“Amazing Amanda” crushes imagination with servos and RFID

Today’s New York Times has a fascinating article about Amazing Amanda, a doll that can apparently recognize voices, identify objects around it and even show rudimentary emotions. Built atop technologies like speech recognition and RFID radio frequency identification tags and even facial robotics, am I the only parent in the world who finds this all rather creepy?
On the one hand, the use of technology is brilliant – having RFID tags in each of the toys that are included with Amazing Amanda lets the doll recognize which toy the child is presenting to it, for example – but there’s a deeper question here of what’s happening to childhood as technology slowly but inexorably overtakes imagination.

This is a central theme for Waldorf Schools too, actually, and a visit to a Waldorf home shows a lot more emphasis on wooden blocks and non-anatomically-correct dolls, for example, than video games, crude doll robotics and similar. In our home, for example, blank paper and lots of different colors of paint are a much loved substitute for a paint-by-numbers page with a specific correlation of number to hue or color on a palette.
I think it’s straightforward: the more sophisticated and seemingly intelligent that toys are, the more they lead the play and interaction, the less that the child has to do, the less it encourages their imagination, and ultimately the less imaginative and creative the child becomes as they grow. Teachers can always spot which children watch a lot of TV, for example, because those kids act out what they saw on TV in their play, while other children create and invent games on the spot.
Looked at from this perspective, it’s rather disturbing to read the NYT article, where the author notes that “video games and interactive robots… have long been successful in capturing the imaginations… of preteenage and adolescent boys” and, quoting industry analyst David Riley, “I think girls have more active imaginations than boys do when it comes to play”.
Even that mainstay of commercial parenting culture Parents Magazine says, in its article How to Nurture Your Child’s Imagination, that you should “Participate in creative projects. Studies have found that children whose parents participate in creative play with them develop broader vocabularies and more flexible thinking skills.”
The point I’m trying to make is that imagination is all about being able to improvise and project onto an inanimate object, to be able to create something from nothing or, perhaps, from something else. But the more our toys and games force our children into a literal, tangible world, into facing toys that are ‘animate’ objects, the less our children will have imagination.
And a world where children have their play determined for them by programmers in toy factories sounds oddly like some terrible dystopian future to me.
What do you think?

81 comments on ““Amazing Amanda” crushes imagination with servos and RFID

  1. I think amazing amanda will be great for my doughter she is asking for it allready! but one thing I haven’t yet found out: does the doll sleep?

  2. Don’t know what to say about that, Melony. If they’re spending that much money for servos and electronics, it wouldn’t be hard to put a light sensor in the unit too, so it would automatically shut down when it’s dark in the room. But you’ll have to wait until it’s on the market for us to learn of all its “features” and capabilities.

  3. I believe I remember reading somthing about an atomatic shutdown if the doll isn’t kept busy… …Or was that baby anabelle? my doughter was so saddened by the fact that B.A.(baby anabelle) did sleep, but if you turned her off she would open her eyes.

  4. I don’t mean to sound rude but I guess you’re not the best person to ask? -please don’t think I’m trying to be rude!

  5. Sorry I can’t be more helpful, Melony, but I surmise that you missed the gist of what I was saying in my original piece: I’m not at all a fan or supporter of this kind of toy that I believe steals our children’s imagination away, so I’m unclear why you keep asking me specific technical questions about Amazing Amanda?

  6. Dave, don’t you think that if a girl wants a doll, she should get to pick what kind? And not to be mean, but, don’t you think that the reason for wanting a doll is clearly to believe she is real? I think that the easier we make it for them to think the doll is real the bettr they will be at parenting.
    Hope I have changed your outlook,

  7. I am so sorry for the way I spoke to you before!!! Please forgive me? and I have an idea, if you would please find me another place to ask questions about this same doll on the google search? then tell me how to get their. I will be out of your hair after that.
    please forgive,

  8. Dave, I am totally with you on this one. If you ever figure out a way to put it on birthday party invitations let me know.
    My husband wouldn’t let me write “No mind-numbing, push button, noise making, imagination-stealing toys please. In fact if it’s made by Fisher Price, Little Tykes and especially Baby Einstein, is plastic, or came from Wall-Mart, Target or Sears make sure you include the receipt ’cause we’ll be returning it.”
    Besides the fact that it sounds pretentious and ungrateful, he insisted that our friends are smart people and they would do well. For the most part they did and to our surprise our dear daughter tired of the push button battery operated toys quickly.

  9. Hi again, Melony. I really do hear what you’re saying, but as a parent, I have to say that I believe it’s my job to steer and direct my children’s zeal and enthusiasm, not just say “yes, honey” to whatever they want to buy. My gosh, if I did that, my daughter would have a room full of hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, rabbits and who knows what else, and my son would have a .44 magnum under his bed and chainsaw in the garage. (and you think I’m kidding! 🙂
    More seriously, I think that it’s insidious to see how the mania our society has for gadgets and technology is now invading our children’s space, even before they’re born. I didn’t have all these junky gadgets and battery powered everything’s when I was a kid and I’m not too messed up. But if you don’t believe that toys can influence children, take all your daughters toys away for a day and see what she does.
    One thing I always like to see: if you give a child a blank piece of paper and some crayons, can they create completely new and original artwork, do they try to recreate a picture that they’re seen, or do they just sit there, wondering what they’re supposed to do?
    ps: Jenny, thanks for your note!

  10. My daughter is asking for this doll so I am now on the internet doing some research. I think you make very valid points Dave, I agree with your point of view but also don’t see the harm in giving my children a few “gadget toys”. For instance my daughter has a Luv Bear and it makes noises and responds to it’s bottle, she plays with it and a good old fashioned teddy bear creating conversations between them. She has an assortment of toys and I believe a very vivid imagination. I believe in trying to raise well rounded individuals and encourage this with an assortment of toys, books,art supplies and almost anything in the house they want to play with or pretend is something else.

  11. Listen, I know another great thing that my doughter wants, the trading spaces design house and family. you need to look it up!
    P.S. Call me Mell

  12. Hey, listen up! talk about little for the imagination! those bratz babyz are adorable but have you seen them under-outfit? It’s a thong!

  13. I’m not sure I understand, Jenny. Do you mean that if a primitive doll where given to your daughter from wally-world, Target, or sears, that you would not accept it? I ask you now, what is the difference between the dolls from the above listed astablishments is different from any other place’s model of the same doll?
    you act as if all dolls must be made of corn cobbs, husks, and scrap callico to be a presentible doll.

