The 6 Best Talking Globes

video play icon
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive

This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in December of 2016. 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 recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best talking globe on Amazon.

6. Shifu Orboot

5. VTech Fly and Learn

4. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr.

3. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn

2. Oregon Scientific Adventure AR

1. Replogle 12-Inch Intelliglobe II

Editor's Notes

April 26, 2019:

Talking globes prove that geography doesn't have to be boring, and for bringing this subject to life, we still think the Replogle 12-Inch Intelliglobe II and the Oregon Scientific Adventure AR are fine options. The Replogle is the more expensive choice, but it has over 20,000 pieces of information programmed in, so your kids (or even you) will get plenty of use from it for the money. For those who want smartphone integration, the Oregon Scientific model is the one to consider. Note that although its app supports eight languages, the globe itself works in two, English and Spanish. We also decided to keep another app-based option, the Shifu Orboot, despite a few issues with its functionality. Specifically, the app is a little tough for kids to operate on their own, so it may be best for parents who can provide constant supervision and assistance while the toy is in use.

Geography Isn’t Our Strong Suit

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Statistics and Editorial Log

0
Paid Placements
5
Editors
27
Hours
10,359
Users
15
Updates

Granular Revision Frequency


Melissa Harr
Last updated on April 30, 2019 by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.


Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For our full ranking methodology, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.