Sunday, November 16, 2008

Toy Review
My First LeapPad Learning System

My First LeapPad is a wonderfully entertaining toy, and the kids learn so much while playing! Although the age range says three and up, my son received his when he was two and a half, and loved to sit with me exploring each page. In no time, he learned to use it all by himself. He is now 4, and still enjoys it.

For those of you unfamiliar with the toy, the LeapPad takes special books (sold separately) with a spiral binding that clip onto the LeapPad to keep it secure. Each book comes with a learning cartridge which you insert in the slot.

To Play, clip in the book, insert the cartridge, and turn it on. Each time you turn the page, you must touch the green go circle to orient the unit and then you are set to explore.

Among the skills taught are the alphabet, numbers, counting, shapes, and colors, matching, opposites and tons more. The pictures are bold and colorful and no matter where the child points with the wand, something is bound to happen! Touch a word, and it says the word. Touch an object and it may tell the name of the object or bring the object to life with silly sound effects or speech. Often an object will have several different sounds. My son and I often dissolve into giggles at some of the silly sounds!

Each flip book (at least the ones we have) has a story on one side, and when you turn it around, there are games and activities to play.

Once in a while, I still have to help my four year old get the book seated correctly, or help him reinsert the cartridge. Some times the LeapPad does not read it right the first time and you have to turn it off take it out, put it back in, and turn it on again. I've had several LeapPads, and they all do it from time to time. Not a big deal.

The newer LeapPads have headphone jacks (marvelous for the older child who doesn't need prompting or guidance as they go). But you can also adjust the volume easily by touching the wand to the + or - triangles at the bottom of each page. The LeapPad is easy to carry around and great for the car seat, the doctor's office, Grandmom's, or wherever you go.

Of course my son loves Thomas the Tank and Bob the Builder, but he also gets a kick out of the Wiggles one and a bunch of others. They are all fun, but he doesn't pick Pooh and the Honey Pot very often. I guess there isn't enough action for him! LOL!
Aldi has it listed in their Toy Catalog for 14.99 on page 13. The Aldi link takes you to the Aldi home page. Look at the drop down menu for Special Purchases, and click on Toy Catalog. I'm sure this is like most of their special purchases where the availability may vary from store to store. It has the books Cars, Dora Disney Princess, or Ratatouille listed for 8.99 each!
Walmart has them listed for 24.88, but does not sell them on line. Books ranged from $9-12. has it listed for $99.99(!) and has books ranging from $9-54(!??).

Incidentally, I have picked up several books and cartridges from Once Upon a Child for around $3 each. That's a great deal, but understand, you are taking some risk unless you can try it out to make sure it works. I've only had one that didn't, but for the two that worked, they more than made up for it!
I picked up an extra My First LeapPad to keep in the car from the Goodwill for only $3.99, so keep your eyes open and you may find a great deal at a thrift store.
If you have a preschooler on your list to buy for, I would highly recommend this toy. . .and I'm a teacher!


Kimberly said...

Thanks for this review! It sounds like the perfect thing for my almost 2 1/2 y.o. It is so hard to know what he will like for more than five minutes!

Kimberly said...

Ok, me again. My inlaws live near an Aldi's, and they have time on their hands and love to shop. So, I sent them on this mission. And boy howdy, did they come through. Not sure my kid is going to like the Dora book, but still. And THEN they went to Goodwill and picked up the follow-on Leapfrog system and about seventeen books for something like $15.

Wow. Not bad for a morning mission.

Raise Them Up said...

Kimberly, that is wonderful! I have no doubt that your little guy will love Dora! He's too blissfully little to realize how yucky girl things are, LOL!

And your inlaws scored so incredibly BIG! You and your little one are going to have so much fun with it!

It's really funny, I have been gathering info and pictures today for my next toy review which happens to be on the Quantum Pad (the system that came right after the LeapPad, but takes the same books and cartridges). You'll have to add your two cents if I ever get it posted! :)