  14. I landed here while doing a bit of research on Amazing Amanda, so I could post somewhere else on the ridiculousness of it, but had to comment.
    First, I’m happy to say my daughter doesn’t want it. She’ll be 7 next month, and she learned early that those toys that do everything for you, are, in her words, LAME. We laugh and laugh together at the part where Amanda goes “I love you more than bunnies!” because the first time my daughter said it along with the commercial mockingly, I answered “You BETTER!” And as I pointed out to her, I know of no child who would refuse a cookie for breakfast (or anytime!). Then my husband pointed out to both of us “She looks like the Bride of Chucky!”
    Anyway, my other point to the poster who wanted to tell birthday gift givers what they want. I’ve included this language on my invitations. “Please, no violent toys. And please try to stick with toys that encourage, rather than replace imagination. Finally, please do not shop for us at Wal-Mart. We do not shop there, and we do not want any money spent on our behalf there. If the price difference between Wal-Mart and a locally-based or small business is really that substantial, please tell us and we’ll be happy to reimburse you the difference — it really does mean that much to us that NO money be spent by us or on our behalf with this corporation.”

  15. i think that every parent has the right to choose which toys his or her child plays with but… i also think that it is inappropriate to include in an invitation what not to buy your child or where NOT to buy it. If your concern is raising well rounded imaginative children why don’t you try asking for donations to a local charity in lieu of gifts, or donate the “offensive” gifts to a local hospital or better yet forget the whole party deal and spend the day volunteering at a soup kitchen. i would be offended if my child recieved an invitation which included instructions on where i could and could not shop, it is a childs birthday party after all not a political rally.

  16. Have you people all gone mad?!? Let your kids play. Do you really think that your kid will have no imagination or if given a piece of paper and some crayons “…they just sit there, wondering what they’re supposed to do?” Do you honestly think that owning a toy gun would turn them into murderers? What kind of lousy parents are you? Any parent that lets a toy, tv, or anything besides themselves unduly influence their kids doesn’t deserve to be a parent. I had toy (and BB) guns, watched too much tv, and had some high-tech (for their time) toys. Today, I want nothing to do with guns, watch little tv, and have a doctorate (in music, creativity be damned!). Why, because I had concerned loving parents who raised me and taught me right from wrong and how to be imaginative and playful. I now have two daughters that I am trying not to screw up. One things for sure, their toys do not dictate who they are.

  17. Thanks for your contribution, Steve, but we grew up in a world that was populated by companies just starting to figure out how to really aggressively sell to children. Now we have movie productions that make more money off merchandising than the film and companies who have book + DVD + toy + retail store combinations like “American Girl” that leave no proverbial stone unturned in their zeal to convince girls that they’re the only choice for our children’s increasingly large discretionary spending.
    By even reading about this topic you’re demonstrating that you’re a great father, though, Steve, and you’re right that having smart, engaged, involved and loving parents are one of the very most important ingredients in creating good future adults. But we’re not the only spices in that stew, unfortunately, so my passionate belief is that anything we can do to maximize the chances of having a positive outcome with our children is good.
    And finally, remember that anecdotal evidence of one or two people doesn’t disprove the significant body of research on the influence of media and technology on imaginative play. Read “Magical Child” by Joseph Chilton Pearce, for example.

  18. I appreciate your input Dave, but c’mon, “we grew up in a world that was populated by companies just starting to figure out how to really aggressively sell to children” Did you watch the same tv I did? Everything from toys to clothes to breakfast cereals was geared towards kids. Companies may have gotten more ingenious, but I hardly think that they have gotten more aggressive. You mention “discretionary spending”. I believe that’s the key. Not dictating to our children, but teaching them to sort through the garbage to discern what is “valuable” is important. Dave, you are obviously a good parent. Your statement, “my passionate belief is that anything we can do to maximize the chances of having a positive outcome with our children is good” is proof enough. Does this mean that you do everything you can to prevent anything negative in your children’s lives? I think this can be somewhat misguided. If I am mistaken, I apologize. My point is that there are many things much more dangerous to our children than toys… such as organized religion. (sorry, I couldn’t help it)

  19. Steve, I totally agree with you! at last someone knows what I’m talking about! My daughter Lizzie is just so thrilled with the idea of a responding doll, that she wants it right away. I also see the importance of the doll to her, but I don’t quite know weather the doll would be fun for her or not. On tv the doll seems to need a bit more brains! I mean, “I love you more than bunnies?” And, “One little two little three little toezies!?!

  20. I actually think I may put donations to ____ charity in lieu of toys are encouraged on the next birthday card. The party is for the fun of it, not for the toys and it’s not like she’s suffering from a lack of entertainment, I’m pretty sure my ‘toys per square foot ratio’ exceeds 3 in this household already.

  21. I’m not for or against American Girl, per se. I just think it’s fascinating to see what a multimedia marketing machine it is. Is that a good thing? Well, it’s sure harder for children not to be caught up in the consumerism, but the ostensible foundation of American Girls, the multiculturalism, rich reinterpretation of history, etc., are good…

  22. First of all, you’re evil for making me do math to post.
    Secondly, I agree with you on the doll. Maybe companies will do anything to get people to buy toys, but I’m guessing a lot of parents don’t know about creative development or they wouldn’t be rushing out to buy this doll. Or maybe they simply don’t care? Or they can’t say no to anything that little Amy reallllly wants? Dumb.
    Melony – if you’re not a troll (and that’s a big if at this point), can I point you to a search engine so you can find your answers rather than peppering Dave with them when he so obviously doesn’t like this toy and doesn’t want to be customer service for the company? Try http://www.google.com.

  23. Well, my 8 year old dd just got this toy for her bday(from Grandma). It is interesting. I think it is revenge for the “junk food jane” talking doll that I donated to goodwill a few years ago- and my daughter kept asking me where she was etc..(not from Grandma- but a trendy aunt)
    Anyway- as an attatchment parenting type who really was into natural toys and no tv- and then only videos- of mostly home videos- I have now decided that while I don’t want a houseful of talking electronic stuff- as my kids are older- it is fun and rather than stifle imagination- they start to think of how they would design and what they would do if they wrote the toy plan and ideas for other cool toys. While I appreciate low tech- high tech has a place in our lives too.
    Best of luck to y’all.
    Sweet sue

  24. This doll is sick, the first time I saw the commercial I wanted to reach through the television set and smack the doll silly….I am half tempted to purchase the doll so I may knock some sense into it!

