Disclosure: This product was sent to us free of charge for the purpose of this review. However, as per my disclaimer, this review represents our honest opinion of the product.
Product: My Friend Freddy Bear
Age Range: 24 months – 6 years
Manufacturer’s Description: My Friend Freddy Bear is the bear who really knows you! Download the free app to an iOS or Android smart device and type in all sorts of information about the child and their family to bring him to life. Little ones will be amazed that their bear knows all about them! The app includes lots of activities with counting, colours, animals and more which grow in complexity over time as the child develops. When not connected to a smart device Freddy Bear is a lovely, cuddly teddy who will talk when he’s cuddled, tipped upside down, or thrown in the air! Requires 3 x AA batteries, not included.
Review: I first found out about My Friend Freddy Bear at BritMums Live this year, and was immediately intrigued by the product – an interactive soft toy that connects to an iPad (or other tablet – it works with Android devices too). Lydia is a huge soft toy obsessive, and so a teddy that knows her name and asks for cuddles is perfect for her.
It was love at first sight for Lydia and Freddy, as she grabbed him for a huge hug and kisses as soon as I got him out of the box. Freddy is soft to cuddle, with a bit of a lump in his tummy region where his electronics are hidden away. The instruction sheet is really comprehensive and easy to follow, and you can control his language, on/off, and mouth movement settings with switches inside his back.
Freddy wears a nice blue t-shirt and has a little tuft of fur on top of his head which Lydia loves to stroke. His mouth moves when he talks, and even when the iPad is disconnected he will ask for cuddles and enjoy tickles. If he is upside down he comments on it, and if he is thrown into the air or swung around he shouts “wheeee” and giggles. Lydia loves how responsive he is, but she also knows how to turn him off herself for a quiet bedtime!
Freddy Bear is easy to set up and gathers loads of different information about your child; from their basic information to their family, friends, and all their favourite things. When you are running the app, there is a conversation button you can tap to start chatting to Freddy, with all this knowledge at his fingertips (paws?).
Freddy connects to your tablet via bluetooth, and basically works as a bluetooth speaker for the iPad, allowing you to play other apps and have Freddy “speak” the sounds. While the app is running and Freddy is connected, he talks to your child using their name, during games and stories as well as while in conversation mode.
Lydia’s favourite mode of the app is without a doubt the stories. She loves having Freddy read them to her, as she turns the pages using the on screen arrows. You can also explore each picture of the book and Freddy will tell you about the different characters and things you tap. There are three stories, and Lydia has “read” them with Freddy multiple times each already.
It would be nice if you could download new stories in future – perhaps a library could be introduced that lets you download books temporarily to your device to be read. You could still have three slots for books, but be able to swap which books were downloaded at any one time, introducing more variety whilst still preserving disk space.
There are three games to play in the app, while Freddy tells you what to do and gives you encouragement. Fishy Fun is about moving fish from one bowl to another, Sea Puzzles is a sea creature themed jigsaw puzzle game, and Animal Zoo is about finding different animals.
All of the games have multiple levels to make them age appropriate for the child playing; Lydia plays most of them on the easiest level right now. The higher levels introduce more educational aspects, including maths and spelling. Both Lydia and Georgie have been enjoying these games, and Lydia will quite often sit down with Freddy and play each game in turn.
Overall we have been really pleased with Freddy Bear. He is a firm favourite of Lydia’s already, and can frequently be found snuggled up next to her on the sofa. Even when he is turned off she loves to play with him and cuddle him, and has taken him to bed with her to snuggle with on numerous occasions.
This video shows the different aspects of game play with Freddy:
We give My Friend Freddy Bear 5 stars. I think the price is reasonable for a bluetooth connected interactive toy, which has so many different ways to play with him available, and Lydia absolutely adores her new friend.