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It’s so special seeing the relationship my kids are developing with my parents. We live all the way across the country from them, but we’ve thankfully had many chances to travel during the kids lives, plus they also come to visit us quite often. This summer was so fun seeing them twice, but it also makes us miss them even more.
Ronin has become quite the air traveler in his almost-8-year-old life. It takes a LONG time to fly from Seattle to Florida and on the plane inevitably we hear “This is taking SO long!” Oh yes, yes it does Ronin. So just this past week I was really surprised to hear him say “I love flying on airplanes!” I was shocked of course and asked him why and he said, “It’s fun, even though it’s long and then we get to see Grandma and Grandpa.”
Both Ellie and Ronin really do miss them when we’re apart. We all wish we lived closer or could see them more often. My brother and his wife and kids also live in this area so when my parents come to the Seattle area they get to see ALL of their kids and grand kids. Personally I’m waiting for the day when they can come for extended visits, maybe even rent a place in the area for a couple of months out of the year. I just don’t see my Dad giving up Florida completely. He’s pretty attached to his golf club and their lives there, where I grew up, which I totally understand.
So in the meantime it’s fun to find special ways to keep in touch. On our last trip, mom and I went over to Walmart to pick up CloudPets™. What a cute and cuddly, and hi-tech way for the kids to communicate with loved ones far away.
We had a hard time choosing between this Walmart exclusive unicorn and the kitty for Ellie. They are just both SO adorable, but ended up getting her the kitty (it looks a lot like our cat Zoe in fact!) We chose the bear for Ronin. The kids can send their own voice messages to friends and loved ones (like Grandma and Grandpa) via their CloudPets™ stuffed animal after a little set up.
The pets themselves just need three AA batteries, and no other set up.
But to use CloudPets™ to exchange voice messages, you have to download the free app with parental controls. I set it up on my iPhone and created our account (the app is also available for Android.)
While we were still in Florida, my mom downloaded the app on her iPad to become connected with us. After a bit of set up, she can now easily record and send the kids voice messages from her iPad to their stuffed animals.
For a tour of exactly how it works, check out this video.
The kids both love hearing the messages, but I think they really touch Ronin’s heart the most. I’ve seen him listening to a message from Grandma over and over, then giving the bear a hug and saying “I love this.” The other day as he listened to an old message again I said, “You miss Grandma, don’t you?” and he said yes. You can’t get any sweeter than that.
Another fun aspect is that you can play games with the app. The app communicates with the stuffed animal for a truly interactive experience. For example, there’s a fun game where the kids need to identify animal noises in a particular order. Great for making road trips or air travel even more fun.
Later this month John’s mom is coming for a visit. John’s brother and his wife are having their first baby! And while Grams is here, we’re planning to set her up for CloudPets™ messaging too. We of course could have gotten her to download the app sooner but we thought it would be a fun thing to try out with her while she’s here in town. Then after she heads home, we can keep that relationship going sending fun voice messages back and forth.
You can connect any loved one who has a smart device, and once “friends” they can send messages to the kids.
CloudPets™ are now available at a special pallet display found in select Walmart stores, but will be available nationwide soon.
How would your kids use their CloudPets™? Who would get sweet messages from your kids?