Reviews of the Best LeapFrog Educational Toys - Infant/Toddler:
The LeapPad electronic educational toy helped LeapFrog become a household name in 2001. LeapPad is an electronic reading toy that was invented to help young children learn how to read. Sales for Leapfrog reached a high of $680 million in 2003 and have since fallen. LeapFrog.com is the companies official website with detailed descriptions and screenshots of all there educational toys. They have the products broken down into categories - infant & toddler, preschool and kindergarten, grade school, middle & high school. It's never too early to start teaching young infants and toddlers how to recognize sounds, letters, numbers, shapes, and words. Baby Einstein is another company that has pushed educational toys for the youngest of kids and proven that learning through music and art really does work. LeapFrog has some excellent toys that stress creativity and learning through music and using motor skills. We will review the best selling LeapFrog toys
for infants and toddlers below with parents and expert opinions.
Some of the more popular Leapfrog toys for infants/toddlers are the Learn & Groove Activity Station ($99.99) - an interactive 5 station activity center with music, lights and dance beats, the Magic Moments Learning Seat ($49.99) - when the activity bar is touched by the child, the magic mirror displays colorful images, the Baby Counting Pal Plush ($16.99) - great introduction to counting and colors, the Fridge Farm Magnetic Animal Set ($14.99) - for 1 year olds and up this magnet set provides learning tools for animal sounds and names. The LeapStages Infant Learning System ($34.99) is one of those toys a baby can lay underneath or sit up with, great for basic motor skills, matching, speech patterns, colors and classical music. The Learn-Around Playground ($59.99) - I bought this one for my 1 year old son and there is definitely enough to stay busy with and he was able to do most of it on his own. Teaches songs, shapes, textures, and rhyming words. Lastly, the LeapStart Learning Table is perfect for ages 6 months and up ($44.99) - plays over 40 songs, teaches the alphabet, easy to use functions with knobs and buttons that slide, roll, open, and spin. Other infant/toddler toys from LeapFrog inlcude the Alphabet Pal Caterpillar ($19.99) - we had this one for our daughter but she lost interest soon after trying it, the Counting House Animal Party ($14.99) is another number inspired toy that lets your child count animals and objects, Learning Friend Tad ($20) - a squeezable stuffed animal who plays songs in both English and Spanish. The Learning Friends Phonics Bus Vehicle ($19.99) and the LittleTouch LeapPad Learning System ($34.99) get high review ratings with parents. The one common complaint amongst parents who bought the Little Touch LeapPad
system for kids under 2 was that the controls and overall use was beyond their children. When re-introduced at 2 and over, the toy was usable and successful in teaching their kids. Consumers did like the collection of titles in the Little Touch LeapPad library (15+ to choose from). The more reviews we read from parents made us realize that perhaps all these "learning" toys are recommended for children that may be too young for them. Not all kids learn at the same levels and certainly some develop faster than others. Be patient with your child and sit down with them the first few times to get them acquainted with each toy or game.
Leapfrog for Preschool & Kindergarten:
As your child gets older, so does the complexity of the LeapFrog games/toys
so that each child can be challenged at their own level. In the preschool & kindergarten age group parents are continually looking for reading and math learning tools which LeapFrog has. The Board Game: Letter Factory Game ($24.99) - teaches color and letter recognition. We bought the board game after our daughter fell in love with the Letter Factory Video (available on both DVD and VHS). Unfortunately she liked the video better than the game, but at least we could get involved by all playing the game together. The Fun & Learn Phonics Bus ($24.99) is probably right for an early preschooler but a kindergartener will get bored with this one. The Imagination Desk Learning System ($39.99) is an interactive learning/coloring book where kids color and learn letter names, sounds, and you can get replacement coloring sheets online at Leapfrog.com. Puzzles are an excellent thing to introduce during the ages of 3-5 and the LeapPad Puzzles ($12.99 - you get two 20-piece puzzles) offer problem solving and pattern recognition skills. If your child is ready to write at about age 4 (basic letters) then give the LeapPad Plus Writing Learning System ($49.99) a try. Parents say it's great for all ages, but those just learning about letters and numbers will excel even faster. Another fun title is the Leapster L-Max Handheld Learning Game System ($89.99) - parents say they prefer the Leapster to V-Smile or Interact TV. Leapster is meant for 4 year olds and up but we feel that kindergarteners will get the most use from it.
Leap Frog for Grade School:
Many of the products we mention in preschool and kindergarten can also be carried over to the grade school level. The LeapPad Learning System and the LeapPad Plus Writing Learning System are good tools for 1st and 2nd graders. The LeapFrog Read Aloud LeapPad Plus with Microphone
($49.99) is another interactive game that will help your child read much faster. All these games and educational toys from Leapfrog make learning fun with sound effects and music. Although my daughter is not in grade school yet (only kindergarten), the few LeapFrog toys we have make the learning environment fun for kids which is half the battle. She actually asks to play with these toys which is a blessing for any parent. The new FLY Pentop Computer ($99.99) is recommended for ages 8 and up and the product has "an optical scanner that sees everything you scan and write on special dot-matrix FLY paper". The Fly Pentop comes with 35 FLY paper pages, 17 games, and 3 interactive FLY-FX cards. One other product that we found interesting was the Explorer Globe for $99.99. It's a talking Atlas where you can touch anyplace on the globe and you will learn literally 1000's of facts about populations, land area, currencies, capitals, and countries. With geography and social studies lacking in todays schools, this educational toy from LeapFrog is a popular product.
The iQuest Handheld
($49.99) - a palm size game based system that stores over 600 topics on math, science, social studies, textbooks, etc. Kids can put a subject cartridge into the iQuest Handheld and select the textbook publisher and chapter to instantly get a quiz on their latest school subjects. It's a great secondary source of learning for 5th to 8th graders. Cartridges are $15 and each contains 1000's of questions and answers. You can buy all LeapFrog products on Amazon.com or Leapfrog.com and in retail stores like Target or Toys R Us.