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My 3 year old neice has her own little playroom in my house so that when she comes to visit or sleep over she will be happy. Being a reception teacher, I do sway towards the educational toys as I know what will be expected of her when she starts school. She was more interested in playing on my laptop when visiting than playing with her toys so I decided to get her one of her own... A Leapfrog one cammed My Own Leaptop!
The Leaptop looks like a mini laptop so it allows my neice to feel grown up. It has a green plastic cover, although it's also available in blue and pink, and there is a paw print on the top. The middle is white plastic and the bottom is made of green plastic. There is a plastic orange switch which has been designed to look like a real mouse and you move it up and down to change the features from letters to music to animal sounds.
When you open the laptop, it is really bright and colourful. It has a keyboard with all the letters written in white on blue buttons. The letters are in lower case which is brilliant as capital letters would confuse her at this stage. There is an orange on/off button which also makes the volume increase in two stages. There are three bright buttons along the top. There is an email one with an envelope, a muscial note and an @ sign. The actual screen of the laptop has a really small screen which is a bit of a disappointment when you consider the size of the lid. It has the size symbols around the screem and a leaping dog. When you choose a button a bit of music plays and a voice tells you what to do.
A voice introduces this as the alphabet button. When you press on the letter, it tells you both the phonic and the letter name, as well as something that starts with that letter. A picture of that object appears on the screen. While I am really pleased that the phonic name is used, there is more emphasis on the letter name which could be confusing for the child. It is phonics that are taught when children start school so the letter name isn't important as this stage.
The music buttom changes the keyboard into musical buttons. The bottom line plays piano sounds, the middle line is drumming sounds and the top line is random sounds. My neice really enjoys pushing these buttons over and over again and she likes the pictures which come up with the matching buttons. The pictutes are a bit grainy and in black and white however.
The animal button changes the keys into questions about animals. You have to then press the paw button to find the answer. The questions are a bit silly like, "who lives in a shell?" The answer button says it's a turtle but my neice was a bit disheartened as she had said a snail which was also correct. The questions are a bit vague and although she likes listening to the questions, it's not her favourite feature.
This is probably my neice's favourite button. If you push it, it plays some really groovy music which changes songs each time that you push the button. She throwing out some very funny and random dance moves to this button!
This is a bit of a silly feature too. The computer tells you that you have email and then it reads you an email from Scout. Even though he says read with me, the words are written in capitals and move to quickly to read. Once it's finished, it just tells you to play some music. This feature is a bit lost of my neice but maybe an older change would appreciate it more.
This tell you Scout latest blog entry. Although my neice doesn't know what a blog is, this feature is quite cute in that it tells you that Scout has been playing with his red ball with accompanying features and then asks you a question so my neice does start to talk to the laptop at this point.
The product will cost you around £20 and it can be bought from large supermarkets and stores such as Argos. It is also available from a range of online websites. It works on batteries so you will need to buy those too. You need to use a screwdriver in order to change the batteries which is annoying.
My neice does like to play with this laptop, usually in short burst and she enjoys the musical element the best. The volume is plenty loud enough and she has learnt a bit from the Leaptop but some of the features confuse and frustrate her. The pictures are black and white, and a bit grainy, and while this would have impressed me when I was little, the youngsters of today are used to a little more. She has played with it off and on for a few weeks now so it doesn't lose it's appeal and while this toy doesn't blow her mind or mine, it does stop her from playing on my laptop which chocolatey fingers so that, in my opinion, makes this worth while.
For my daughter's birthday one present I was determined to get her was her own laptop or at least a toddlers version! My daughter loves to sit and play on my laptop when I am not looking and in order to save the sticky prints and several of the keys becoming lost (and then found again!) I decided she needed one of her own where she could happily play and bash the keys at her hearts content! Whilst browsing in Toys R Us I spotted the Leapfrog My Own Leaptop.
Leapfrog is a leading brand in child development and I have bought several other Leapfrog toys for my daughter and have generally been incredibly happy with the fact that they have kept my daughter's attention. The toys are incredibly well made and innovative and it wasn't much of a debate whether I thought the Leaptop would be suitable and I promptly purchased it in the violet colour (also comes in green/white - Scout) for under £20.00.
What is it?
Leapfrog My Own Leaptop is a personalisable pretend computer which has been specifically designed for children aged 24 months upwards. It has been designed to help children with learning their animals, letters and phonics. And of course it introduces a child to a computer although my daughter already seems to have mastered this!
The Leaptop can be completely customised as you choose to personalise your own Leaptop by choosing up to 20 music songs so you can create a playlist for your child, a variety of email messages which sound when the button is pressed as well as being able to add your child's name to the Leaptop which sounds at various times.
The Leaptop does require internet connection if you want to personalise it and comes complete with a USB cable which simply plugs into your laptop/computer and it will automatically download the software or you can visit the designated website which will bring up the easy to follow instructions as to how to personalise it.
My daughter has the Violet version and it is purple in colour. It is just like a small laptop as it has two halves which are on hinges and easily opens and closes. The keyboard features toddler friendly plastic buttons which do feature the letters on as well as three larger coloured buttons for the internet, emails and the blog. There is a small lilac mouse which is made out of plastic and attached to the side of the Leaptop which really does add to the laptop feel.
There is a small screen on the top half and this is the part which shows the images of the animals, letters as well as emails that you can personalise. The leaptop is just over 30 cm in length and about 25cm in width and comes complete with a small plastic carry handle. I do find it a handy size to fold up and pop in my handbag when going out and about.
As soon as my daughter had opened her present and found this she face was a picture. She instantly knew that it was a laptop style toy and a huge grin remained for quite sometime. So far so good! As soon as it was out of the box she immediately started playing with it pressing the buttons as you would do on an actual laptop. Needless to say I couldn't prise it out of her little hands and had to wait until she was finally in bed to actually personalise it for her.
To personalise the Leaptop isn't rocket science, the instructions are on the size of the box (you do get an instruction manual in the box) together with the white USB cable which goes into your laptop and into the Leaptop. I however found that my laptop didn't recognise the software and I had to download it via the website which was hardly an issue at all. Personalising is easy, you simply add your child's name and choose 5 songs and it uploads for you and your ready to go.
My daughter does go through phases with toys and I did worry that this would be another toy that would end up at the bottom of her toy box. However, since having it on her birthday she has played with it everyday and has even had it in the car and out and about to keep her entertained. At first she just liked to bang the keys but she now is figuring out that by pressing certain keys she gets certain items on the screen. Animals seem to be her favourite and she definitely has a few letters she presses the most to see the specific animals.
I am hoping that it won't be long or hard for my daughter to start putting the letters and the animals together and hopefully being able to learn the letters properly. What I do think is a little pointless is the 'blog' button which I think is a little too advanced given the age range of 24 months but the emails are quite sweet as you can personalise the messages as to what they say and who they are from.
Regardless of what I think, the Leaptop keeps my daughter incredibly entertained and more importantly it keeps her focus and concentration which for me is great as she clearly enjoys playing with this and in my eyes definitely makes it a worthy purchase. The fact that it is made of plastic also makes it incredibly easy to keep clean, another bonus for a parent!
A lovely toy that manages to keep my daughter's attention. It isn't an overly expensive toy and it manages to deliver certain requirements that a child needs such as learning the alphabet and animals but just in a fun way. It is easy to follow and my daughter picked up on how to work it almost immediately. I really can't fault it and probably one of the best toys I have bought. A definite a recommendation. 5 stars from me.
Price: From £16.00
Availability: Toy stores and online