The 6 Best Talking Globes

Updated April 30, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. If you're looking for an interactive way to transform rote subject matter into something that will spark a little one's curiosity, imagination, and love for learning about the world around them, consider giving one of these smart globes a try. Our selection includes a variety of talking models designed to expose kids to the wonders of geography, history, animals, landmarks, and much more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best talking globe on Amazon.

6. VTech Fly and Learn

Although the VTech Fly and Learn lacks some of the details found on its larger, more comprehensive counterparts, the playful design and joystick controls still help to engage the minds of even the youngest armchair explorers in almost any home or classroom setting.
  • automatic shutoff function
  • integrated magnifying glass
  • it's very pricey
Brand VTech
Model 80-65200
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn

With the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn, it's never too early for junior to appreciate basic geography through the teaching of colors, greetings, and modes of transportation. Spinning the unit produces a variety of over 100 singalong songs and phrases to keep baby interested.
  • 3 progressive operation levels
  • develops hand-eye coordination
  • the paint chips easily
Brand Fisher-Price
Model DMC81
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Shifu Orboot

Inspire a curiosity for travel and discovery with the gift of the Shifu Orboot. Compatible with Apple, Android, and Kindle mobile devices, the included companion app engages both kids and adults with the world's monuments, inventions, and even the mysteries of weather.
  • flag stickers and passport included
  • decent option for home schooling
  • has a tendency to wobble
Brand Shifu
Model pending
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr.

The Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. leverages large, easy-to-push buttons, high-quality sound effects and music, and integrated lights to introduce your child to the wonders of nature and human cultures. The unit can run on either 4 C batteries or AC power.
  • volume is easy to adjust
  • quizzes for listening comprehension
  • 1-year warranty
Brand Educational Insights
Model 8898
Weight 6.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Oregon Scientific Adventure

Bring to life a little one's passion for geography and learning with the Oregon Scientific Adventure. The augmented reality app allows your children to take their own pictures with animals or landmarks and share them with friends and family on social media.
  • supports 8 different languages
  • programmed with over 4000 facts
  • includes two aa batteries
Brand Oregon Scientific
Model SG268R
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Replogle Intelliglobe II

Offering a combination of educational content and entertainment, the Replogle Intelliglobe II provides a thought-provoking myriad of touch-and-explore functions designed to cover a wide range of topics, including international landmarks, oceans, animals, and food.
  • ideal for ages 5 and up
  • comes with a world discovery book
  • built-in multiple choice challenge
Brand Replogle
Model 39870
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Geography Isn’t Our Strong Suit

Ask most of the children or adults in the United States to point out Tanzania on a map, and the odds are you’ll get a pretty funny answer. The sad truth is that many of those same Americans might have equal difficulty pointing out some of the states in their own country. We are, as a nation, deplorable at geography.

It doesn't have to be this way, however. Our problem with geography is mostly a problem of exposure. From an early age, we’re not required to spend much time with maps and globes, and even when we are, we’ve got 50 states to worry about on our own turf before we go figuring out where everything else is. Add to that an unshakable, almost cult-like sense of American exceptionalism, and the rest of the world map seems to fade away into obscurity.

Technology has advantages when it comes to teaching kids about the world around them, and its ability to reinforce geographical lessons is pretty good. I would argue that there’s something missing from the experience of spinning a digital globe or scrolling over a map on a tiny tablet screen, an ingredient that can make a world of difference to students learning about the Earth and its land masses.

It’s touch. What a globe offers that no computer software outside of some pretty complex virtual reality can offer, is the tactile sensation of taking the world for a spin. There’s a high probability that about half of the places I can identify on the world map I learned from playing an old game of dreams as a child. The idea was simple: spin the globe, close your eyes, and use the tip of your finger to stop the spinning sphere. When you opened your eyes, you would read the name of the city or the country on which your finger stopped, and that would be where you would live someday. It was a blast for the kids who got Tokyo or Paris, though I’m sure anyone who landed on Flint, MI or South Sudan is having a hard time right now.

What’s exciting about the globes on out list here is that they combine all the functionality of those analog models from my childhood with a litany of technological advancements, all centered on the ability for each of the units on our list to talk. With a talking globe, your kids can effortlessly combine fun and education, playing challenging and engaging games that don’t even require an adult to be present.

How To Choose The Right Talking Globe For Your Child

Choosing a talking globe from the options on our list will come down more to the particulars of your child than anything else. While many of the choices here are likely labeled for a certain age group, your knowledge of your child and his or her needs should guide you toward your decision first and foremost.

For example, if your kid is technically old enough for a more advanced talking globe that he or she could potentially use as an effective study guide, then one of the fancier globes on our list might be appropriate. But, if that same child, when asked which way is north, points up at the sky, they might not be ready for an advanced model quite yet.

The opposite is also true, that if your child doesn’t meet a certain age requirement, but they have displayed an accelerated aptitude for all things geographical, then you’ll likely want to strike while the iron is hot with the most advanced globe you can find. The benefit to this kind of purchase is that, if your choice turns out to be a little too complicated for them to utilize, they can still grow into it in a year or two.

For the most part, through, the ages recommended by the manufacturer will be just right for your little one. After that, you can consider whether your child will need anything additional to keep their attention while learning. If your kid has shown early signs of ADD, or just prefers flashing lights and screens to things more tangible, look for a model with an accompanying screen, light-up parts, or a tablet connection.

A Brief History Of Globes

Mapping the world is an ongoing process. For the majority of human history, we believed that the Earth was flat. Unfortunately, there are still those who cling to this belief, though their videos and articles are often so preposterous that it can be hard to tell which of their members are serious and which are joking. The argument between so-called Flat Earthers and those who believe in a spherical planet doesn’t go very far in the scientific community today, but it remains a source of entertainment for some.

The theory of a round Earth reaches back at least as far as the Greeks in the 4th century B.C.E., and perhaps to Pythagoras some 200 years earlier. Wherever it started, it brought with it a unique challenge for cartographers, particularly in rendering a sphere on a two-dimensional plane.

The earliest terrestrial globe of which we’re aware comes from Greece in the 3rd century B.C.E., and one must wonder whether this was an attempt to create a model of the planet or just a way to get around having to carve up a ball and fit it sensibly on a flat surface. Obviously, these globes would have lacked certain landmasses integral to our current understanding of the world, especially given our ignorance of the continent that would become North America.

As we discovered new lands, cartographers and artists brought them to life in increasingly ornate and complicated globes. This method continued into the space age, when photographs sent back from beyond our atmosphere gave us our first glimpse at the true shape, majesty, and apparent loneliness of our little planet. Of course, there are some Flat Earthers who will claim that these images were photoshopped (an ironic term for pictures taken — and supposedly doctored — some 50 years before Photoshop was invented), but we don't pay them much mind.


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Last updated on April 30, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.


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