LeapFrog Continues To Make Learning Fun With Their LeapPad.REVIEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | October 26, 2011 at 7:05 am
You will recall that in my BlogHer Finds I highlighted the LeapPad, even though I just briefly tried it there I was sufficiently impressed to mention it. Fast forward a few months and I got to take the LeapPad along with the TAG reading system for a test drive as well as activities to share with friends. I cannot write this post without sharing my history of LeapFrog. When my oldest (now 6 years old) was 5 months old she was a car seat crier (she was always that but this is a tale of then) and we were at a birthday party for a kid (sheesh those party invitations come rolling in as soon as they are born) and we were desperate to have a peaceful ride.
We knew the night ride would be tough so we bought a “Lulu singing spider” (doubt they still make that) and hung it where she could see it. It sang the ABC’s and taught each letter amongst other things. Anyway fast forward her around 18 months and going through (another LeapFrog) book given as a present by a friend my daughter pointed to the letters and read them. Hubby and I almost fell off our chairs. He looked accusingly at me and asked whether I had been teaching her (while we both come from engineering backgrounds we agreed education, while important, would never be forced). I admitted I had not and then passed it off as a fluke. We turned page after page and she knew all the letters. May have been a coincidence but that “Lulu” traveled with us even to Seattle and India (note to self: remove batteries when traveling internationally).
By this time I was already a huge fan. Then we wanted a safe way to use the keyboard of the computer and we invested in the LeapFrog keyboard. Perfect for little hands and I loved that they catered mouse holding for left handed kids even though I had a rightie. Then I found out my 2nd kid was left-handed and I really appreciated that design feature. Fast forward several years (and a 4 year old and 6 year old who both read and write) we are proud owners of the iPad.
Even so, I drooled over the LeapPad because I knew it was designed for little hands and my heart did not need to skip a beat each time they held it. The touch screen makes learning so easy and also decreases the learning curve from one device to another. Of course there is a stylus should that be your preference. There are several connections including a USB so you can upload stuff through your PC. I love that the apps are all targeted for kids so you know they are safe. The camera and video camera are wonderful additions and will definitely keep kids engaged as they edit, though don’t expect the same quality as your digital camera or iPhone, still it is enough to do the trick. Although there are aliases for each each profile beware that the pool of files saved/used for pictures or videos is the same. Sadly we found that the hard way as siblings would do that to each other.
Apps are on the pricier side but the fact that they are designed well with a fault tolerance for kids it is worth it. Perfect to know that your kid is entertained and educated at the same time. The one beef I have with this wonderful gadget has got to be the batteries. If you know anything about kids, they will kill the batteries out of any device faster than you can say “Jack Robinson” – I really do wish it had a built-in rechargeable battery. Robustness in design and the education focus still make LeapFrog a worthy gift.
Disclosure: I was provided these LeapFrog products to review.