  25. I have to agree with the organized religion comment. What we need to remember is that we are supposed to be raising independent thinkers who are prepared to make their way through a lifetime of things much worse than “Amazing Amanda”. Shouldn’t we let them choose for themselves and draw their own conclusions? If we’ve done our job, it shouldn’t be a danger in one or two unimaginative toys. Please!

  26. P.S.
    Sorry…”there” not “it”.
    Also, My daughter has never had a battery operated doll that ran out of juice and then requested that I put new batteries in it.
    Once it’s run down she happily accepts it as just a doll. I have an idea… maybe we should discourage musical instruments in case they will prevent our children from making music with their voices!
    Maybe your kids aren’t so bright, but mine see past the hype pretty quickly.

  27. I could not resist adding my comments to this site, although I have never done this in the past. I have a six year old daughter who wants this doll and know that Grandma intends to give it to her on Christmas. I have not seen a commercial nor the actual doll except via the web. I must admit the thought of the doll creeped me out somewhat because of ‘Chucky’, which I was only exposed to via commercials. I must say I am concerned about the future adjustment of children when their parents choose to limit exposure to things that are a part of our society. Check out some of the research on sheltered children and their attempts to function in ‘the real world’ when they go off to college or attempt to live on their own. We give our children the best chances to function as moral, caring, thinking, and productive members of society when we expose them to the good and the bad in the world and give them the tools they need to make decisions for themselves. Share your views with them but also give them the ability to make choices for themselves and steer them toward morally and socially acceptable choices.
    My six year old has been in the gifted program since kindergarten. She has shown the ability to make good choices and be a free thinker. Her imagination knows no bounds. A doll, video game, television, etc. will not limit her ability to create. At times it encourages. Balance, balance, balance.
    As for those of you who won’t accept gifts from certain stores or certain types of toys…. it must be nice to have the kind of income that allows you to snub your nose at those stores that fall into the “affordable” range for most of us. I would think that your attitude would be offensive to the majority. If your child gets something that is not allowed in your house, you teach your child to say ‘thank you”, that would be manners, and then dispose of it (toys for tots would be a good place to do that).
    That ‘corporate enterprise’ that you despise provides employment, therefore income to many. It is not my favorite place to go but sometimes it becomes a necessary evil.
    Thanks to all of you. You have shown me that there are alot worse things out in the world for my daughter to be exposed to than an amazing amanda doll.
    What is with the simple addition problem in order to be able to post this message?

  28. Wow, what immature people. I really feel sorry for the kids of some of you. I came for more information about the doll and got everything but. My daughter cannot wait to get Amanda for her birthday or Christmas. We finally found one at the store today, (I didn’t buy it because she was with me) Her eyes lit up, and was sooooo excited to finally see one. My opinion, that’s what it is all about!! Just because the doll talks, does not mean my daughter will not use her imagination and talk back to her. I am also not buying the doll to teach her morals,and such. That is my job. Toys are toys!! Let your kids PLAY. I’m not saying there are not bad toys, but amanda is a doll. As far as I know, she isn’t saying anything bad. Anyways, if anyone has the doll or knows any facts about Amanda, I would love to hear some comments.

  29. I completely agree with Stacy. Dave, I see what you are saying too, but do realize that if your daughter got the doll, as highly as you speak of her, she would just take the batteries out!?! I still think that my daughter will love it, but I am willing to consider what other people have to say. And as far as me being a troll, well that just prooves that there is Some fairy tale in every-body! Stacy, I hope you will come back and talk with us some more.

  30. Amazing. Even something as seemingly neutral as a doll can polarize people and produce critical and insulting commentary from people. A sad statement about the state of discourse in our society, I think.
    In terms of giving my daughter the doll and then having her take the batteries out, why buy Amanda in the first place then, and send the message to toy makers that more technologically sophisticated toys are what we in the market want? You might, but I don’t, and I believe quite strongly in the importance of “voting with my wallet” as a way to have my voice heard in our capitalist culture.

  31. I’ve enjoyed reading all of the comments about this doll. I lean back and forth, as I read them. My daughter has Amazing Amanda on her christmas list, but I haven’t decided about whether or not to buy the doll for her. First, and formost, my daughter has NEVER touched an electronic toy after the first day or two of having it given to her. She’s just never responded to “interactive” or electronic type toys. She got the talking Fisher Price dollhouse for christmas a couple of years ago and wanted us to remove the batteries immediately…she still played with the house…just didn’t want it to talk to her. Anyway, I digress…Re Amazing Amanda. *I* think she’s scary looking…*I* think my daughter won’t play with her for more than a few minutes…BUT I wrestle with whether *I* should make the decision that she doesn’t need the doll, or whether I should let her learn, for herself, that the doll isn’t something she’ll really enjoy. How will she learn to make the right decisions for herself, if *I* make the decisions for her? Yes, there are certain decisions I *must* make for her, but when possible, I try to allow her to make her own choices and experience the consequences. Of course, in this case, the “choice” costs almost $100…I like the less expensive choices, personally. LOL The frugal part of me says not to spend (or let someone else, like a grandparent spend) $100 on a boat anchor…but this might be a good lesson for her, so, from that perspective, is it worth the financial cost? I just don’t know…
    Thanks for the discussion, though. It’s nice to see there are people “out there” who *can* and *do* think about these things and discuss them, intelligently. I live in a very conservative town…a lot of church-going non-thinkers here, so not a lot of opportunity for intelligent discussion. I know that I worry a LOT more about *that* state of affairs than I do about the toys my daughter is given, with respect to her future.

  32. My 4 year old daughter is asking for the Amazing Amanda doll also. She has had Baby Annabelle, her favorite doll, for over a year. She took her to show n’ tell over 20 days in preschool last year, and guess what she hardly ever turns it on while playing. She has quite a sophisticated imagination and is able to play quite well with the doll on or off. I haven’t figured out what triggers her to turn it on or keep it off while playing, but I’m sure her “imagination” is to blame. What surprises me most with everyone’s comments about these electronic dolls is the limits you have artificially placed on your child’s imaginations. Even the Amazing Amanda doll does, I don’t know, 20 different things or maybe more. Do you really believe that depth of imagination is even closely encapsulated within 20 movements or sounds from a doll? Thankfully our children’s imaginations are infinitesimally larger and richer than what this doll offers. The dolls limited actions will have an insignificant impact on the expansion or use of our children’s imaginations. The act of crying itself is minor in compared to all the circumstances that may make us cry. Loosen up parents. Perhaps we shouldn’t read to our children, aren’t we affecting their imaginations by filling their heads with stories that they would not have thought about on their own if we had not fed them the information via a story. I don’t really see the difference. You can’t possibly think all imagination in our children is “original”. Whether a few of the pieces of their imaginative play comes from a passage from a story you read the previous evening, a disagreement unintentionally overheard among father and mother, or the electronic crying of a doll, it all combines beautifully to create a whole new story or play using all three of these experiences plus a multitude of others.

