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For christmas this year my daughters recieved the leap pad and the leap pad plus writing, there is very little difference between the two, the only difference being that the plus writing one has an attachment to turn the stylus into a pencil that writes.
The writing unit works off 4 aa sized batteries which are not included, there is a screw to stop children being able to remove the batteries which is great as a lot of toys for this age dont have the screw any more and my youngest is a nightmare for removing the batteries out of toys.
Th exterior is a nice solid plastic in blue and green that wont damage or scratch easily which is what you want with young children, there is a button you need to press to be able to open the leap pad on the side, it is a large button ideal for small fingers.
Once open it reveals the area for the books to go, these just sit in they dont need to be cliped in like the baby version so is easy for a child to do on there own.
The on off button is the only button on the machine so isnt confusing, the cartridges clip easily into the side of the machine, they are a little stiff to remove at first but get easier with time
The voice tells you what book you have in when you turn it on and reminds you to always press the green go circle with the stylus each time you change page.
The stylus is attached with a piece of wire and is a god size and shape for little fingers, it had rubber bits at the end making it easier to grip and is an ideal way for young children to learn to hold a pencil
When you run the stylus over the words on the page it tells you the word helping to learn with reading, some of the words in the books are in bold, these if you press the stylus on them once tell you the word and if pressed streight after again the meaning of the word, ie, cottage, that means a small house.
As well as this the book also has pictures where if you touch them with the stylus the characters talk to you, there is a game mode on each page which asks you to find words begining with certain letters or a number of items teaching basic reading, alphabet and maths.
The volume controls are in the book which are up and down arrows with plus and minus signs on them.
These are a realy good way of teaching at the same time as having fun, my daughters love these and have had hours of fun with them, there are loads of books available with all different themes to them so they should never get board of learning with this.
The only thing i do dislike with this is that the books i was expecting to be similar to the baby one where they were rip proof and wipeable but they are not, they crease easily and are easy to rip.
I browsed all the best toy stores to find a great present for my little nephew who was them 3 years old. I wanted something that would be educational and at the same time fun. I came across this great leappad that seemed like a good learning toy. This was available in both pink and blue colors. I picked the blue one for my nephew. I went through the entire manual and it's features. I also used it a littel to get a hang fo it before I gifted it.
The touch pad has an in built pen to allow the motor skill and writing habit to be enhanced. The electronic story book reads stories and the pad comes with a catridge and a book. Additional books and cartridges can be bought later. My bephew had loads of fun with it and the funniest part was that his parents (my sister and her husband ) enyoyed it too!!! recommended for ages between 2 and 5 years. A great toy.
Ive always been a great fan of the leappad ranges they have some really great toys, but there not just toys they help them learn at the same time as them having one which i sometimes think is key in order for them to take things in better. Its for ages roughly between 3-5 years although i think we bought my daughters when she was around 2.5 and she still loved it although obviously didnt know quite what to do at the time. The books you can buy for it are great as well and a really reasonable price. We got ours in a pink olour and also have a little bag for it to be stored in. The pen is great for their fine motor skills and helps get them used to holding pens. It helps them with reading as they scroll through the pages and it electronically reads them stories but it also has little activities on it which make it that little bit more fun. Weve now moved onto the next stage in this one although i think its a little too old for her but we also had the little buso ne as her first one which was great.
My First Leap pad
Basically it's an interactive educational toy aimed at pre-school children aged 3-5. We started with the Leap-pad-Little-touch when the Boy was smaller and moved onto this one when he was 3.
The My First Leap Pad Learning System itself is mainly blue with a few other colours here and there, like the 'magic pen', speaker, and on off button. It's quite a compact unit with a handy carry handle to one side, it's lightweight and easy to transport so a good toy for traveling in car or taking to Granny's house and the like.
How much ?
We bought ours for just over £25 online, are available from many stores Argos, Toys 'r' Us etc and not hard to find but I would recommend shopping around online for the best deals. It comes with a book and cartridge to get you started - we got "Leap's Big Day".
It takes 4xAA Batteries and you will need to unscrew the back to get them in, is a bit fiddly getting the battery cover back on due to the curved shape of the unit but you get used to it.
There are lots of different books you can buy separately some featuring well known favorites like Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer, Disney Pixar Cars, and Spongebob Squarepants to name just a few that we have. There are also 'Girly' titles available featuring Disney Princesses and such.
Prices on the books vary from £5-£15 depending on where you shop and which book you're after, there's also books in packs of 3 available.
Definitely recommend having a look online for cheap deals and hard to find character books, I found our Spongebob Squarepants book on eBay at under £10 buy-it-now.
How it works...
Once your batteries are in you insert the plastic cartridge in the side and clip the book onto the unit. The cartridges have a picture and title to which makes it easy to for child to recognize which one goes with what book. Simply slot into the side picture-side up.
