Enhancing kid’s creativity is one of the inherent functions of toys. By allowing children to use a particular product in as many various ways as possible, a child’s cognitive development can be greatly enhanced. It is in enhancing the various cognitive processes that creativity can best flourish. The VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset aims to provide just that.
Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Play Set Review
Design and Features
The Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset is designed specifically for young children ages 1 to 5. It comes in highly colorful pieces that can easily snap onto place. And since it is from VTech, you can always rely on its educational and learning value that has become the signature trademark of the different toys and playsets that the company has been producing since its establishment.
There are 10 SmartPoint locations on the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station. These SmartPoint locations allow children to interact with the playset itself to provide a more fulfilling and meaningful playtime experience as well as encourage them to use their full imagination. Each of these SmartPoints are embedded with learning activities that can help children learn the basics or the fundamentals of the alphabet, sounds and phrases, numbers, and even nursery rhymes.
Critical points in the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station include the storage tower, the conveyor belt mountain, the electronic train station, and the bridge and tunnel, as well as a host of other SmartPoints. The door of the Storage Tower can be easily opened to allow for the make-believe loading of cargo onto the SmartPoint train or any other SmartPoint vehicle that you wish to buy for your child to complete his or her collection. The Conveyor Belt mountain cranks up to get the train up the steep hill and proceed on its journey around the tracks. The SmartPoint train and cargo bed is fully motorized to see it running through the tracks, up the hill, over a bridge on an imaginary river, and through the train station. The motorized SmartPoint Train lets out the letter T in one clear sound, teaching young kids this particular letter of the alphabet and to associate it with the train. There are songs that kids can sing along, too as well as other unique sounds and phrases that are surely entertaining as it is educational.
Three buttons on the Train Station tower teach young kids the primary colors red, blue, and green. Additionally, pressing on these buttons opens the tower window and kids will be greeted with the smiling face of the tower operator. Depending on the button that was pressed, the tower operator will greet kids in French, German, or even Spanish. Of course, the default language is in English. However, the introduction of greetings from three of the most popular non-English languages is a welcome development. Also on the Train Station tower is a clock with a face that light up to add a new dimension to the SmartPoint experience. Together with the light up show is the sounding of fun and playful phrases to keep kids well entertained.
There are essentially 32 very colorful and highly interchangeable track pieces that come with the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station. Kids will have no problems designing their very own layout. When laid in a straight line, the tracks can reach a total length of 15 feet. Now, if you already have existing Go! Go! Smart Wheels tracks from other playsets of the same series, then the expandability of the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station is simply immense. This should provide kids with a lot of opportunities to create their very own community or neighborhood whereby the train tracks provide the boundaries of such communities.
The Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set is built with only the safest and sturdiest materials so it can withstand the rough play of certain kids. At any rate, you can always count on VTech to give you a product that’s both safe and highly educational for kids.
What We Think
We tried examining the different features of the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set particularly its SmartPoint technology. Different toy manufacturers have different ways of labeling their so-called signature technologies more as a marketing ploy to create a definite advantage over the competition. Whether it is just a marketing ploy or something of critical value, we found the SmartPoint technology of VTech to be particularly interesting. So, we have created a list of what makes this particular play set to be appealing to kids and why parents should seriously consider buying these for their own children.
VTech recommend the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set to be played by children 12 months to 5 years of age. Reflecting on our understanding of child psychology and child growth and development, 12 months of age is not really the ideal age for you to be giving toys that have smaller parts for the simple reason that small and young children still cannot distinguish between what is safe and what is not safe. There are some components of the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station that are rather small and we are not really confident about giving these to a 1 year old child without our active supervision. However, because children of this age already have great control of their motor skills, the play set can actually be a great tool for encouraging them to further refine their skills. Nonetheless, the age recommendation is spot-on as far as the maximum limit is concerned. It would be quite disturbing to find out that a 10-year old child will still be playing with this; although, we can never really be sure.