  33. First of all: Melony, to answer your question to Veronica– she put her daughter’s age in her post.
    Second: If these dolls get much more “real,” why don’t you parents just have another baby? Then your four-year-old can take care of the baby (change its diaper for you!– though I don’t know if the baby will recognize its own poop) and be fulfilled in life. This is really the easiest solution for everyone’s problem. Just have more babies. And then have more babies for those babies. Etcetera.
    I’m a cynical 17-year-old girl, though, so you probably don’t need to take my advice.
    For the record, I ran into this article while searching for criticism of Amazing Amanda. I completely agree with Dave on this one, and I was a child not so long ago so I can probably trump all of you who think you understand your children’s inner psyches.
    I grew up playing with plastic animals, Pet Shop pets (miniature cats and dogs which did nothing more than look cute!), and a couple simple cloth baby dolls with plastic arms, legs, and a head. My mom tells me that she could put a toy in front of me and I’d play with it for hours.
    Conversely, when I grew out of my toys and they were passed on to my younger cousin, she would simply look at the toys and turn away. She couldn’t understand what to do. This is because her mom gave in to her every whim, buying her every new neat toy with interactive features. Her imagination was shot and she couldn’t have fun with simple things.
    All kids are different, but this is a clear example of what these idiotic advanced toys can do to your kids. Imagination is what keeps us alive, sane, and intelligent.
    Ever consider that with-holding ridiculous toys from your kids might force them to use their imagination for fun instead?
    Just my two cents.

  34. Emily, it’s a shame that you are so cynical at such a young age. Honestly, your post reminds me of things my *parents’* parents used to say to them…”I walked 20 miles in the snow with no coat to get to school, with my lunch in a tin bucket…”
    Just because “we” did things one way, doesn’t mean “another” way is wrong or bad. It may be and it may not…only time will tell.
    I do think you need to look inwardly at your attitude. Your post not only comes across as very angry and bitter, but very disrespectful, as well. A very sad state of affairs for a 17 year old.
    The people who are posting here are trying to do what is best for *their* children…just as your monther did what she believed was best for *you*. And, some day…hopefully not *too* soon…you may have a child of your own and you will look back and realize that the answers aren’t *nearly* as cut and dried as they appeared when you *didn’t* have a child’s life in your hands.

  35. I still haven’t decided about getting the doll for my daughter. However, the article gave me something to think about.
    On the party issue, ask for each child to bring a canned good to be donated.

  36. OK wow…I am high school senior and found this article while I was doing research for an AP English essay about today’s children losing their imaginations. Although I know nothing about the Amanda doll, I was interested enough in the debate going on here to read all of your posts. Some of you boast that your children take out the batteries of the electronic thing, as if this verifies that they are the best and most imaginative children in all the world…psshhh…my friends and I as kids created ENTIRE WORLDS of play without a single toy. I always had a passion for reading and stories but you see the difference in reading something and watching it on a DVD or TV is that the pictures aren’t their for you. You have to imagine them all in your mind–what the characters look like, the setting…why do you think movies about books are never as good as reading the book? It’s because the movies are how someone else saw the story, when you read you can see it from your own imagination. I watched TV as a kid sure…and I think some new technology is great, but I think there is seriously something wrong with a kid who has more fun with a talking doll then with a nice big cardboard box. By the way Stephanie S, just because someone is conservative and goes to church doesn’t mean that they don’t have a brain.

  37. A child imagination cannot be contained by one or even a very large set of electronic/technical toys. Nor can said set of toys trump the guidance of a loving/caring parent.
    Every child is different, what may work for one, may not work for others. There is no scientific or social proof relating any type of toys with a childs imagination (or growing up with a social disorder as implied in some topics).
    I am looking into buying this doll for my daughter (she’s 3). And her imagination will dictate how she interacts with this doll. Whereas I am scared of the doll personally, my daughter will most likely find new ways to explorer pretend motherhood with included and non included features WITH HER FAMILY.

  38. I think you should all just get a life. Maybe all these companies who create things like the Amazing Amanda doll should create something more worthwile for adults to do with their time.
    (But after all I am on the site too)
    I think I will buy the doll just out of spite.!!

  39. Angry? Bitter? Disrespectful? I’d appreciate if you’d not resort to name-calling during debate, and being patronizing will never get your point across.
    Anyway, Rachel continues my point: if your kids can’t find days of enjoyment out of a cardboard box, there is (seriously) something wrong. All of us kids in the family could have loads of fun with a huge cardboard box.
    You’re buying into (literally!) these companies telling you that your children will benefit from having extremely lifelike dolls. This doll is nearly one hundred dollars! No one needs a hundred-dollar doll.
    Stephanie, you said it yourself: this doll scares you. That should be a huge indicator of whether or not your kid should have it.

  40. Wow. I was surfing google ( Yes Mell such a thing does exist! Who would have thought it ) for info on the new and strange PBS Kids Sprout shows. And I happened across this thread. All I have to say is this………….
    Who needs a 100.00 dollar doll?
    I dont care if it pees in its diaper, and then gets up to change itself. I have 3 kids and 1 income in my home. So Veronica, I stand insulted by your comments. I know your thoughts before you post them, so dont bother. Did Walmart start out as the largest retail store in the world? No. Did they grow to be that? Yes. Do I shop there as a way to save money so that I can take my kids on trips, to the movies, etc? Yes I sure do. And I am also an employee of a SMALL local business that will occasionaly feel presure as a result of a larger concern. You know what we do? We adapt and move on. So I for one can say gladly that I would not allow my children to attend such a party as that. What message is that sending really? Do you think that they understand that you are making a statement? I doubt it.
    As for the doll. My daughter ( my oldest ) reacts like any kid when they see the ” newest ” toy on TV. I advise her to watch the commercials and see if she really thinks that such a nonsense toy would be something she would like. 9 out of 10 times she comes back and says, you know what Daddy?, I dont think I like that after all. I have to agree 110% with Dave on this one and I am glad to have found a great parental forum! I am raising 3 creative thinkers due to, as one poster put it, a blend of toys, books, videos, dvd’s, etc. And yes, old fashion dolls that just sit there and allow the CHILD, not the toy, to set the scene. Combine this with 2 parents really interested in the children they are putting out into the world.
    People need to lighten up on calling each other names on here though. Are you all feeling like 5 year olds? Come on guys, lets be adults.