The books all have a plastic ring type bounding - a bit like a regular notebook has but much thicker - The books simply 'click' on and are easy to line up correctly as there is a book size/shape indent in the unit. It's child friendly, easy to use and well designed.
The on/off switch is a round red button on the front of the pad that also easy for child to do themselves, no fiddly switches.
Plus the 'magic pen' is easy to get in and out of its holder at the side. The pen itself is chunky and easy for little hands to master, it's attached to the leap pad with a plastic covered chunky orange wire but the pen moves around easy and freely enough...but can never get lost - good design.
All the books are double sided, one side being a story and the other more games, puzzles and activities to play. Once the Leap pad is on it will announce the book title and tell you what to do.
To get started you need to touch the green go circle with the pen, then away you go. The thing actually tells you what to press as you go along like touching buttons with pen to play different games also explains how to play and what the aim is. It is very child friendly and fantastic for independent play.
The story sides are also great as you press the touch the button it tells you whats happening on the page and if you touch a word with the pen it speaks the word, very good for helping little readers along. It gives practice at holding and using a pen, plus some of the books have tracing activities where you follow letters/shapes/numbers with the pen so some drawing and early writing practice while playing too. There are books featuring other languages as well as the usual counting, letters, reading, writing - there's so much to learn !
The volume control buttons are on the books and you adjust by touching with the pen, you'll find buttons with a plus and minus sign at the bottom of each page ( Sometimes I wish there was a separate volume switch as volume is quite loud turned up full !! ) It eve goes 'Beep' and then tells you it's batteries are running low and need replacing !!!
Of all the Learning toys we have bought or received as gifts this is the one that actually gets used and not left forgotten in a cupboard once batteries are dead. It is so easy to use and is actually fun to play. My boy loves his because its something he can work and do himself without much help from me ...though he's got so many books he sometimes needs a hand finding the right cartridge.
The range of books available for it are fantastic too, there's loads of titles to choose from and plenty of children's favorite characters to get their attention, the music and voices on the character books are same as the cartoons / films too which makes for fun play.
Boy will be 5 this year and has got alot from playing with his leap pad, I really think its helped him with learning quite a few things.
I think we may well stick with his Leap pad for another year - its lasting well with no problems even though it's been dropped a fair few times, my only suggestion is you invest in some rechargeable batteries because it's a toy that gets a lot of play-time.
Highly recommend it.
Thanks for reading
Can also be found on Ciao under the same name
(Some "My First Leap pad" book reviews coming soon...)_
~~~Why I am Doing this Review~~~
After my children owning two versions of this toy and playing with them for the past two and a half years, I decided it was time to sit down and write a review on this toy. With the time that has gone by, I can see how well they have held up and how long they held the interest of my two children. I have also had the opportunity to see how the young company that produced this toy matured, and the level of continued expansion in the range that they followed.
When they first came out, these were everywhere and heralded as one of the hottest toys in years. Fairly pricey at the original £49.95 apiece with only a sample book, and £12 apiece for the books, and yet more money for storage and carrying cases if you went that route, these toys had a lot of hype to live up to. These currently sell for about £25 however, and the books are often on BOGOF, so worth keeping an eye out for.
~~~So just what is this toy?~~~
Leap Pad is an educational toy aimed at helping children to read, and to use their reading skills to leap into other areas of learning and discovery. The books are split into levels. The first level for the Leap Pad is aimed at children 4-8, and focuses on phonics and reading practice. It has books that teach the phonetic sounds using engaging characters and child friendly storylines. These books are supported by readers featuring favourite characters such as Nemo and the Lion King.. Level 2 books are more advanced, with characters such as Scooby Doo providing stories that have longer words. There are also books for doing musical activities and to learn geography, about dinosaurs and so on.
How the toy works is that Mom or Dad place the AA batteries inside it (best get rechargeables!), and the child places a small but hardy cartridge into the slot at the side, and then places the spiral bound book into the Leap Pad reader which looks like a large lapdesk sort of affair with a recess for the open book. Turning it on, they use a pen that is attached to the reader, and press the green Go circle at the corner of the page. When the toy is turned on, it prompts t child to do this, so children quickly get the hang of this without old Mom and Dad interfering! Touching the GO circle gets the page narrated to the child,. There are also logos at the bottom of each page, which lead to a game the child can play on the page. The games are designed to not only enhance the enjoyment of the story, but to sharpen key skills such as letter and number recognition, following directions, logic, memory, and so on. These are so much fun that my children often play the games and ignore the story! If desired, the child can also read the story to themselves, and use the pen to point at a word they are unsure of to receive help from the narrator. There are also Easter eggs upon the pages; children can touch various things in the pictures, and surprise sounds will make themselves known as well as bits of dialogue directed towards the child.
