Backpack Backpack! From Dora the Explorer and Fisher Price
All children love toys that are based on some of their favorite television shows. One of my two- year olds favorite shows is Dora the Explorer and her infatuation with this education program caused me to purchase the Fisher Price Dora the Explorer Talking Backpack, a toy based on one of the backpack character from the show.
The Dora the Explorer Backpack is a purple- colored toy with Backpack’s trademarked face on one side. There is a flip- top that opens by pressing a latch. There is a handle on top for carrying and inside the Backpack, there are four different accessories: A map, telescope, compass, and camera.
This toy has several different saying. They are: “Hola Amigos, I’m Backpack”, “Let’s Go Exploring”, “Let’s Look at Map”, Let’s Look Through the Telescope”, “Let’s Look at the Compass”, and “Let’s Look Through the Video Camera”. Each of the last four sayings (Those that relate to the items inside) also includes the same saying in Spanish. The toy also sings the Backpack theme song (in English). Each saying is made in succession, and the voice is activated by pressing Backpack’s mouth.
Whenever my daughter hears the trademark phrases or opening theme song for Dora the Explorer she comes running. Normally I don’t mind her watching because of its educational nature which includes some Spanish words and phrases to help children learn a different language and introduces them to the Hispanic culture as many episodes are based on Hispanic children’s stories or family life. These facts make Dora the Explorer different from most other children’s programs.
Given my daughter’s love of Dora, it was only a matter of time until our house started to look like Dora’s own cartoon show. We have Dora the Explorer plastic mugs, eating utensils, children’s clothing, toys, and dolls. When my two year old observed the backpack on the store shelves one day, she very loudly insisted that it become hers on the spot. It was cute, I was tired and we had just moved so not all of her toys had arrived yet, so I gave in and purchased it. The price wasn’t too bad at about $15.
My little girl has owned this for several months now and as much as she loves Dora the Explorer, her enthusiasm for the toy has waned (more than normal for a two year old child). After playing with her and the toy, I can understand why she isn’t so thrilled anymore. First there are no other forms of visual stimulation such as lights or movements, or designs. The toy makes the sayings in the Backpack voice- just like on the television show- but there are too few of them. The only one that gets my girl’s attention is when Backpack sings the Backpack song, which is taken directly from the show. The other sayings that Backpack says on this toy are nice for helping learn Spanish words, but the variety is limited so it is mainly for cultural stimulation as opposed to actually learning another language.
The accessories are ho hum. The backpack comes with a camera, telescope, compass, and map. There are some small images of Dora and other television show crew members on the camera and compass, but the telescope is plain. Also, none of these four accessories actually “does” anything, makes any sounds or is interactive in any way. The telescope is nothing more than an empty tube made from plastic. With a little more effort, like turning the telescope into an interactive kalediscope the accessories could be more entertaining and interesting. There is no on/off switch for the sound and no volume control. This means that, depending on how much your kids like this toy, they might potentially drive you crazy with Backpack’s sayings.
Although the Map accessory is plain, without any interaction or stimulation whatsoever it is actually my daughter’s favorite. Whenever Dora and Boots need to know “which way to go” the Map makes appears and gives them directions. The Map is always there to help and always sings a tune. The Map in this toy is nothing more than a flat piece with the Map himself on one side and a field on the right. This isn’t anything special, but my little girl loves the Map character and whenever permitted to watch the show, grabs the map and sings and dances to the map song.
One other positive point is the storage space inside the Backpack. This toy isn’t really that large (about eight inches tall not counting the handle), but it features an open space that can be used for carrying other things from place to place. My little girl has emptied out the accessories and tossed them aside (except for the Map, of course). In their place, she uses the inside of Backpack to store crayons and other small objects. Sometimes she fills it like a diaper bag or purse to imitate mommy or her big sister. She likes to press Backpack’s mouth and listen to the sayings more than anything, so she decided it made sense to eliminate the things she doesn’t like, replace them with things she does like, and enjoy the sayings by pressing the mouth.
Considering the lack of stimulation and the boring nature of the accessories I consider the price for Dora the Explorer Talking Backpack to be overpriced. I suppose the manufacturer knows the selling power of Dora the Explorer and priced the toy accordingly.
Overall, Fisher Price Dora the Explorer Talking Backpack is a moderately enjoyable toy that had potential to be something much better and more entertaining. This toy designed for the 12 -36 month crowd in mind. It is a decent toy, but to this parent nothing exceptional. Young fans of Dora the Explorer will like it. As proven by daughter, they can use a little of their own imagination and creativity to make it one of their favorite toys.