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The Leapfrog ABC Bus features a touch sensitive pad and a plastic 'pen' for touching to the various shapes. It is designed for use with spiral-bound pads and cartridges, and comes with one pad included. The design is chunky and fun, and features a sturdy handle for carrying. However, my daughter always chose to drag hers around by the pen instead. Not a problem - we've had this for nearly three years and it's still going strong.
My mother in law bought this for my daughter when she was 18 months old, so initally she had no idea what to do with it! However, she loved to make sounds with the pen by touching various shapes, and enjoyed the songs and funny voices that she heard.
As she got older and understood more, she started to take more of an interest, and would regularly choose her leappad over other toys. I believe that it has helped her to understand letters, shapes and numbers, and has helped with her coordination too.
The only negative is that occasionally it doesn't recognise the cartridges when they are inserted, or seems to lose connection half way through a game. For this reason I think the quality could perhaps be better.
Father Christmas bought this toy for my son when he was 3, he absolutely loved it then and still does now at 4 1/2.
It's bright, colourful, fun, robust and easy to use.
It promotes and teaches concentration, pen holding skills, listening, letters, numbers, colours, big/small, memory, sounds and songs.
It can be used together with an adult, then once the child becomes more used to it it can easily be used on their own. My son now changes the games cartridges and books on his own with ease. it can keep him busy for nearly an hour.
The game it comes with is brilliant, and the games you can buy are also lovely. The best boys one we think is the Bob the Builder one.
The 2 games we have had little trouble with are Thomas and Cars. The trouble is that when you turn each page you press the green go button to activate that new page, but on these 2 games the green button is out of line, which means it's trial and error to hit the right spot (mummy can always find it though)
The actual bus is very hardy, been dropped lots and no problems. It often gets carried round by the pen, which is securely in place, again no problems and the batteries seem to last for ages.
Overall, a wonderful toy and an excellent introduction to electronic skills for young children.
The leap frog learning bus was bought for my daughter a year ago when she had just turned 3. I was quite surprised how easy the computer was to use and we both had a lot of fun trying it out.
The bus retails for around £25. If you want you can use it with or without the books. You simply attach a book to the bus and put the books cartridge into the slot at the side then on each individual page there is a green "go" sign which you press to activate each page. This is to tell the bus which page your child wants to use and which activity to do. Without the books your child can learn about the alphabet and the different letter sounds etc. With the book, your child can learn all sorts of things. My daughter has a "wiggles" book and cartridge which she loves. I like it that it also contains songs form the tv show that she can sing along to. It learns her maths, colours, shapes, songs, measurements etc and is a great way for children to learn.
You can buy additional cartridges for the bus in most toy shops. I like the way they have different ones for different ages. So the bus grows with your child. They start from age 3 up to about 7. The additional books cost around £10 depending on where you get them from. The pages are double sided and made from a plastic material that wont rip which I found very useful as most of my daughters normal books seem to have rips in them as she can often be too rough. There is a volume button which can be turned up if need be.
This is a great toy and good value for money.
This is the new type 'My First LeapPad' platform, which first came out in 2007. It is shaped like a school bus and available in red, pink or yellow colours, although, I must say, I've never seen the yellow one in the shops, only on eBay. Unlike the old-type First LeapPad, this toy can be used by itself, without any activity books, as it comes with some built-in activities. This review is about the LeapPad platform only, without the use of the LeapPad books. Used with a book, I would have given this product a higher rating, but the platform itself is not much to shout about.
This toy has a carry handle, which is always a good idea, but I have to mention that the wheels of the bus don't turn or serve any obvious purpose other than decoration, and what appears to be lights on the bus are just bits of plastic. A cheap gimmick, really, as I expected these to light up.
The bus has the alphabet on it and the built-in features include the wheels-on-the-bus song and two alphabet games: Letter Names and Letter Sounds. The system asks you to identify a letter name or a sound by touching the "magic" pen to the corresponding letter on the pad. If you get it right, you'll get praised (Excellent! Good Job! Terrific!) and if you get it wrong, you'll be given a clue (the letter Z is orange), which narrows down the right answer to just 4-5 possibilities.
I don't really like the fact that the voices are all American so the letter Z is called 'Zee' and the word 'letter' sounds something like 'ledder', etc. They should have adapted the voices for the British market, I think. Another issue I have is that the electronic voices sound rather distorted and it's sometimes difficult to make out the differences between certain letter sounds or names. I often find it difficult to get them right myself so how could I expect my three-year-old to do it?
Still, it's a good educational toy and my son enjoys playing with it, though he prefers using it with activity books, which are sold separately. This system is compatible with all the activity books previously released in the First LeapPad series, so there are no compatibility issues between the old and the new type LeapPads. It works exactly the same way as the older system once you have the books installed. The books click into place at the top and the cartridges slot into an opening on the left-hand side. Turn it on, and touch the green 'Go' circle with the pen on every new page to activate it.
There are quite a few First LeapPad books available on the market for about £10 each with new titles being released all the time. The latest is based on the new Pixar movie, Ratatouille. Be careful, though, as it is easy to confuse the regular LeapPad books with the First LeadPad series if you're not familiar with this product. The regular LeapPad books are bigger with the spine on the left rather than at the top and they won't fit the First LeapPad platform, so do double-check before buying. (The regular LeapPad books are designed for ages 4-8, while the First LeapPad series is aimed at pre-school children aged 3-5. The fact that these books are in two different formats, means that parents have to buy a new platform as the child gets older. So unnecessary!)
The full retail price for this product is £29.99. We bought ours on eBay a bit cheaper, and the current Amazon price (Feb 2008) is £17.39, which is just about how much it is worth. Although the built-in activities of this station are not great, I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from buying this product. My low rating is for the platform itself, but used with the right activity books, it can certainly be very educational and entertaining for pre-school children.
At first glance, I wondered if I was going to have more fun with this than my son. At the time we bought it for him, he has just turned 3. Now, he's 4 and still using it.
The LeapPad is a very clever toy which helps kids to learn at the same time as having fun. If you look closely at the picture , you can see it has the alphabet laid out in the middle of the pad. Over this, you place a LeapFrog booklet which is specifically designed to fit over the LeapPad. Then simply turn it on and follow the instructions. (The booklet hooks on to the two yellow clips just above the alphabet in the diagram).
Battery-operated, the instructions are vocal as opposed to pages and pages, and the voice guides your child through each page in turn, which they do by pressing the pen (at the end of the cord in the diagram) to the relevant points on the LeapPad.
It is a very simple yet effective way of getting your child to learn, interact, and have fun all at the same time. You can buy a large range of booklets to attach on the top, and each booklet will come with a cartridge which you plug into the side of the LeapPad, and it contains all the information needed to go through the various tasks.
It's a brilliant product. My son loves playing with the 'Cars' cartridge and booklet, and he has had it for over a year.
Currently, you can get a LeapPad from amazon.co.uk for £17.39. Obviously, prices will fluctuate, but expect to pay there or thereabouts for this. It is worth it. The extra booklets(with cartridge) depend on which one you get, but if you were to buy the 'Cars' one from the Early Learning Centre, itwould cost you £10, bearing in mind the actual LeapPad costs £25 from there.
In summary, a worthy item for your child to have. Well worth the money. Educational and fun at the same time.
The new complete way to prepare for the first day of primary school. Introducing the new My First LeapPad learning system shaped like a school bus. The My First LeapPad platform works with the entire library of My First LeapPad books that teach the pre-reading, pre-writing and other preschool skills to prepare children for the first day of school.