The company also make a version of this called My First Leap Pad, which my younger child owns, and which is very similar, but much hardier and which is not as large, being designed for smaller hands. The books are also aimed at the younger set, focusing more on letter and number recognition, nursery rhymes, going to the shops, and other preschool type skills. The characters in the books are also aimed at the preschool market, with Thomas the Tank Engine and Dora the Explorer as well as Winnie the Pooh making an appearance.
For babies they make Little Leap, but I cannot comment as I have not had one, but admit to being tempted to get one next Christmas for our first grandchild, seeing how much fun our younger two are having with the ones they want. The youngest is ready to go up to the normal Leap Pad from the My First Leap Pad, and quite frankly, I can see we shall have to buy him one, as his sister likes to use hers at the same time, sitting in her chair with her earphones on. Having a look about, and seeing the latest generation of Leap Pads, we have hit upon the solution. We shall expand to the leap Pad Plus writing. This system is exactly like the leap pad save for one feature. It is more versatile, allowing the use of special workbooks that the child can use to write in. This means that the book can be used all the way up to age 12, and now includes practice books for maths and other subjects.
~~~So Just Who makes These?~~~
These are made by a company called Leap Frog. Leap Frog are an American company whose sole product range revolves around quality educational content delivered via technology that appeals to children. This means they use books integrated into electronic interactive readers (the Leap Pads), via gaming systems (The Fly, Leapster), interactive globes, and so on. They have won numerous awards from educators and parents groups for these toys. I should also like to note that while they are American, many of the books are in UK English if sold here. Exceptions being books such as the Lion King and Winnie the Pooh, which feature the voices of the characters as heard in the films.
~~~OK, we know you like these, but are the kids still playing?~~~
Yes, indeed! These come out of their packs at least once a week and we keep a set of rechargeable batteries ready to be inserted as they wear the batteries down. These have been a huge hit in the car especially the normal leap pad as you can use headphones with it. We made a 4 hour car trip once with just the leap pad and its books and headphones and a Viewmaster and a selection of reels and had peace all the way despite having a 4 year old and a two year old in the back seat. It was well worth the money, and every birthday and Christmas since we had requests for more books and cartridges. As I mentioned, my youngest is ready for the next level, and we plan to go to the fancier model. They have proved quite sturdy as well, having been dropped a few times onto a wooden floor.
~~~Where to Buy~~~
You can find the Leap Pad and its books at many toy and book stores. These include, but are not limited to, Woolworths, WH Smiths, Argos, Amazon.co.uk, and Littlewoods. The Leap Pad Plus Writing is currently selling for under £30 and the My First for about £25. Books with cartridges range from between £8-15 each, depending on title. I should note here that books for one type of leap pad, such as the My First, will not work with the other Leap Pad types.
This is a sturdy electronic toy that delivers what it promises. My children have enjoyed the games and the stories, and learned quite a bit from them. It also got my younger son more interested in sitting at books and having a go with them himself, whereas before he was a vroom the cars round the floor and jiggle on the bed while being read to sort of child. So I have to say these have been a resounding success in this household and worth every penny the grandparents and ourselves have spent on them as the result in their expanded knowledge and love of books is absolutely priceless.
With Christmas coming up its always a time of wondering what to get the grandchildren for their presents, but this year I am already ahead of the game. I will be buying another leapfrog leap pad from the early learning centre in town, at the cost of £28.99 as they are having a sale.
I bought one of these last year for my grandsons fourth birthday and was amazed at the rate his learning came on, so much so that he was put in a higher class at school as he was ahead of the other children. When I first saw the leap pad I wasnt sure hed be able to get the grasp of it, as a you have to sit and listen to the pad talking and then respond to it.
My grandson is a highly active child and hardly ever sat down for more than three minutes at a time, even when you read him a story hes be asking questions and demanding to look at the pictures in the book. So, I wondered if this new concept of a learning pad for kids would work on him.
I didnt have to worry because two weeks after his birthday, I went to visit him and there he was, sat alone in a chair with the leap pad on his knee, talking to it and using the special pen to point to the shapes, colours and words in the book. I was amazed, it was like looking at a different child.
My daughter said he loved it and even took it to bed at night to play with for a while before going to sleep.
He was recognising shapes, colours counting better and reading the words in the book.
If I had doubts before about the suitability or price then they had just disappeared as it was worth every penny I had paid.
The leap pad itself is a bright blue plastic pad which fits little flip top books into it, you get a chip with each book which slots into the side of the pad. The pointer pen is attached by a wire so it doesnt get lost. There are lots of choices of books that you can buy separately at around £12 after the initial learning book which came with the leap pad and called Leaps big day, I have bought Thomas the Tank Engine books which my grandson loves.
The books can be bought for different age groups, from 4-5 to 8-9 year old.
Using the leap pad is easy, fit the chip into the leap pad and switch it on. It will then speak to the child and tell them they have to press the green go when they turn the page.
