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* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Introduction ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * I was desperate for something that involved reading, but would also try and help Oscar along with his delayed speech. He was 2 on 14th November and can only say very basic words 'ma, da' etc, and even other people struggle to understand those words! He has a major obsession with books and will often climb onto his brothers bed with a pile of books and just sit there looking at the pages showing great interest. His older brother got the leapfrog pen for his 4th birthday last March and already owning a lot of the leapfrog range i knew I'd be adding this to his birthday list for his 2nd birthday. * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Price ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * I picked the Tag Junior up for 9.99 while on sale in argos, but have recently seen it down to 13.33 on amazon (normally retailing at 24.99 in other shops). I feel the sale price is a very good price as this is actually the newer model, the older model is plain white and just has minor pink or green detailing on it, this updated version has the cute look of a poppy. * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ What's In The Box? ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * *Tag junior *1 book (Explore tag junior) *USB cable *Installation disk *Instructions * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ What Is It? ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * The leapfrog tag junior system is a handheld device that you use to read books. Reccomended for ages 1-4years (you can also buy the older version for 5-8years), you place the tag junior onto the special books designed specifically for this and it will read the book aloud to you, as well as asking questions to also help with learning. It is in a cute design of a dog and there are 2 colours to choose from, Violet the purple dog or Scout the green dog. It looks very cute so will apeal to little ones. It is small and chunky so great for little hands. To use the device you simply place the dog anywhere on the books for it to play music, read sentences from the book and set you an activity. You can use a variety of books with this, from short vowels books, books with sentences to flash cards. The tag junior takes 2 AAA batteries (I used the cheaper brands initially but it kept saying I needed to change the batteries so changed to a decent brand). It has a sensor on the bottom so recognises each book, if you try to get it to read a book where the audio isnt downloaded the it will say 'ask an adult to download the audio'. It also has the added bonus of being allowing parents to track their childs progress, simply connect the tag junior to the pc and see how will they are are doing. Scout feels pretty light weight despite having a plump little body, and is 4.5 inches high, and 2.5 inches wide. It is mainly green with a white belly that displays the speaker and the volume switch, to adjust the volume you just press the volume button where it will go through the volume settings until you reach the required setting. Just above the belly are 2 paws, and between this is a little button that lights up red when the tag junior is switched on. He has a very smiley and cute face. On the back you will find the access to get to the battery department. On Scout's right hand side you will see the On/Off button. * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Setting It Up ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * With most of my boys toys at birthday and Christmas I set things by adding batteries etc up then re-box them ready to wrap. I started by inserting the 2 batteries. To get the battery compartment was a little tricky as it only takes a flat head screwdriver, but mine was too big so had to use a dinner knife, then had to inset the batteries which was also tricky as you have to slide the batteries under a little rubber band which i just couldnt seem to do, so got my fiance to do it. Then connect the tag junior to the usb cable provided and connect the other end into a pc or laptop. It will come with a disk that you will need to connect to your pc to to download the relivant software, it will give you step by step information so this is easy to follow, it will load the software needed onto your pc where you will then need to create an account (from this account you can access any of the interactive leapfrog profucts). There is also an option to input your childs name so when you turn the tag junior on it will say 'Hello Oscar' or 'I love reading with you Oscar' (my little boy is Oscar obviously). I found this a lovely touch, which my little boy is throughly amazed by! When not used after a few mins scout will automatically turn off to save batteries and say 'That was fun Oscar'. If you already own leapfrog interactive products (scout puppy, leappad etc) there is less information to fill in. It will then show you a range of books, you can either buy the books from the app system where leapfrog will then send you the books (not ideal as you have to wait for the books to arrive before you can use it). Or if you have already purchased the books simply find the audio for each book already purchased and just download it. You can get on average 4 books on there. Once the audio is downloaded hit the eject button on the top left hand side of the screen and your tag junior is ready to be used. * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Using It ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * Simply place the tag junior anywhere on the book, For example when reading 'Toy Story' book, if you put the tag junior on the front of the book it will play a tune, on the 1st page is bonnie, placing the tag junior on bonnie's face you will hear her say 'Hi! im bonnie, these are my toys'. Placing the tag junior on her skirt and the tag junior will set you a task (i.e pick a favourite character to start the adventure), placing the tag junior on the actual sentence and the tag junior will read the story to you. Each book is designed to help with a different aspect of learning, i.e Disney Cars is places, toy story is imaginative play, seasame stree is emotions, thomas the tak is friendship etc. Upon reading reviews for this before buying it, i was under the assumption Scout would hold 5 books on the memory...obviously this depends how big the audio is for each book, as we can only fit 4 books on ours, we have Jake and the neverland pirates, seasame street, cars 2 and toy story. Oscar was able to hold Scout with ease, and very quickly got the hang of the idea with what to do with Scout. Oscar has used Scout with quite a few of the books and flash cards he has and always shows an interest with the story and activities set, now starting to copy a few words he hears from the book there is already improvement in is vocabulary. * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Accessories ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * Scout did come with a book but obviously we wanted more. Books are available for 9.99 each but can be picked up when on sale (normally amazon) for as little as £6.66 each. We also purchased ABC flash cards at the same price of the single books,we then wanted something suitable for beginners so got the short vowels book set (6 piece book set) but was more expensive at £19.99. For christmas ive got him the milestones book sets, so it isnt limited at all. We also have the tag junior bag (holds the tag junior and 5 books....bit of a squeeze!) * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Our Thoughts ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * Honestly, it has to be 1 of my best buys yet!! As said above my little boy has delayed speech and when reading these books hes so excited with a lot of 'ohhhs' and 'awwws'. Its fun to use, educational, variety of books available for leaning and games. Oscar just turned 2 and holds it with ease, he tends to sit on the sofa surrounded by his books and gradually reads a book before moving on to another one, it easily keeps Oscar entertained for a good 20-30 minutes, for us this is a great as he normally has a very short attention span. What is fantastic about Scout is that he grows with your child, there is nothing worse than a toy being brought for your child that they are going to grow out of too quickly, its a waste of money which we could really do with avoiding in todays world, but thanks to Scout he will grow with Oscar and help keep him busy and learning for the next 2 years! Oscar has a variety of books and flash cards which means that Scout never gets boring. I love my boys to have books, I think they are great for learning, and also a great way for my boys imagination to explore, so I am a massive fan of buying my boys books but Scout enables the books to also be a kind of toy with the activities that are set, while still being a book. Scout is personalised, which means he can say your child's name, this is a simple but great personal touch. Its voice is very clear and easy to understand. As I am updating the review we now own a variety of books to use with Scout so Scout is now used even more, Oscar likes to use Scout on a daily basis, normally when he wants some quiet time as it is educational as well as keeping him busy. * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Any Negatives ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * My only problem is that it due to the little memory, it only holds 5 books (or 4 in my case as it does depend on what books you have stored on the tag junior) and its so frustrating having to keep connecting it to the pc to remove audio to add new audio, annoyingly some of the audios are 1.2mb with some other audios being 0.8mg so this will affect how many books you can add. Im very tempted to buy a 2nd tag junior to keep the other books on, as this is quite a big problem for me im going to have to knock off a star, otherwise it would have been full marks. * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ Final Thoughts ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * Would I buy this again or recommend? Absolutely! I'm already a fan of books, and this is unique, while its memory it limited which is very annoying it does have a massive list of positives, it grows with your child so never gets boring, educational and fun. Oscar loves this, its fantastic for when he is relaxing on the sofa or in the car, or going to nanny's house for a few hours, he can carry Scout with his books in his little carry bag to keep him entertained. We love it!