As most of you know, or at least my regular readers do, I am a huge fan of dolls. I have them in all sizes and shades of color and even nationalities. There is nothing like having a best friend that you can take along everywhere you go, and the best thing is that she never leaves you. Well, that is only if you put her in a safe place that you can remember. I’m like most pre-schoolers, I play with something, leave it where I was playing, and forget all about it until I need it again. I’ve “lost” a few toys that way. When I was given the chance to make a new friend that was totally interactive, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. My Friend Cayla is a truly interactive doll that’s more than a doll, think of her as your new best friend.
I was able to preview this interactive doll, which stands around 18″ tall and comes with a comb and brush, which you can use to comb her long, beautiful blonde hair. While she works connected to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth, she can also play stand alone without them. She does require 3 AA batteries, which are not included, and her clothing is also removable. Be sure, however, that you have a good wi-fi connection because she needs it if you want to play along interactively.
We were able to download the My Friend Cayla app from the iTunes store on my Mini iPad with no problems. Connecting via Bluetooth was also no problem. She comes with an on switch which you must turn on before she’s able to connect, of course. So far, so good! We couldn’t wait to ask Cayla a few questions since she can answer questions, chat with you, play games, and even tell stories.
There is a settings menu that allows you to change Cayla’s name to a name of your choosing. You can also change your location. My Friend Cayla was set for New York, and we were able to change her to Colorado. I was even surprised to see that a few military bases were given as options as well. In the settings, you can also have Cayla talk more or less, be loud or quiet, and our favorite feature? The word “exclusion” You can put specific words into Cayla that she would not respond to. This was by far our favorite feature. There is also a tutorial video to help you get started.
With the app, you can play Tic Tac Toe, and it was fun and challenging. Cayla actually won more than we did. She also has a memory match game that is fun for the younger kids. As of this time, there are 3 stories that she can read to you and a photo album that she can go through with you.
When you turn Cayla on, she says “hello” and starts talking to you. When she’s done talking, her heart necklace lights up, meaning that she’s listening. This is the time that you can talk to her. That’s where we had a little difficulty. I’m not sure if she had difficulty understanding us at times, but we would ask Cayla a few questions and she would either take a long time to answer (but she would answer correctly most of the time) or she would just say something totally random.
I asked Cayla: What’s your favorite color?
Cayla: I have an older brother and a sister.
Me: Do you like to play games?
Cayla: I am especially happy today because my sister helped me with my homework.
Maybe with an update she’ll get better, but as I mentioned, she did happen to answer quite a few questions correctly.
Here’s a video of how Cayla is supposed to actually work:
I am, however, happy with Cayla and I know that I will have lots of fun with her. I’m hoping that since she’s connected via my app, there will be an update by the time that she is released. My Friend Cayla has an MSRP of $59.99 and will be available for purchase at Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl’s, BJ’s Wholesale, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon starting August 3rd. One lucky winner will also have a chance to win one right here on Growing Up Madison. Come back on August 1st for your chance to win!
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