  41. I too found this website when researching Amazing Amanda. I found all of your comments very interesting. I am on the fence. Do I want to spend $100.00 on a doll that will be played with temporarily, because my daughter has so many other toys, or am I concerned that it will “snatch away” her imagination with one comment of “I love you more than bunnies”, I don’t know. I came from the technology business and am very into computers and that industry. My daughter has been using the computer since she was 2, because I thought it was very important for her to be exposed and learn it. Does she play on it 24 hours a day, of course not. We regulate it just as we do the TV. There are many days that she does not want to watch TV or play on the computer, and I think that is great, but if there is days she does want to do that, it is OK too in my opinion…Everything in moderation right? Thanks!

  42. Parents, i am FOR the doll, just out of spite. (isn’t that mature!) It isn’t as if it would be YOUR doll! Why should you care HOW your children play with it? If they like it, that is enough for me!
    Good luck to you Steve!

  43. OK, folks, this is kind of silly. My five-year-old has “Princess Alexa” and “Baby Annabelle”, both of which are interactive dolls, and frankly, she prefers to leave them in their cradle and go outside to play when the weather is nice. And, Dave, she draws them (and us) countless pictures of animals, people she knows, places she’s been, and she loves scrapbooking and never a day goes by when she doesn’t play with her friends – so her imagination hasn’t shriveled up and died as a result of owning a few talking dolls. It’s a doll. If the doll dictates a child’s outcome, what does that say about the parents? The responsibility does not rest on the doll!

  44. I am a grandmother of 8. After reading the posted messages about this doll, I am sort of shocked. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; but some of you sound like you have lost contact with reality. What would you do if your children talked to their friends like you are talking to each other. Your children sure wouldn’t have friends long! I just wanted to know if anyone had any problems with the doll; not what the doll might do to my granddaughter. From what I have read, some of the children might be better off having this doll to relate to than relating to parents with such negative attitudes. At least the doll is not mouthing off at people! I could see your concern if this doll was pulling a gun and shooting people and teaching negative things to your child. Let your children be children! I had different toys than my parents; my children had different toys than I did; and now my grandchildren have different toys than my children did. It is called life! If you can afford the doll and your child wants it, then buy it! If you have to analyze every toy you buy your children, I pity your children. Quit reading the parenting books and spend that time being a part of your child’s life. Your child will get more from you than you will ever get from a book; and you will be surprised at how much you learn from your child. I keep thinking about how this doll could make a lonely little girl happy. I think I will buy two and give one to a little girl I know who has no parents.

  45. OK… I just ordered this doll for my daughter who is 6. Everytime she sees this doll her eyes light up. My daughter has many interactive toys. But she also has a very active imagination. She is always crafting making up songs and stories and has very high grades.
    I think some people are acting like they deserve some reward because they only accept certain gifts or go to certain stores. I dont want my daughter to be so uptight that she thinks the way some of you do.
    And to comment on those who brought up religion shame on you…. My daughter made the choice at 5 she wanted to go to church because she said she love jesus. It’s not forced on her she loves it.
    And futhermore for all of you who are acting superior. You are probably raising kids whom I wouldn’t want to be around my daughter. They will have the same mentality as you. They will snub their noses to those who may be less fortunate than others. Or just think they are superior to others.
    A simple doll will not hinder my daughters imagination or her self worth. She is a free thinker and already sticks up for the underdog. The children who she knows will not have a good christmas she wants to buy them all gifts or invite them to dinner.. I am proud of my daughter and can not wait to give her this doll she has asked for. Its the only thing she has asked for. So get a life its just a doll.

  46. Wow, I was just searching for info (good or bad) and was hoping quick. Maybe you all have too much time on your hands. Where are your children and what are they playing with while you’re on this or other sites?

  47. In response to the last poster’s question, right now my 8 year old is playing with her baby brother while he sits on my lap and I attempt to type one handed. Then they (all the older kids) are going to watch their Saturday night movie – because they don’t watch movies durring the week and we don’t do television. In fact I don’t think my 8 year old even knows this doll exists and wants a plain old baby doll, cd’s and her own tent to use camping for Christmas.
    The idea that I am depriving her of some essential childhood experience by not training to be a mindless consumer would be amusing if it were not so prevailent. At the same time, I have a MIL who intentionally tries to push the bouderies I set and purchased Amazing Amy for my older girls when they were younger. They still make fun of it and both lost interest before the batteries even went dead. Was it worth what she spent? No way. Furbies were the same way. They became an annoying space waster.
    At the same time, it didn’t “hurt” my kids to have a doll designed to make them stupid, because that was not the only choice laid out for them. So I decided not to pick that battle with MIL. It does make me sad that so many parents just don’t care what their kids are doing or watching, but it makes me almost angry when people pretend that buying kids a bunch of plastic trash makes them good parents. Please! Will a few of these toys hurt? No. Can you be a good parent and still have a house full? I’ve always seen just the opposite, but I can’t speak for people I don’t know.
    As far as the comment about “a lot of church-going non-thinkers here,” umm… lets replace that “church going” with Muslim, Jew or some other religious label and pretend that we are discussing things “intelligently.” I agree with a lot of what you had to say about the doll, but the comment you made was that that of a bigot. And that makes me more sad than anything.

  48. Hi I landed here searching for “problems with Amazing Amanda” and I see now I made a mistake that not many here are fond of her. I think she is a wonderful doll, she tells the little girl when she has to potty and she puts her on the potty, she goes. She says when she is hungry, and asks for food etc. We got my 11 year old daughter for her birthday because she asked for it. It was expensive but the whole family went together to get it for her. I think it teaches little girls how to be good parents, and BELIEVE me women today (some of them) have some poor parenting skills (no offense to those of us who are good).
    What I wanted to know is if anyone has this doll, does she make a weird computer noise for you like she is malfunctioning? We just put the batteries in yesterday not even 24 hours ago and she is already acting like she is dying?
    Please someone let me know: email me at jopaki@comcast.net

  49. This is for kristen for your information my daughter was on a school sponserd trip when i was on this site. So the question is why were you on this site where was your kid.