When they touch things on the page with the pen it says the shape, colour and sometimes makes noises, or asks them if they want to play a game, it also sings songs to them.
The memory on here is quite big and there is lots of new and exciting information for a child to discover.
When I first bought it and put in the batteries, I thought Id test it out and found it fascinating, thinking to myself that they never had toys like this when I was little. I was born to soon. My daughter even told me off as I was playing with it too much.
The leap pad is great, if the child leaves it without playing with it for a few minutes then it will turn itself off and say goodbye.
For value for money this is an excellent present for a childs Christmas gift. I have never heard a bad report about it yet and have recommended it to friends who have bought it for their children and been impressed with how interactive it has been and how much their child has played and learned with it.
I am now going out to buy my granddaughter a nice pink one for her present as I know shell have hours of fun and games on it too.
Leapfrog are an expanding company who specialise in children's learning toys from the ages of 3 months where we see the Baby Counting Pal to around the age of 8 for the Leappad Books and the cartridges for the Leapster. They seem to have an excellent idea of what makes learning fun for children between these ages and there are many more toys available from this company than a few years ago. They have a promise which reads:-
The Leapfrog promise is to create fresh, engaging, effective learning experiences that inspire and delight kids - over and over again.
It goes on to read:-
The Leapfrog way is a simple equation:
Rigorous, proven learning methodologies plus
Compelling, multi-layered content plus
Intuitive and invisible technology equals
LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY!
This I feel sums up the products I have encountered perfectly.
My son loves puzzles and books so we thought that the Leappad would be the ideal gift for him on his 3rd birthday and how right we were. He had already seen the system in Woolworths and everytime we were in the shop he had us stopping to try it out so we guessed we were onto a winner.
I don't really like calling this product a toy as although it does have many hours of play, it is more of a complete learning system. It has been the BATR's (British Association of Toy Retailers) Pre-School Toy of the Year in 2002, 2003 and 2004 so has an excellent record. It is now sold in 25 countries and comes in 5 languages. It comes in blue or pink as seen in the pictures below and opens up like a book. Inside there is a place to set your book and an electronic pen which clicks in it's own little storage space when not in use. This system uses 4 AA batteries and if you use Duracell or an equivelent they will last a lot longer than what you would think. When the batteries are running low then the voice will even let you know. My son comes running to us when this happens. There is an on/off switch on the top right of the inside and the cartridge slots in at the right hand side of the unit. The system also has an energy saving function and switches itself off with a 'goodbye' if nothing is pressed for a time. This again is excellent as many children run off and forget to switch toys off so it saves your batteries' life. The unit itself is strong and hard wearing.
The initial cost of the Leappad has come down in price in recent years and we picked one up for £20 in Tesco of all places along with a couple of the up to age 5 books on sale which was a good start. In less than 6 months we can already see the difference it has made to his counting and problem solving abilities including colours and shapes as well as good stories and in learning to memorize the books he is already reading along to the words as he moves the pen over the words.
There are several different age structures up to the age of 8 so we think it is a good longterm buy as long as you upgrade the books to suit development. These usually cost around £12 but if you keep your eye open and you don't mind buying now for future years you can get them in Woolworths or Argos sales for around £5 or £6 each. The Leapfrog website www.leapfrogshop.co.uk is also a good source and they also have sales from time to time. The postage costs for this are very low too and you can sign up for information to be sent when new books or other Leapfrog products become available.
There are 2 main types of books available which come with a plug in cartridge, stories which range from Thomas the Tank Engine to the more up to date disney films such as Finding Nemo and The Incredibles and the Leappad learning books which feature a character called Leap although my son calls him Kandoo as he looks remarkably like the little frog on the advert. These set of books concentrate on phonics and maths learning and it is remarkable how quickly you can see a difference with the normal day to day learning situations such as recognising numbers while out shopping and making comments about items which are the same colour or shape.
As your child gets older they can move on to books which deal with languages, geography and music. Its great fun for us adults as well - my bloke played with it loads when we got it.
I think the best part of it though is not the stories themselves but the small games and puzzles which can be found on each page and touching different objects with the attached pen can produce different sounds or music so your child is never sure what to expect. From finding certain objects to matching words that sound alike its never boring and again the different level books make it easy for your child to progress at a pace of his or her own without being pressured as some learning systems can do.
My son's favourite book at the moment is the Lion King which has lots of games such as finding all the giraffes and playing music in the stars. He loves the familiar voices from the film and repeats everything that the characters say when touched.
There is also a couple of books available which come with a microphone cartridge so your child can record his voice with some of the activities and encourage him to sound out words or phrases as he goes through the books. For the 2 books and the microphone it costs £25 from the Leapfrog site. Another extra you can buy is headphones so that your child can block out other background noise to concentrate on the activities. I would advise this for slightly older children though as I feel that younger children get more out of this product if there is interaction from an adult.
