I like LeapFrog products. Emma learned all her letter sounds from the LeapFrog Letter Factory DVD, and I even used to get her to take naps by singing the song from the show (the “Every Letter Makes a Sound” song, that goes through each letter with its sound). If only that worked with on-strike-from-naps Lily! Being picked by MomSelect as a host for a LeapFrog-sponsored party got our entire family excited – especially when the party package (pictured above) arrived!
The kids and I had played with this world map at a friend’s house, and I had toyed with the idea of getting one. My kids love it, and somehow the combination of the tag pen with the map is helping them understand geography beyond what the massive world map, globe, and other geography-enhancing tools I have been using achieved. Plus, it’s pretty adorable to hear Lily chanting, “Afghanistan. Libya. China. Bolivia.” as she moves the pen around the map. Those words may not mean much to her at age two, but having the familiarity will hopefully help her link the words to facts as she learns and grows. I think we’ll end up getting the United States interactive map soon to improve their understanding of local geography.
The tag books were interesting, but mostly from the point of view of the kids wanting to understand how they work. They enjoyed playing with the map, and the LeapPad really stole the show. This little computer can hold games and videos, including tilt-to-play games. The built-in camera takes still and video pictures, much to the delight of my children, who are on a mission to record as much of our life as possible!
My favorite thing about the LeapPad is that, while you do have to sync it with your computer regularly (otherwise certain parts of some games stop working; for example, your pet runs out of treats), the computer itself is offline.
The LeapPad has a cartridge slot, but most of the games seem to be available to download straight onto the LeapPad. The transfer speed for moving games from a regular computer to the LeapPad is extremely slow (on our computer, at least), so I recommend updating games when there are not children waiting around!
The Tag pen uses 2 AAA batteries, and the LeapPad uses 4 AA batteries. I recommend using rechargeables, because my kids at least go through them pretty quickly. There is also a trick to opening the battery casing that I didn’t see described in any LeapFrog material: push down with the LeapPad stylus in the slot to release a button, and then slide the covers off either side. The cover on one side is slightly larger than the other side, so you have to put the right cover on the right side, which I find mildly inconvenient.
All of the products from this party are recommended for 4-8-year-olds (well, the LeapPad goes up to age 9). The age range seems reasonable to me, even if Lily disagrees. Then again, she thinks she is at least four years old…