  50. Oh my word! This site has turned into some “politically correct” agenda. It’s a doll for goodness sake. If you want it then buy it, if you don’t want it don’t buy it, even my 4 year old can figure that much out. We’ve gone from dolls to “religion” to name calling etc. etc. etc. Remember it’s our job to be parents 24/7. Be careful who you call “mindless”, some day those comments will be answered for. Church, politics and Wal-Mart having NOTHING to do with this doll, for the love of Pete, IT’S A TOY. Grow up people.

  51. I just purchased this doll for my 3 year old. She is very excited about it at this moment, of course that could all change. I don’t think that technology holds back imagination at all. I think that this doll will be a nice toy for my daughter. What can be wrong with a doll that tells your kid she loves her? My son is 4 years old and he can count to ten, say and write all his ABCs and he learned all of that by playing with his mini computer. Also, he can draw and color and anything else. He has pretend food that he and his siblings play with. I don’t think that you should worry so much about advanced toys for kids, let them have fun. My kids are all smart and still have really ‘cool’ toys. Lighten up.

  52. You know I was just looking a little research on this Amanda doll and came upon this site. All the comments are very interesting. My daughter is 3 and dying for one of these dolls for Christmas. Like Tina’s childern she is very bright and creative. She also loves to sing and be read to. All this while being raised by what you would refer to as closed minded individuals because we attend church regularly. My child says please and thank you, yes mama and yes sir. After reading all of the name calling and harsh remarks by the “enlightened” individals, I am glad I am close minded. I beleive that Jesus Christ died for all of us, rose from the grave, and is preparing a better place for believers. This is why we give gifts on Christmas anyway. Maybe if you guys would try a little organized religion you might be a little happier. By the way my daughter is getting Amazing Amanda as well as a dump truck (she told her daddy that dump trucks were not for boys, they were for girls). Hows that for imagination!

  53. Well, I wouldn’t call that “imagination,” exactly. Dump truck toys are for whoever wants to play with them, and real dump trucks are for whoever wants to drive them – male or female.
    Balance and moderation are wonderful things. Unfortunately, many people don’t practice them and end up with houses full of electronic gadgets. While at my parents’ house the other day, I saw a commercial in which a young boy music star of some sort (I think his name was Jesse something) had come home for Christmas after being on the road. Everyone in the family had a little electronic gadget – a video game, a music player, and goodness-only-knows what else. They barely looked at each other. It was supposed to be a warm and fuzzy family’s-all-home, everyone-got-what-they-wanted-for-Christmas ad, I think, but it ended up being something very different.
    Yes, technology can be taken to extremes. But, I’m rather fond of my computer. It’s an extremely helpful tool. Television, in moderation, can also enrich one’s life. Want to see what Africa really looks like? Want to watch a sloth move, see scientists at work, watch the progress firemen are making on a wildfire, see schools of ocean fish dart about? And, of course, some shows are just enjoyable. It’s nice to relax in front of a well-loved movie from time to time. Should the TV be on at all hours of the day and night? No. Should adventure shows take the place of real-life adventures (even if it’s just a walk around the block)? Of course not. Television and computers should enrich our lives. When they stop doing that, it should be a sign that something needs to change.
    A talking doll is a less obvious tool, I suppose, but if a child is using it to some end, I don’t see much harm in it. It’s when such toys stop being helpful in a child’s life and start playing a detrimental role that parents need to figure out another way.
    Like anything else, a parent has to look at her or his child and decide what is best – for the child and the family. Parents need to feel empowered to make choices based on what they know and feel to be right for their children – not taken in by slick commercials and slicker technology. Maybe, for some children, and for some families, Amazing Amanda would be a welcome addition. But until parents learn to stop blindly buying each new gadget that makes an appearance, until they learn to look critically at a desired object before purchasing it, deciding whether it will fit well into their family, Amazing Amanda will likely fly off the shelves, whether it’s a good fit for children or not.
    About the Wal-Mart discussion: It was assumed on several occasions that those who refused to have anything to do with Wally World were snobs and looked down on those who had to shop there for financial reasons. That’s not it at all. In fact, the concern so many have with Wal-Mart is that they don’t pay their employees properly, aren’t fair in their hiring practices, etc. It’s not that they’re above shopping at a discount store; it’s that Wal-Mart takes from the poor to give to the rich. Which they do. There are lots of other reasons, of course (Wal-Mart’s politics, the degradation of small- and mid-sized communities), but Wal-Mart avoiders generally aren’t trying to belittle those with financial hardships.
    Anyway, we won’t be getting Amazing Amanda. We’re currently wading in a much bigger sea of consumerism (Pokemon, anyone?). It’s a chore to work for balance and moderation when it would be so easy to give in and buy the Pokemon cards, the Pokemon backpacks, the Pokemon dolls, the Pokemon gadgets and gizmos. And we have a few. We talk, though, about how the show is a thirty-minute commercial for the toys, how the company makes money, how the phrase “Gotta Catch ’em All” is a call for kids to go out and buy more more more. My little one still loves Pokemon but understands the marketing ploys. He generally has some fascinating Pokemon game of pretend going on. I’ll hear him running around the house, talking as this or that Pokemon or trainer, several invisible Pokemon friends scrambling around with him. He draws pictures of Pokemon in the same scenes with dragons, fairies, children, and other such magical creatures. He makes up songs about Pokemon. He writes stories about them. Yes, the Pokemon empire is rather evil, but my son’s fascination with “Pocket Monsters” and passion for them isn’t. I’m sure it’s the same with Amazing Amanda.