I would thoroughly recommend this system to anyone with a child coming up for 3 or 4 and if storage is a problem you can also buy a storage system which sells for around £15 to keep the leappad safe as well as holding up to 14 books and cartridges. There is also a backpack which sells for around £10 and holds up to 4 books and cartridges as well as the Leappad too. We bought the storage system and it is great for keeping everything tidy and safe and I would recommend either of these as the books can get damaged easily as they are on ring binder clips for easy turning of pages. This of course also means that an over enthusiastic child could tear them which is another good reason for adult help with younger children.
All in all great fun and a great way to Leap Into Learning.
Well as it will soon be Xmas, here's an ideal present for your little one!
I got mine for my daughters 1st birthday! bit extreme I know but once i'd seen it on the tv and looked at the Leapfog website (www.leapfrog.com) I just had to have it. Acacia is now just turning 3 and has just started using it.
Each book has an interactive story on one side of the book which you can point the pen at each of the words which the computer repeats. On the other side you have the activity side where you can play counting games, shapes, music etc.
The leappad teaches many things, learning to recognise words, numbers, shapes, colours etc.
Acacia loves her Leappad as she has fun playing with it, and I love it as she is learning a great deal from it at the same time.
You can buy many of the books from ToyRus, Argos, Woolworths and probably a lot more places. There are lots of differnt ones available like Thomas The Tank Engine, Disney Princess and many more.
For those who are interested this is how it works. Firstly with the books you are given a cartridge which holds all the data. This just slots in the side of the LeapPad. Then you attach the book to the top on whichever side you want it (either the story side or the activity side). Then you are ready to GO. Switch the unit on, turn the page, then with the special pen which it attached to the LeapPad, you just press on the green GO sign at the top of the page. Then the child just presses on whatever they like. on each page there are educational games to play.
Leapfrog have now brought out a pink leapPad, which wasn't available when I brought Acacia's. And they also have cases that you can buy so that your LeapPad is portable.
In summary I would definatly recommended for all toddlers, its a great way to start to learn basic reading and maths skills etc.
My son got one of these for xmas and it is such a good educational toy, and he's learning without realising it, which is always a bonus.
The aim of this, is to encourage pre-school age children with fun colourful stories and activities, which introduce essential skills such as pre-reading and pre-maths.
One book comes supplied with the system. The books are just under A5 size, cardboard covered in plastic, and are spiral bound at the top, which you clip into the system. The book becomes 'active' when you run the pen (attached to the system) over the green GO button in the book. On one side of the book is a story, and you can run the pen over the words and they will be read out to you, or if you touch the pictures, they will say what the picture is off. There are also other various things you can do, such as noises the things make, a 'find the....' exercise. Then, once you finish the story, flip the book over, and on the other side are activities to do, such as numbers/colours.
The system itself comes in either blue or pink, so make sure you pick the appropriate colour for your little boy or girl! They sell them in all major toystores, and average £20 - £25. There is a largish range of books available, and will cost approx £10. In addition to these, there is also a backpack available to store the system and all your books in, this also costs approx £10.
The only downside of this toy that i have found so far, is that is seems pretty delicate (the books and the pen, that is) so personally i'm always with my son when he's playing with his cos i can't afford to buy a new one if he breaks it! The recommended ages for this system is 3-5yrs. It requires 4 AA batteries. There is also a volume control on the system.
* Before I start, the picture above is not the LeapPad, but the My First LeapPad *
Having a son, Michael, with learning difficulties presents many problems, not least deciding what to get them for Christmas presents. Age appropriate toys are too difficult, while most that are developmentally appropriate are babyish. This year all my son's relatives gave up and ended up putting money in his cards, so he had a tidy sum to spend in the new year sales.
While hunting for that elusive, suitable toy my husband happened upon a Spiderman edition LeapPad in Asdas for the very reasonable price of £20, including not one but two books, and so he had to get one.
~~~The LeapPad Range~~~
There are a number of systems in the LeapPad range including :
LeapPad Learning System - available in blue/green and pink
Spiderman LeapPad Bundle - red and blue with a Spiderman logo and extra Spiderman LeapPad book.
LeapPad Plus Writing - similar to the basic LeapPad but allows your child to practice writing as well.
My younger daughter has had the learning system for three years now, and Michael got the Spiderman version this week.
~~~What you get for your money~~~
Before buying your LeapPad Learning system, you may be wondering what you get for your money. Well with the basic system, you get the LeapPad, and one book with a cartridge to get you started.
The Spiderman version however, contains the Spiderman LeapPad, a starter book and cartridge, and a bonus Spiderman Book and cartridge and therefore works out at much better value.
Note you do not get any batteries in the pack, so you will need four AA batteries for it to work.
~~~So what's a LeapPad~~~
Basically a LeapPad is an interactive learning toy for your child. Consisting of a hard plastic shell, a little larger than A4 size, with an attached pen that allows the child to point to various parts of the page in the LeapPad books to bring them to life.
