Think it all the way through. For the monster to count to 10, you would have to supply you daughter with 10 cookies. After retrieving them from the backpack, she will then eat them. All 10. It's lunch time in a couple of hours.
Well, you could try to get to the microprocessor that controls it and reprogram it to count to 10. I know that is what my sons would do. My older one would probably make sure that Linux was installed as well.
Well, we don't want to send kids the message that it's okay to eat more than three cookies at a time, do we? At that point, they should switch to carrot sticks or something healthy.
Seriously, memory is so cheap these days that it seems like it should be easy enough to have Cookie Monster count to 100.
If you did this, you would also want a subroutine to re-initialize the count after a certain amount of idle time (probably about 2-3 minutes).
Let's say your daughter is playing with the toy and then goes to bed. You didn't say how old she is, but if you've bought this toy for her, presumably she is just learning to count. If she pops her first cookie in Cookie Monster's mouth the next morning, and he says "72" instead of "1," she's going to be very confused. He really needs to start from "1" every time.
Alternatively, you could add a sensor in the backpack so that the count re-initializes every time you take the cookies back out. I think this would be ideal from a learning perspective, but would be more difficult to implement.
I can definitely see a new Gadget Freak column coming out of this...
When my younger boy was learning to talk he thought that "too much" was a fixed quantity. I would always encourage him to learn the motor skills required to dispense his own food, so in his high chair he would try his best to decanter mustard, ketchup or syrup, and if he managed to drown his food I would say, "Brad, you took too much". It seemed to make sense to him, "one, two, two much.....".
So when he'd ask for a cookie I would ask, "How many do you want?" He would think for a moment, and I imagine that he pictured his plate overflowing with cookies and would say, "too much".
That is $10 dollars per number. Pretty good return on investment on Hasbro's part.
I would consider taking it apart and seeing if you could increase the count number in a "hacking" sense. If It plays sounds and such, I am sure there is a small microcontroller onboard. Perhaps it can be modified to run new code.
I didn't think about the cookie issue! But then again, it would be quite easy for a parent to take more than a daily allotted ration of cookies away from their child while he or she is playing with this toy, don't you think? Maybe the cookie bit was the design flaw in the product! I guess it's a decision between making a fun toy and an educational toy.
Fifty-six-year-old Pasquale Russo has been doing metalwork for more than 30 years in a tiny southern Italy village. Many craftsmen like him brought with them fabrication skills when they came from the Old World to America.
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