  54. Before I get started, I have a few questions: WHY do people feel the need to train their daughters from birth on how to be good mothers? And why would a doll be a better teacher of good parenting than, er, good parents?
    I spent about 100 dollars for my two year old son this Christmas. (His birthday is the following week, yikes!)
    4 books, 3 wooden puzzles, and a simple jigsaw puzzle
    a hobby horse (has batteries, but who cares if he learns what a horse sounds like?)
    a push toy that clicks and has plastic balls in it. i don’t know what to call it, but I had one in 1981. it’s a classic.
    an animal-shaped percussion set that is a preschool favorite of his.
    another set of 50 square wooden alphabet blocks so he and daddy can build together.
    I can guarantee you that he would be much happier with the above than with a simple, 100 dollar toy.
    All of my friends were buying those kid-sized electric Hummer monstrosities for their children. One woman bought a Hummer for her one year old!
    Young children have boundless energy. I don’t intend to pay for my son sit and push buttons in order to move around my back yard.
    His great-grandma and I found a wonderful alternative: a Radio Flyer car. He can straddle it and push it around with his legs. And being made of solid metal, it is quite unlikely to break.
    I never chose my son’s toys based on whether or not they had batteries. I’ve always been drawn to classic toys because I feel that they are classics for a good reason. And he is still at an age where he is happily entertained by toys with educational value.
    I’m happy to see this article. My best friend is currently unemployed while she undergoes chemotherapy. Her daughter (my goddaughter) is very bright, and I was considering buying this doll for her. I realize now that it such a toy would be against my friend’s values, and that my goddaughter would not appreciate it much at all.
    She’d rather paint on her easel and continue to learn Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on her keyboard.
    My best friend and I both have children who currently prefer learning to expensive, over-hyped toys. I’m certain that, in my son’s case, that will eventually balance out. I hope to meet that new challenge with the strength to neither be pliable to my child’s whim, nor to be a strict overparenter.

  55. Lrts face it we all have different parenting practices. That doesnt mean some of us are better than other parents. Im sure we all love our kids. And that is all that matters. But the only thung that gets me is most of the people who are against it try to make is sound like the rest of us will have not so smart kids. Toys have nothing to do with smarts. Just because my kid is geting this doll doesnt make her any less smart.

  56. Tempesta they have the ethnic doll on walmart.com. And it is the same price as the other. I am not of africian american desent but my daughter wanted the ethnic amazing amanda. I thought this would be a great way to teach tollerence early. Hope you find what you were looking for
    merry christmas and happy holidays

  57. i bought amazing amanda for my daughter in november for her birthday. i am waiting to see if after christmas other people are having the same problems i do. first it’s annoying! it has a hard time recgnoizing my daughters little voice. my husband and i have had to be “mommy”. and it constantly says “say my name mommy.” thank goodness it sleeps because if you turn amanda off you have to reset everything on her. technology has come a long way but has a long way to go. p.s. for christmas we bought her a non-talking doll.

  58. My daughter got the doll for Christmas and she annoying i had to reset her 3 times. My daughter does not seem to like her she want me to turn her off. She talks like she has an attitude. At first i was all for the doll, now I’m ready to throw her out.

  59. I just by accident heard about Amazing Amanda on television so I checked up on it through the internet. This is NOT just a talking doll but a first generation of dolls with the incoporation of “artificial intelligence” technology. I am wondering how far can this be taken when computer power grows and/or if money is no object. Talking dolls of the past i.e. Chatty Cathy and Cricket (talk about a HEAVY doll!!) do not interact with children but only plays pre-recorded messages on small record disc or cassette tapes. Imagine if Amazing Amanda could have her vocabulary increased by 800% and have temperature sensors (so she knows if its hot or cold), humidity (for dry or damp), motion and shock sensors (to determine if she is sitting upright, reclining, laying down, moving or being abused), advance non-volatile memory (so that she remembers some of the past activity so she knows how to respond to questions and/or to sensor stimuli), a photocell in the back of each eye ( for determining light and dark with left-right perception), microphones in each ear for sound directional pickup. She should have NO On/Off switch (you can not turn off a real child if she wakes up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache). This technology will greatly improve in the future. Just think of the spin-off artificial intelligence from the interstellar space probes we are planning to launch into space in the future, they will have to “think” on their own!
    Ever seen “Alien Planet” on the Science Channel?? That type of technology I am talking about. Amazing Amanda is just the beginning The dolls will then be truly interactive! I have read how some people are afraid or scared of the doll. Remember that people were once afraid of computers from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. No one today is afraid of a laptop. My comments are from a technical stand point. It is up to each parent to decide if their child should have such a high tech doll. I rather have children play with an interactive toy instead of the very violent video games.
    I notice that some people are having problems with Amanda recognizing the childs voice. Don’t worry this is a side affect of voice recognition technology – you may notice this whenever you talk to an automated service by telephone, that the system does not at times recognize what you are saying. You will have to have patience with having the doll recognizing your voice. ANY changes in your voice pattern caused by stress, etc. will cause problems. This technology is far from perfect. This is why computers no longer use the “speak and dictate” word processors. Also this is why she has a built in reset.

  60. Granddaughter found her frustrating and did not want to take her home when she kept saying “you don’t sound like my mommy”.

  61. i couldnt begin to explain to everyone the time and effort i put in to find this doll for my 6yr old daughter and 2 days before christmas i found the only one in the store and boy it felt great i dont think i could look in my daughters eyes on christmas if that was not under the tree christmas morning well christmas morning we opened it and i thought it worked horrible it dioesnt seem to respond when spoken to i honestly think it is a waste i payed $123.00 for a doll that now sits on the couch and does not get played with to me that is very sad

  62. Well everyone, this debate has been a blast for me. I have agreed and disagreed. I would like to say this: I think that we all need to understand that we are such a blessed people to be able to go for wal-mart or protest wal-mart with our “shoping money” or some type of savings set aside to advance or direct our childrens play and learning skills. Someone somewhere is looking for the corn husk in the trash either to make a doll or suck the juice from it before it dries out. I think in our situations where we can be selective, the key word is balance and moderation. Too much is just as bad as not enough. With the techno advances in other countries we’d better know all about how to make and operate these gadgets. Just the other day I was trying to tell my kid about an Ipod and I had an idea of it but I wasn’t confident and I felt bad. I’m a fun young mother who has an old fashion flare and a yearning for the new. I believe in things like past accomplishments and new advancment. It is what shapes our world and our children better know what’s going on around them. This is where the gray areas come in. To buy the doll or not? That is not the question. The question is how much money do we spend annually on techtoys per household? Do we allow the toys and games to raise our children?
    For those of us who are christians (following the teachings of Christ)we learn that Parables helped, hands on healing helped, believing helps, etc… there is no one particular way of getting the perfect child. Train them to be able to survive and to thrive and to pass it on to their children. Maybe Amazing Amanda was someones “up all night” idea, maybe someone took pride in their work and thought it to be something kids would enjoy. If it cost too much, get one in a year or too when cost go down. And please for crying out loud, say thank you and be thankful when someone shows up at your party with any gift. We have a chance to be blood bought, all sales final, no returns and no exchanges. I’m so glad that there is peace and good will toward all men. I’m so glad that love cares when we don’t. In all our efforts to be the perfect whatever, we still have to look toward the cross. Our christmas gift came to be admired, teach, and then be destroyed, only to rise again and take place in someone’s heart who will let Him.
    posted by nisha

  63. I had never heard of Amazing Amanda until a lady in my mom’s group posted about going to get one for her daughter and being shocked at the price. Unware that she actually bought the doll on that trip, I made a comment that it was ‘amazing’ someone would pay so much! Oops. I did apologize after realizing the miscommunication.
    Anyway, this lady did give her daughter the Amazing Amanda doll for Christmas, and they were both very disappointed. The dolls lip color wore off within a few hours of being played with. $129, and the paint won’t even stay on? I’m so relieved (for once!) that I only have a house of boys to deal with. And believe me, I have no problem with telling them ‘no’ to toys I don’t feel they should have!