Obviously, one of the major draws of the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set is its ability to encourage continued sensorimotor development especially among younger children. There are different components on the play set that are just perfect for the continuing development of kids’ motor skills as well as sensory perception. The colors, while these may mean nothing to us, help stimulate the brain in the processing and integration of such information. While it would take a few more years before kids can really understand these visual messages, these will nevertheless, be crucial in the formation of concepts which will help them in the enhancement of cognitive processes. Not only are the colors helpful in brain stimulation and development; even the texture of the different set pieces can also help. Obviously, they don’t know yet what rough or smooth or even hard and soft means. Nevertheless, the different tactile information that is being sent to the brain is often enough to provide the foundation for future cognitive integration.
In a normal sensorimotor arc, different pieces of information from the environment are gathered by our different senses. From the things that we see to the scents that we smell, the sounds that we hear, the aromas that we smell, and the things that we feel, all of these are all meaningless mumble-jumble of data or information that gets converted into electrical signals then sent to the brain for processing. It is in the brain where these bits of information are processed and it is here where we become finally aware of the qualities of these pieces of information. It is at the level of the brain that we can say the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set is beautiful, that it emits lovely and fun sounds, and that it is made of hard yet smooth materials.
The development of the motor component of children occurs almost at the same time as the conscious awareness of the product trait. That’s why children will be able to move the different small muscle groups of their hands. Cranking the gears on the various SmartPoint locations can help develop the fine motor skills of young children. The brain will send signals to these muscles so that it will apply just the correct amount of pressure to move these components. The same is true with pushing or pressing a button which is actually the result of electrical signals being sent from the brain and into these minute muscles.
For all its design ingenuity, the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set is an excellent product to help in the optimum brain development in young children. This is accomplished by the integration of various bits of information gathered or obtained by the different organs. The more data that is collected, the more will the brain work. And the more the brain processes these pieces of information, the more electrical signals are sent to the different muscle groups. This leads to optimum sensorimotor development.
Young kids may not be able to talk as fluent as adults but they are now slowly beginning to build their vocabulary. The integration of sounds, phrases, the letter T, and even nursery rhymes can all help to ensure the more effective development of kids’ language skills. Obviously, by repeatedly listening to the phrases and nursery rhymes (remember sensorimotor development?) these are integrated into the language area of the brain so that it becomes the repository of such pieces of information. For instance, listening to a particular nursery rhyme will introduce kids to the concept of words and how these words are vocalized. This will prove instrumental among toddlers and preschoolers as their brains will already have quite a few hundred words which they can use to communicate with other children and, most especially, their parents and other caregivers. And there’s an added bonus to the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set. VTech managed to squeeze in three different languages into the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station that included French, German, and Spanish. We know this isn’t really much but it sure could help in enhancing the appreciation of foreign languages by your kid.
Problem solving skills
The various components of the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set is perfect for enhancing the problem solving skills of children. This is evident in the interchangeability of the tracks. It simply means that kids will have to use their cognitive skills in coming up with a track design that they want. The problem that they need to solve is how they can create a continuous system such that the SmartPoint train or any other vehicle in the Smart Wheels series will be able to run through without bumping into anything. We might not see it as problem solving but it is. And this is one of the greatest foundations for optimal cognitive development.
When presented with a problem or a question, kids will have to use a variety of cognitive processes that may include logical thinking, memory, and even divergent thinking. While the latter is not yet fully evident at the recommended age of the VTech play set, it nevertheless, sets the direction for the development of the “what if” phenomenon. In this style of thinking, kids work on the principle of what if. What if they use a particular track piece instead of another, what will be its effects? What if they put 10 or 20 vehicles on the track without increasing the length of the course? These are all the bases for understanding causal relationships. We know this very well as cause and effect. But divergent thinking will be more about exploring the relationship between the cause and the effect even without the actual occurrence of the event. It all occurs in the mind. And that’s what the Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set provides.
- Fully integrated learning modules in 10 different SmartPoint locations
- Great for sensorimotor skills development, cognitive processing, and language development
- Easy to assemble with options for expansion
- Runs on three AAA batteries, rechargeable batteries may be a better option
- Some issues on service quality provided by VTech’s customer service
You can view a video of this train playset in full action here:
The Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Play Set is an exceptionally designed and built play set that can be an excellent way to develop and/or enhance children’s sensorimotor, language, and problem solving skills.
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