Back in June when I attended a blogging conference in London, I got the chance to meet and have my photo taken with a giant teddy bear called My Friend Freddy Bear. Meeting Freddy was one of the highlights of my weekend. I desperately wanted to take him home, but he was a bit big for my suitcase, so unfortunately we had to go our separate ways!
My Friend Freddy Bear is one of the latest toys to hit the shelves, and is already tipped to be one of the must have toys for Christmas. I knew he would be right up Caitlin’s street, so when we were recently asked if we would like to test him out, I couldn’t say yes quick enough! Obviously, the real Freddy Bear isn’t as big as the one I met at Britmums Live (although wouldn’t a teddy like that be awesome!).
My Friend Freddy Bear is an interactive teddy bear like no other. It connects to a phone or tablet app via bluetooth, which is a very smart idea.
The app, which is available for iOS or Android, is really simple to use. When you first open up the app, it will prompt you to answer a series of questions about your child, such as their name, favourite food/ colour/ song etc. Answering these questions allows the bear to ‘get to know’ your child, and really personalise their experience with the toy. The great thing is, all of this can be done via the app before the you’ve even taken Freddy out of the box.
After personalising the bear, it was time to get him out of the box and get some batteries in. Freddy Bear requires 3 AA batteries to work, which unfortunately are not included, which meant we had to rush out to the shop to get some. Not a big deal, a lot of toys don’t come with their batteries these days, but something to be aware of! The batteries are inserted in to a compartment that is accessed via some velcro to the back of the bear. Once on, you can choose wether Freddy will speak English, French or German. A press of Freddy’s tummy will get him talking. His voice is a little robotic sounding, which wasn’t what I was expecting from a bear, it actually freaked me to a little bit. However, it didn’t seem to put Caitlin off. In fact, she was besotted with him from the moment we took him out of the box.
While Freddy can talk straight out of the box, the thing that sets this bear apart from other talking teddy bears is it’s bluetooth connectivity. It’s easy to connect to Freddy via your bluetooth settings, and then you are ready to go.
Once connected, you can use the app to play games, read stories, or just have a conversation with Freddy. There are 3 levels of difficulty for the games and puzzles, which means Freddy can grow with your child. As Caitlin is a bit older, we chose level 3.
Caitlin loved snuggling up with Freddy to play the games. Freddy gives you instructions and you complete them on the pad. Caitlin particularly enjoyed the finding game, where Freddy will describe and animal and you touch it on the screen. Once you have found the correct animal, Freddy Bear gives you some facts about it. I was worried the games would be too easy for her, but they seem to be at the right level, and the facts are very interesting.
The conversation function on Freddy is great. Touch the large blue icon with the face, and Freddy will talk to your child using the information you entered in to the app earlier. It will then wait for a response, before replying. It was great to see Caitlin’s face light up when Freddy asked her a question about her best friend, or tell her that he loved chocolate and pizza too!
One thing I should mention, when you are finished playing with Freddy bear, make sure to disconnect him from the bluetooth. We forgot to do so, and one night I decided to have a little play on Caitlin’s iPad. While playing, I wondered why there was no sound, only to find the sound from the iPad was still being played through Freddy’s mouth. I don’t necessarily think this is meant to be a feature of the bear, but it has turned out pretty cool, because I can play Caitlin’s favourite songs and it looks like Freddy is singing them. She’s pretty excited that her new best friend has learned her favourite music for her!
My Friend Freddy Bear has really worked his way into Caitlin’s heart, she literally brings him everywhere at the moment. If he is as popular in your household, you may find yourself going through a lot of batteries. It may be worth investing in some rechargeable batteries.
All in all, I think Freddy is a fantastic little toy. The bluetooth connectivity is an awesome feature. A lot of children have tablets now, and this is a great way to bring toys and technology together. At 5, I think Caitlin is at the top end of what the bear is designed for, but she absolutely loves it and the games and stories are at a good level for her. Freddy bear would be perfect for Children aged 2 up to about Caitlin’s age. The fact that the bear grows with the child is another great feature.
My Friend Freddy Bear is available at all good toy shops, priced at £39.99, and in my opinion is well worth the money! You can find out more about Freddy or find out where you can buy him here.
We received My Friend Freddy Bear free of charge for this review. However, I have not been paid for this review, and I hold full editorial control over it. All opinions are my own.