You’re either jumping on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) bandwagon, or you better be ready to get left in the dust.

The toy industry has been exploding with STEM-based toys for a while, but what makes Zyrobotics‘ Zumo Learning System unique, is that it makes these concepts fun and accessible for kids with special needs. The revolutionary system combines a tablet with downloadable educational apps and a plush turtle named Zumo to make for an unforgettable educational experience for little ones.

First things first, let’s talk about this plush turtle. Zumo is bigger than an average stuffed animal and totally huggable. The soft green and yellow turtle makes for a comforting companion to help encourage kids as they face new challenges and lessons during play. Zumo is dual-purposed, so aside from being an adorable plush friend, it is also is a wireless smart toy that enables tactile-based interaction on an iPad or Andriod tablet.

Kids can connect Zumo when they unzip the compartment under his head and switch the Bluetooth button to the right. Once connected, little learners can now use the five blue dots on the turtle’s shell—resembling the up, down, left, and right arrow keys—to interact with different programs and games. Using the shell as a game controller incorporates multi-sensory learning approaches during play and strengthens fine-motor skills. Kids can also choose to let Zumo sit back and watch, and simply use the tablet touchscreen to play. While some apps require purchases, there are plenty of apps that kids can choose from that are free once the product is registered.

The system features an array of different apps, including interactive games and digital stories. CityCount is a fun way for kids to work on counting skills, as well as build hand-eye coordination. As the player runs through the city, he or she must dodge obstacles and collect stars. Each star is numbered, and there is a total star count that appears in the middle of the screen so that kids can keep count as they go. OctoMinus and OctoPlus challenge kids to an underwater adventure where they must solve the math equation correctly in order to advance in the game. CountingZoo, one of the StemStoriez included in the learning system, introduces kids to different animals and discusses the different quantities of each animal that is at the zoo.

Another awesome feature about the system is that parents can costumize each app to best work with their kid’s needs. Like most games, players can choose to play either beginner, advanced, or expert, but the customization doesn’t stop there. Kids and parents can also choose whether or not to include obstacles, reduce the speed of the game, and more. This provides kids with an interactive STEM tool tailored specifically for their needs.

The Zumo Learning System can be purchased as a full package—Zumo Smart Toy plush, tablet, and green protective case—or just the Zumo Smart Toy. This allows parents to choose whether or not they want to buy an additional tablet for their child, or share their smart device with their kids.

STEM is a fundamental part of education, and it should be easily accessible for kids of all types of capabilities. The Zumo Learning System acknowledges this, and provides an easy-to-use and fun tool for every kid.

About the author

Stephanie Grassullo

Stephanie Grassullo

Stephanie Grassullo is an associate editor at Adventure Publishing Group. In addition to handling toy and licensing news and updates for The Toy Book and The Licensing Book, Stephanie also writes toy reviews and commentaries for the Toy Insider. When she’s not binge-watching old episodes of Gossip Girl, Stephanie is always game for Boggle tournaments—she’s the titleholder Boggle champion in her family, and proud of it! Stephanie firmly believes that there is no awkward moment that can’t be remedied with the help of Bop It. To get to know her better, follow her on Twitter @steph_grass.