them or something they like which tallies with what’s on the page. All good stuff.
Actually using the Sparkup is a fairly straight forward process once you’ve got past the long winded explanation the device announces to you on first use. You can’t skip this. Which is a pain if you’ve already read the manual. You can re-record any pages that you don’t fancy after reviewing them with the press of a button. If you’re anything like me then you’ll feel a bit of a berk performing to a inanimate object. Especially if you’ve got Colette giggling at you from the couch and spoiling your flow! That feeling passes pretty quickly though.
Using the system is pretty straightforward. I fairly quickly recorded the book we had been sent without too many hiccups. I messed up the recordings once or twice (most likely due to giggling!) but overall the experience was stress free. The kids really enjoyed using the Sparkup. Straight after their first try they asked me to record more books which is a strong vote in its favour. I think it’s a well executed device and I recommend it for people who need something to read to their kids. Other than themselves that is.
Just to add in my two pence worth . . . whilst I agree with Dave that the Sparkup isn’t something that would be used especially regularly in our house as we do really enjoy the experience of sharing books with your children and talking to them about the stories we are reading. I can see other uses. Children benefit from hearing lots of different voices telling stories so it would be lovely to have Granny, Grandad, Aunty Nic, Uncle Will and so on and so forth recording a variety of books for them to hear. I also think that as Ben is really enjoying learning to read now it would be quite cool to have him do his own recordings to listen back to – so he could hear his own storytelling voice.
To my mind this would be a lovely gift this Christmas for a family where one or both parents often miss bedtime due to work commitments or, if like so many of my friends, you have nieces, nephews or grandchildren who live abroad. How wonderful to be able to send to Sparkup, along with a selection of books, pre-recorded with lots of lovely bedtime stories for when they are missing you?
*Disclaimer – We were sent the Sparkup free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions are our own*