The LeapPad books are approximately A3 size, and spiral bound. They are also quite pricey, although if you shop round you maybe able to find them at half price. The come in three age levels, Upto 5 years old, 4-6 years old and 6-8 years old, and consist of a variety of purely educational and Disney based themes.
~~~What does it do?~~~
The LeapPad learning system is a wonderful tool, for helping your child to discover books, whether they can read, or indeed talk, or not. Each book comes supplied with a cartridge that fits into the side of the LeapPad and when you switch on, the story becomes interactive. The LeapPad can read the story to your child, either one word at a time or all at once. And when the child uses the pen on particular parts of the page, sometimes something magical can happen.
~~~Who is it aimed at??~~~
The box states that the LeapPad is suitable for children aged 4-8 years. But only take this as a guide, my daughter got one for her third birthday and was quickly able to use it independently. However, Michael has only just got one aged 6.5, and due to his learning difficulties still requires lots of support.
I would say it is suitable, if your child is able to hold a pen and make marks (however light) with it, as they will soon see the cause and effect.
~~~What will my child learn?~~~
Well, what your child will learn, depends greatly on the child. My average child takes great pleasure from reading the books, and then checking if she was right. She doesn't realise she's learning anything, and this is why it's so successful for her. Sit her down with a standard book and she'll say she doesn't know any of the words, but she can read her LeapPad books. She's constantly amazing me with things that she's discovered from the books, whether it be maths skills she's picked up, or just songs.
Michael on the other hand, is not yet ready to read, but the question is, Is he learning or just having fun? Well I'd say both, but don't tell him that. At the moment he's just getting the hang of moving the pen from left to right, which is a very important pre-reading skill.
~~~Does it eat batteries?~~~
No, not really. A new set of AA batteries will last approximately one week of extended use. By extended I mean 4-5 hours a day, so you get about 20 hours use from one set, which isn't too bad really.
~~~Will it last?~~~
The main section of the LeapPad is very durable, my daughter's is nearly three years old and still going strong. But the string connecting the pen to the LeapPad is not nearly as durable, and broke after about a year. This was due in part to misuse, but tell me what four year does not abuse their toys to some extent. The redeeming point here, is that the pen is only attached by string, not wire, and as long as we keep it safe she can still use it.
The books, however, are a different matter. They are extremely flimsy, and tend to tear along the spiral, which is not good as they are so expensive.
~~~How much does it cost?~~~
The LeapPad itself varies in price between shops, but seems to be readily available for under £25 in both colours.
ToysRus are selling the Spiderman Bundle for £39.99, but Asda has it on sale for £20 (the Spiderman book on its own costs £12) which is excellent value.
The books generally retail at £12 each, but by shopping around you can often buy them half price, for example at the time of writing Woolworth's have a selection including Spongebob Squarepants, and Bear in the Big Blue House for £6 each.
~~~Would I recommend it?~~~
Most definitely. I wouldn't have bought the second one for Michael if I hadn't thought they were a great toy. They are suitable not only for a large age range, but also for a large developmental range. Michael has spent the last hour playing with his and I can honestly say that it is his favourite toy of the moment.
I would say, that if you live near an Asda's and they are selling them for the £20 go and buy one for your child today.
Its that time of year again where you are scratching your head as to what you are going to get your little one for Christmas, we was in this predicament last year. All you see on TV day in day out at the moment is ads ads and more ads of toys and all you get is I want that in the whiny little voice, you know the one I mean when they say can I have this.
We decided that we wanted to get something fun but educational, and it was only looking through our Littlewoods catalogue, we came across this and thought it would be a good idea. My only concern at the time, it was a bit pricey and that being Ben was only four at the time would this be a good choice??
We managed to find some more information on the leapfrog website (see below for address) as to what this toy was about. The purpose of the toy is to teach your child a variety of skills form Motor skills to logical thinking and this is all done without realising as the activities are fun. It also encourages your child to learn at their own pace. I believe when they are that age it learning should be fun and it encourages good interaction and quality time, especially if you work and dont get to see them that often. We also thought this would be a good as Ben was starting in the reception class after the Christmas holidays.
On the Website itself, it tells you that there are eight core skills that they believe a child should learn:
3) Music and Creativity
4) Reading and Language
6) Social development
7) Motor Skills
8) Social Studies
Now I know that sounds a bit harsh for a child so young but its all done in the games to make it fun, and this played a big part in our decision. As most of the time when your child is at nursery or school, because there are so many kids in a class they dont get the one to one they need at that age.
We decided to go for it and we felt that not only was it a good idea but in turn was a good investment because as your child grows and learns you can buy the relevant books to suite your childs learning needs.
We purchased ours through littlewoods and at the time it was £39.99, but you can buy it a lot cheaper now for around £25-£30. I believe you can get this from places like Argos and toys R Us.
