My Friend Cayla {Holiday Gift Guide} #sponsored

I received a My Friend Cayla for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

Holiday Gift Guide

Like many preschoolers, my daughter loves dolls of all kinds.  But lately she is really into playing with the popular 18 inch "big girl" dolls.  AK enjoys dressing them, combing their hair, and having little conversations with them.  And of course, there are lots of tea parties!

I am tickled that she loves dolls as much as I did (and still do) as a kid!  I remember having a doll back in the 1980's called Pamela, the Living Doll from Worlds of Wonder.  As a matter of fact, I still have her and she works!  She is much larger than an 18" doll and talks by the use of cartridges in her back.  AK has played with her and thinks she's pretty neat, but since we only have one cartridge for her, she's not super interactive.

Technology sure has come a long way since the 80's!

My Friend Cayla dollWe were given the opportunity to test out one of the most unique 18" dolls that I have seen called My Friend Cayla.   This doll uses Bluetooth technology to talk to you.  But you can talk to her and she will answer your questions too!   Plus she will play games, read stories, and tell you about her family.

gifts for kids

Cayla arrived dressed in a cute shirt, leggings, sneakers, and a denim jacket.  She also has a brush and a mirror for accessories.  She has big eyes that open and close and the usual rooted 18" doll hair.   Since rooted hair tends to get tangly, I ended up braiding it to avoid that problem.  She has large expressive blue eyes that open and close.

The Cayla we were sent is blonde with blue eyes (AK likes that this Cayla looks similar to her), but there is also a choice of a brunette or African American Cayla.  Perhaps they will come out with additional culturally diverse versions in the future. 
18" dolls

Cayla differs from some other common 18" dolls in that she does not have a soft body.  It is hard because of the electronic components.  This hasn't been an issue with my daughter cuddling with her, but she isn't a doll she can sleep with at night.  Cayla stands on her own really well, but her joints are not flexible on her arms and legs to pose in various positions.  AK really likes that Cayla can share clothes with her other dolls since they have a similar body size. 

My Friend Cayla

Once you get Cayla out of the box, the directions are pretty easy to follow.  First, download the free app on Google Play or iTunes depending on your device.  I had to delete some things from my Android phone in order to download it because it is a large file.  You will need to turn Cayla's switch to on, connect her to bluetooth on your device, and then do a few set up choices.  Once set-up is finished, press hello on the app and Cayla will begin talking!

My Friend Cayla App Android

Some of the neat set-up features that you can choose:

*You can change Cayla's name
*You can add facts about yourself that Cayla will remember and talk about
*Cayla can speak and understand Spanish {download Spanish version}
*Cayla can speak with a British accent {download British English app}

We noticed right away that it was important not to have any background noise {tv, music, or loud talking} around Cayla for her to work properly.  Her necklace will light up when she is ready for you to speak into her microphone.  You have to be pretty close for her to hear you because it is on her stomach.

Your child also has to be patient because Cayla doesn't speak back right away.  She needs "thinking" time.  Once AK learned that she had to wait for Cayla's necklace to light up and got used to the delayed response, she became more patient with Cayla.

I noticed that when my daughter tries to talk to Cayla, sometimes Cayla will answer with "I don't know that one" or "I'm sorry I don't know".  Since a four year old doesn't have perfect clear speech, it can be a little frustrating that Cayla doesn't recognize what she's saying.  So I will repeat it to Cayla for her.   AK loves hearing Cayla talk to her and has even heard her giggle and sing!

There are some standard questions in the directions that you can ask her to test if she responds correctly.  And you can ask her questions of your own; she will connect to your wifi to find the answers to math questions, spelling or geography and the like  (you can still use Cayla when not connected to the internet for most of her features, but she cannot look up answers).

And one feature that will give you peace of mind as a parent is that she is programmed with kid-safe proprietary software called Violet.  This means your child is protected from any inappropriate content or language.  You can even add words that you don't want your child to accidentally hear.

AK's favorite thing about Cayla is that she will play games on the app with her and read to her!  There is a matching game that she plays a lot, tic tac toe game, stories to choose from, as well as a photo album of Cayla's family that she will talk about.  It will be neat to see them add more games to the app!

holiday gifts

AK absolutely adores My Friend Cayla and takes her everywhere with her!  She is sure to be a hit for interactive doll fans this holiday season.

holiday gifts

Where to Buy:

My Friend Cayla is available at Walmart.com for $59.93

The Attic Girl's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide 
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For more holiday gift ideas, be sure to check out the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide (coming in November)

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