  64. I think that if you are parents who wishes the best for their kids, than YOU should think what would that be….do not ask around, as you know your kid better than anyone. Some of them are happy with Lego toys some of them do not like toys at all and some wants to have ‘real thing’. Not every child is created to be creators.
    I have imagined real house, kitchen appliances and baby doll all my childhood, and I do not see how that imagination helped me in life.
    Am I better person for not having opportunity to have Amazing Amanda. I have less and less imagination, but that is happening when you are growing up…life is the best teacher. Love is the most important, and that is what we should care about.
    You can show them your love by buying Amanda, only if your child is not lonely and if that toy will not be compensation for quality and quantity of time spent together with their parents. Sorry for my bad english, but I come from country where we never have this kinds of conversations.
    You are spoiled parents and that would make your kids spoiled,too. Let kids tell you what they want, and you will decide about it according to their behavior, your pocket size, and because you consult your child spirit not us adults that you don’t even know on some web site.
    By the way I am thrilled that now when I am grown up there is a such a toy, and I would buy it for my child – if I can find a way to make shipping to my country – Any Walmart, Target, Toys r us would be fine….and by the way people, birthday parties are for your kids to enjoy. Let them write invitation for their guests.
    Listen to your children for a change!!!!!

  65. Well, after reading most of the comments on here about a doll….I have decided I am going to buy the doll and every outfit that goes with her. Every accessory I can find and alot of batteries for her. If in doing so, my daughter turns out to be a Zombie adult who has no creativity, no morals, no parenting skills, and no mind of her own, then so be it. At least for the short time she is a child, she will have a ball with a mindless, silly, fun, and creative doll. And I will be a relaxed mom that can sit back and sip my diet soda (lol) and watch her smile and pretend and perhaps look her doll with awe. And when the time comes that we are both older, we will look back at these comments and laugh our butts off.

  66. My daughter has at least 15 to 30 dolls, she absoulutely loves amazing amanda in fact the truth is I am amazed at how attentive she is with it. Shes been a great mommy to this doll for over 10 months it is by far her favorite of the lot. She dresses her regularly, has healthy conversations with it, goes as far as to buckle her in the car seat. The doll has a shut off button which in our case is mostly off. I have seen tremendous amounts of imagination more so than with any other doll or toy thus far. I was once the skeptic but now a believer in this product. Just a dad with his 2 cents. Thanks

  67. All of you have something quite interesting to say but seriously people just buy the doll and if your daughter doesnt like it sell it on ebay or something.I think the doll is really impressive and i would love to buy it but i am a bit worried about the doll not working because so many people say it doesnt work and its a waste of money but my daughter however loves dolls but gets bored with them easy even though shes never had an electronic doll.She also has a great imagination and i dont think that if i buy her this doll it will waste her imagination.

  68. Oh and check out amaizing allysen she seems better.
    Whoever has had or has amazing amanda and or amazing allysen please tell me about them does your child like it is it slow.Does your child get bored with it,what?

  69. I have an Amamzing Amanda, and she is wonderful! But you have to be paitent or you might end up with some play that isn’t fun. She has a lot to talk about, so they added a quiet mode activated by squeezing her hand for so long, and you can also put her down for naps.
    Alright people, I think y’all need to see this from a kid’s point of view. Okay, so I’m 14…not exactly a little kid like the ones you’re talking about, but I’m still a kid… Well, I’ve had a love for dolls ever since I can remember. I started out with a simple cloth doll, and some accessories, but I always wished I had a real baby to play with. To help me feel less rejected, my family started getting me realistic dolls for my birthdays and Christmas. When I was about eight, my dad got re-married, and my stepbrother introduced me to videogames. I don’t like to watch TV all that much, though. To this day, I still pretend marbles are people, and I pretend the brissles (sp?) on brushes are choirs of children singing the most beautiful songs. I still play with dolls that do nothing, and my stuffed animals get a lot of imagination in. I also love to draw and write stories. Everything in my pictures and stories are completely original. I have 13 or 14 dolls that have realistic features, and the rest of my fourty dolls do nothing. I play with them all. My mom played pretend with me when I was younger, and I play pretend with my little sister. Amazing Amanda didn’t destroy my imagination. I’ve had her for about three years…nothing happened to my imagination. My mom gave me a ballence, so now I feel pretty happy with my imagination, and I’m glad I got some dolls that do realistic things. I also love videogames, but playing them too long makes my head hurt, so I only get in one or two hours of it a month. That’s my perspective on this, but you can completely ignore it if you want…

  70. Hi Dave,
    I agree with your basic point that fewer high-tech toys and more imaginative, creative play are best for kids. In our house, TV, video-games and battery-operated toys in general are pretty limited.
    Amazing Amanda has some pretty amazing technology, though, and we have elected to use her to help our daughter learn Spanish. We bought Spanish-speaking Amazing Amanda to supplement the natural-language Spanish classes that our daughter attends. They compliment one another, and the combination is more engaging and motivating than popping a Spanish-language DVD in the player and having her sit there and watch it, or other methods people use.
    Amanda is surprisingly versatile, and playing with her is not rote like hearing Spanish phrases over and over from CDs, flash cards or books. It challenges her to figure out what Amanda is saying, and she must respond in Spanish because this Amanda doesn’t understand English. I think it’s a good step until she becomes confident enough to want to speak Spanish with children her age. Otherwise, she tends to just default to English.
    So I think in this case, creative use of the toy has been a good alternative. I think it’s good to ask yourself what good could come of it rather than reject technology alltogether.

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