Now being the big kid that I am, when it arrived I just had to test it to see what the fuss was about, and to make sure it was working!!! And I was pleasantly surprised. It takes four AA batteries (it doesnt come with them) which you just pop in underneath. Its easy to use all you do is just pop in the cartridge (into the side) put in the book and turn it on. The cartridge hold all the information that is in the book, its like a little memory card.
The book is a flip book so there are stories on one side of the page and if you flip the book over there are other activities on the other side.
Firstly you touch the word Go which is in a green circle and it will register what is on that particular page. If youre on the side which has the stories on it then all you have to is click on the little speech bubble and it will read the story to your little one or you can skim over the individual words and it will read them so the child can learn to read that word. The picture has many hidden sounds and phrases so for example: if you skim the pen over a picture of Leap, he will say something to you or if you put the pen on a star that will make a noise.
As I said before, this is a flip book so on the other side there are lots of games, counting, a paper piano and a game where your child can learn the names of all the body parts. There is also a music section, so that your child will learn the names of different instruments, and this is all fun. At the bottom of the page, there are a few symbols for volume control and to play additional games.
The great thing about this toy is it keeps them amused for hours and as I said before it gives you the chance to spend quality time with them, my self and my partner both work long hours, so this is the ideal toy for us.
I believe with the help of this toy, Ben has really come on a bundle in his reading and his attention span has grown instead of being that of a fly!! He wants to sit and play with this with you and also read his books from school which to me is great.
You can get a wide range of the books for the Leappad system and I picked most of them up from Woolworths and they had quite a good selection.
Just to give you an idea of the books you can get for this here is a little list for you to browse.
Thomas the Tank Engine (Youre a really useful engine)
Leaps friend A-Z
Bear in the Big blue House
Tad Goes Shopping
Cat in The Hat
There are loads more to choose from and they are not a bad price either, which can range from £8.99 to £10
Leapfrog also offers a wide range of toys apart from this from an imagination desk to a learning ball.
Oh before I forget the website address is ..www.leapfrog.com
Now its back to picking out this years toys ..Help me!!!!!
Thanks for reading!!!
After our daughter received a Leap Pad learning system for her birthday, we were quite impressed with how she managed to work it and her little brother started showing a lot of interest. This caused a lot of problems as we do want to keep Eilidh's leap pad good so that Murray can use it when he is older and so that Eilidh can use it as she grows. My friend happened to mention that she had an unused one My First Leap Pad system as her daughter had received it as a present but was too old for it. So we borrowed it.
The My First Leap Pad is slightly bigger than A5 size. It sits sideyways for you to use. You get a free book which you use with it. There is a pen on it which is used with the leap pad. The pen is attached by a small cord. I would advise that it is better to supervise a child and try not to let them break the cord. This way you can keep it altogether as the pen is needed to use the pad and without it the pad is useless. The little books fit into 2 sort of pegs which hold the book in while you flip it over and work with it. On the bottom right is an easy push button which a little one can press with no problems. The pad overall is simple and easy to use. Just looking at it makes you realise how easy it will be to use. On the right hand side on the side is the cartridge holder. You get a book with the leap pad which works without a cartridge but every other book which is bought needs a cartridge to allow the pad to know which book it is working with and give out the correct information etc to the child. It is a good idea to keep the books and cartridges together to make sure that you don't loose them or have a spare book or cartridge lying about.
The leap pad takes 4AA batteries. I've found so far that the batteries last a fairly reasonable time. If the leap pad isn't used for a certain period of time (not sure how long as I have never timed it), the pad says goodbye and switches off hence saving you batteries if your little one forgets to switch it off.
The recommended age for this is 3+. Murray is 22 months and with supervised help enjoys having time on the Leap Pad. Having watched his big sister he has a basic knowledge of how to use the pad. I find it nice to sit down and spend time with him doing it. This way I am building on his vocabulary and helping him learn new words. Sometimes he gets annoyed when you turn a page and have to press the pen on the green circle to let the pad know you have turned over the pages. I find that Murray does sometimes get over excited about the pen and bangs it on the pad quite hard making a loud noise. He has however started to learn through continuity that when we turn the page, we have to press the green button and that is helping him recall things and using his memory.
Some people may say that 22 months is far too young for this but I believe with the correct supervision and adult interaction this can work well for many children. The books vary in what they provide, but the introduce pre-reading, where children are starting to learn basics of reading such as looking at a picture and being able to talk about what is happening in the picture. Pre-maths is done through counting, shapes and colours. They will also be improving their fine motor skills by using the pen and their hand/eye co-ordination through looking at the pictures, and then taking the pen to the correct object or picture. They will also start to use their listening skills at being able to follow simple instructions such as "find the purple square."
