Product Type: LeapFrog Child Development
Newest Review: ... 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... more
Shhh...Don't tell them they're learning
Member Name: sandemp
Date: 25/01/05, updated on 27/01/05 (707 review reads)
Advantages: Educational fun, Suitable for a wide variety of ages, and abilities
Disadvantages: Price of books
* 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.
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