Bluebee Pals by Kayle Concepts LLC are adorable stuffed animals that are Bluetooth enabled and synch with both Apple and Android devices. They are able to play anything from music to stories to any educational game driven by sound. Using the Bluebee Plush Pals in conjunction with a device results in the Bluebee lip synching to what is playing. The Bluebee Pal can even act as a phone speaker if synched to a phone! There are 5 different Bluebees – a bear (Sammy), a zebra (Riley), a lion (Leo), a lambie (Lily) -my fave, and a puppy (Winston) who will be sold through Toys R Us. The other animals can be found on www.bluebeepals.com as well as any technical information that you may need for either setting your Bluebee Pal up or getting ideas on how to start playing with your new pal. I received the Lion for review and was quite impressed with its construction. As a stuffed animal it is very well made and should hold up to even the biggest squeezes. The technology within is sound, and it delivers without any glitches or interruption in play. All the components are well cushioned on the inside, and that makes Bluebee Pals durable and worth the investment. Setting the Bluebee Pals up is a snap. First you charge his enclosed Lithium Polymer battery through the micro USB charging port inside his/her belly with the enclosed charging cable. The Bluebee can either receive a charge from a computer or an electrical outlet charger. Once the Bluebee Pal is charged up, synch him/her to your phone or tablet – be it an Apple or Android device. Caution though, only one device can be synched at a time…so if you have it synched with your phone, it won’t synch up with your tablet or iPod touch. You will need to turn off one Bluetooth synched device before synching it to another. Which gets me to my next point, why would a teacher or clinician want a Bluebee Pal? Well, it’s really quite cute and when the Little Lion I reviewed, “Henry” – (that’s this Lion’s name) started singing “That’s Amore” even my husband got up and started dancing with him. And there you go, reason number one. Kids that are apraxic, autistic, or sedentary may need a non-threatening friend to urge them to take a risk…be it singing a song or moving. By decreasing anxiety, and putting it in a playful realm, kids are more willing to take risks and experiment with what is presented. While hooked up to a learning app (and www.bluebeepals.com does have several storybook and educational apps suggested on their site), it may improve attention and the ability to complete a task as the task has now become a shared experience. Sometimes just having a friend, can get a kid over that hump of listed demands they need to finish. Speech Pathologists will love Bluebee Pals, both as an input for modeling conversation, and a direct resource for practicing conversation and/or social skills via a phone hook-up. The phone feature is priceless for long distant calls to relatives or moms and dads that are traveling or deployed. How nice to give a hug to someone you love that is very far away. Recording a message, singing a lullaby, or reading a book via voice apps may be another link to your child when away. Recommended for parents and kids everywhere. Teachers and clinicians need to be careful about infection control, and wipe their pal down after excessive handling. The benefits and uses are only limited by your imagination. Bedtime stories or naptime lullabies, anyone?
Written by Jo Booth
Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play every day; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.