This leap pad will set you back approximately £25 from places like Early Learning Centre or Toys R Us. Additional books are slightly cheaper than the main leap pad books at £10. Many places sell these and sometimes if you shop around you may often find a buy one get on free offer. My friend doesn't need this back yet, but when she does, I still don't know if I could justify £25 for a small leap pad which children will out grow fairly quickly as the next leap pad starts at age 4. I would possibly look for a second hand one in this case. I do like the concept and believe that you could get 2 years out of this before a child outgrew it and needed the big one. If you can borrow one first, I would as my sister in law spent a fortune buying the pad and books only for my nephew never to look at it. So it is worth trying it out first.
My young son developed an obsession with letters and numbers long before he could speak (at least with any degree of sense). Now, at the grand old age of two, his party piece is to count incessantly until numbness sets in all round and his Tweenies display has been torn down and replaced by a huge alphabet poster. So, when we saw the My First LeapPad while Christmas shopping we knew it would be a big hit. Manufactured by Leap Frog it is a younger version of the more familiar LeapPad. The packaging stated it was intended for ages 3 to 5 and at the time our son was two and a half, but having already learnt his alphabet and numbers up to a hundred thanks to a patient mum and toys like Alfie bear, it looked like there would be nothing to baffle our little Einstein. I think I can best describe My First LeapPad as an interactive, talking book. The actual pad is made of a light but sturdy blue plastic and features a speaker and a ?magic? pen on a length of wire. The makers have obviously met many destructive children such as my son as the wire (my bet as the first part to break) has a soft plastic coating that somehow withstands all manner of abuse, such as chewing and being used as a dog-lead to drag the book about the house. The book, or flipbook as they are called, easily clips onto the base using the durable plastic spiral spine and is very easy for a toddler to do. Each book comes with a small cartridge which slots into the side of the base ? very much like a smaller version of the old Atari games that wrecked our portable TVs back in the 80s. Clip on the book, slap in the cartridge, switch on and the fun begins. The English accented voice politely instructs you to touch the green ?GO? button on each page as you go. If this isn?t done, the current page is not activated and you are disturbed
by cries of ?My LeapPad doesn?t work?! The ?touching? is done with the magic pen, which in itself will develop pen-holding skills if your child doesn?t already have them. The magic pen is then used for a variety of activities: ? touch a word and it is read out loud; ? run it along a sentence and it is read out loud; ? identify objects on the page; ? identify colours, shapes, animals etc; ? play games, usually one or two per page. Everything on the page has an element of fun to it and is fantastic at developing language and numeracy skills. The best part is that it is completely guilt free as our son has voluntarily spent at least half an hour on it every day since Christmas! Each ?flipbook? is effectively two books in one. Clip it on one way and you have a story; the other way gives you an activity book. Either way, each page is crammed with activities and fun. ?My First LeapPad? comes with a book called Leap?s Big Day. Additional books are available ? further Leap adventures, Winnie-the-Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. Each book has an information section for parents, telling us what skills the book develops. Such information doesn?t really interest me though ? I just want my son to enjoy the book no matter what it encourages. Two features that my wife and I LOVE are the volume control (a + and a ? on each page) and an automatic cut-off. Far too many noisy toys have one, louder than necessary volume and if left unattended will carry on repeating the last thing it said or did. Another nice albeit small feature is the carry handle, which allows our young man about town to carry round his ?work? like Daddy with his laptop! I would highly recommend the book called ?I Know My abc?. Our son learnt his alphabet in the ay, bee, see style. Unfortunately c
hildren need to learn the phonics in order to build up words, which we hadn?t foreseen. Just before Christmas we started to tell him that letters have sounds. We had two or three letters done within a week, but with ?I Know My abc? he had the whole lot mastered within a couple of days! Each letter is accompanied by a catchy tune with the words ?A sounds like a, A sounds like a, Every letter makes a sounds, A sounds like a? etc. Fantastic ? I?m now wander round the supermarket singing the song while nervous mothers clutch their offspring. My First LeapPad costs between £25-£30 (ours cost £27.50 from Toys ?R? Us) and each additional book costs about £8-£9 ? quite dear, but each gives countless hours of enjoyment. It?s quite thirsty when it comes to batteries, too. The base needs 4 AA batteries and had to be replaced after a month. I?ve outlined many of the positive features of My First LeapPad. There are a couple of niggling negatives, mind you. We think, as do a few of our friends, that the age ranges are slightly misleading. If your child is inquisitive and loves learning then they would probably really enjoy this well before turning three. The next step up (full fat LeapPad) is recommended for age 4+, but with our son already learning to put sounds together to form words, we will be picking it up for his third birthday. As Leap Frog themselves say, every child is different. I also recommend a safe place to keep the cartridges for the books ? they are small enough to get into all sorts of couch nooks and down-side-of-bed crannies. Overall, a fantastic, fun and extremely well made educational toy, which I rate at 9 frogs out of 10. B sounds like b, B sounds like b?.