Make it easy for young artists to create digital masterpieces with the award-winning VTech KidiArt Studio. Featuring a working digital camera and a colorful studio desk with a matching stool, the KidiArt Studio helps kids aged four to seven explore their natural creativity by letting them create and share artwork using a TV or PC.
What We Think
(what this means)
The Good: Features real digital camera
The Bad: Switching between connection to TV and connection to PC can be awkward
In a Nutshell: This fun studio setup promotes creativity and hand-eye coordination
At a Glance Ages: 4 to 7 years
Requires: 8 AA batteries and a TV; PC for some effects
Getting Little Artists Settled in the Studio
The award-winning VTech KidiArt Studio is easy to set up.
This toy provides lots of opportunity for creative growth and the touchpad helps with hand-eye coordination. View larger.
Included software lets your child create digital art to send to friends and family. View larger.
The base of the KidiArt Studio is a sturdy desk stand made of brightly colored plastic. This stand comes in five pieces, which are easy to assemble. There's a picture in the user's manual that shows which pieces go where, and plastic caps that screw in place hold the unit together. The main unit, which rests on this stand, includes a touch pad, a pen for use with the touch pad, and a real digital camera on a movable arm. There's even a sturdy plastic stool that's sized to fit little artists.
You'll need eight "AA" batteries and a Phillips head screwdriver to get started. When the batteries need replacing, you should only need to replace four at a time. The studio uses the additional four batteries as a backup system to ensure that your child never loses artwork due to battery failure.
Once the unit is ready, simply plug it into your TV using the included A/V cable, and make sure the TV is set to show video input. On many televisions this is as easy as pressing the button labeled TV/VIDEO. When the KidiArt Studio is turned on, audio commands will help your child pick a fun activity.
Help Kids View the World Through a Creative Lens
It's easy to see why this studio set earned the National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval and the Creative Child Toy of the Year Award. Beyond providing lots of different opportunities for creative growth, this setup is durable, compact, and its touchpad helps kids practice hand-eye coordination. The pen and touch pad can be a little awkward at first, but it's easy to get used to. And since it's attached to the main unit by a cable, you won't have to worry about misplacing it.
Fun activities include using frames to put your face on a monkey, using the pen to add colorful clip art and freehand drawings to photos, and creating cool stop-motion animations. A cheerful voice offers tips to encourage kids in their creative development. We found that once we were familiar with all the great features of the KidiArt studio, the voice was a bit distracting. But this is a minor concern, and you can always turn the volume on your TV down. As an added bonus, parents will appreciate the way this unit shuts off automatically after several minutes of inactivity to save batteries.
Beyond the TV-studio interface, a USB cable is included so you can connect the KidiArt Studio to your PC. In PC connect mode, your child can save their artwork, create custom e-cards to send to friends and family, and print their favorite creations. Your child can also follow a studio template to create a craft project, like paper dolls featuring photos and colorful embellishments, then print out the project and complete it.
In order to use the included software, you will need a computer running Windows 2000, XP, or Vista with 256 MB of memory. We had no trouble moving the sturdy unit around, but if your TV is set in a big entertainment center and your computer is in a cramped home office, you may find that it's a little cumbersome to disconnect from one and connect to the other frequently.
The included camera takes great shots, and since it is attached to the unit you won't have to worry about it being lost or dropped. Your child is sure to enjoy taking a zillion self portraits and shots of his or her best friends.
What's in the Box
Main unit with rotating camera and touch pad, desk stand, stool, USB cable, A/V cable, game cartridge, CD-ROM with PC application, and two user manuals.