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I have already reviewed Dora The Explorer game for this Leapster system, and am more and more impressed with the games on offer. Because Little Miss is a tad obsessed with the Disney princesses, this was a must have, and when we bought one of the games, we got another half price, so it was a bit of a bargain!
This being the second game we had bought, I was not expecting something big, and was in fact aware that it would be about 6cm long and half that in height. Once again, the game has a label with the title and a picture of the Disney princesses on it, so even if children are unable to read, and have a big collection of games, they will be able to find the specific game they are looking for.
There are full instructions in the box, which gives details of how to play each game, as well as information of what is actually been taught, and why these specific skills are important.
At the back of the instruction booklet is a table with reading, maths, science and other topics shown. These are then broken down further into specific skills, eg identify antonyms, letter sequencing, and it shows whether each game concentrates on this specific skill. This makes it very easy if you do actually want to concentrate on a particular concept, because you could suggest that game to help your child.
There are also suggestions of activities to try at home to reinforce learning through the senses, literacy, numeracy and music and movement skills. These are actually quite handy because all of the suggested activities make use of things you would have in the house eg charades with opposite words, playing matching games with boxes and plastic containers, statues. Sometimes, games such as these make suggestions which require you to go out and buy things but this is all practical and inexpensive.
**WHO IS IT FOR?**
This game is suitable for children from about 4-7, but if your child likes the princesses, then they may play with it for longer; the songs are especially addictive!
**WHAT IS THIS?**
The Enchanted learning game promises to teach more than 45 skills, including numbers and counting, letters, phonics, early reading and maths. Impressive? I thought so especially as I knew Little Miss would play on the thing just because it features the princesses.
The reading and maths games all have 3 levels, which get more complex in both the content and the speed at which a response is required.
As with all of the games, there is a tutorial facility, which allows players to get hints and tips to complete a specific activity. So far, we have not had to use this function, since all of the instructions are pictoral or verbal, and repeated often, so there appears to be no need for extra help.
Once again, I am not going to go through every game because these are explained in the manual. There are 6 games:
All Gussied Up. Yes, a very strange title, until I realsied that it was to do with Gus, the mouse friend. In this game, the mice make a dress for Cinderella, and as they do so,m children learn about number, shape and letter recognition, letter and number order, logical reasoning and pattern.
Dance Magic. Little lady likes this because its time for the ball and she gets to direct Cinderella through the rooms using her stylus. The directions follow letter, shape and number formation so this is really helping with fine motor control and eye to hand co ordination
Cinderella sing a song or play a game. I like the singing along to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo. The words come onto the screen, and the game aspect is because the screen can be touched at any time and there are responses from the animals and characters on the screen. Great for memory and reading because children can follow the words as they sing
Swim For It. This is a game with Ariel, where she has to collect a specified number of objects from the ocean bed, and because its on three levels, the correct level of difficulty can be chosen. The levels go from finding a given number of objects, up to subtraction equations, even allowing children to build their own equations.
Clam Madness helps with number, letter and shape recognition and associations. This is the most tricky game to get to grips with. The clams open and close and children have to touch as many objects with a specified attribute as they can in a given time. Once they know what is expected though, children easily play this and really do try to collect as many pearsl as they can
The Little mermaid Sing a Song or play a game. This is the same as the Cinderella but with the Little mermaid singing.
Having a princess mad Little Lady in the house, meant that this was going to be a winner. The activities are varied enough to ensure that she doesnt tire of the game within 10 minutes and simple enough for her to play without being frustrated by failure.
As with the other games, it takes no special installation; merely place it in the top of the leapster, and off your go. The game remembers who you are and you can invite guests to play, although it is not competitive and does not keep scores or have winners and losers. I think the writing in of the name is to give a sense of importance and value, which is a good thing.
The suggestions of things to try at home are relevant and require no special equipment and the explanations about why specific concepts are important are easy to understand.
I continue to be impressed with these games and believe them to be great value. They appeal to children because they are characters children are familiar with, whilst at the same time, teaching them key concepts in a fun way.
Lots of information on the available products.
**PRICE AND AVAILABILITY**
The game costs £24.99 from Toys R Us, and sometimes there are promotional offers on the games- buy one get second half price, which is what we went for. Its worth checking out e bay and amazon but watch out for postage costs, which can make it more expensive than buying it on the hight street.
**OTHER GAMES AND ACCESSORIES**
As expected, there are lots of things you can buy to add to your Leapster collection. The Leapster Game system is around £60. Other games include Madagascar, Batman, Letters on the Loose, Bratz, Finding Nemo. In fact, there is a game for most tastes!
Thanks for reading.