Saturday, October 22, 2011

LeapFrog “Learn, Create & Share” Party

Recently we had the chance to host a LeapFrog Learn, Create & Share Party through MomSelect and MommyParties.

When the party pack arrived, I was really excited to check out the products that we received.

First was the new LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet that was just launched in August. The tablet and available apps are targeted for children ages 4 to 9 years.
    "LeapPad is the personalized learning tablet just for kids with a built-in camera and video recorder! LeapPad offers limitless learning and endless play through a library of 100+ cartridge games and activities with innovative creativity and reading apps! This tablet is the ultimate combination of high-tech features in a kid-friendly form factor! Touch the screen with a finger, tap it with the stylus or turn, twist and shake it for exciting motion-based gameplay! A broad curriculum includes school basics like reading, mathematics and science, plus geography, art, music, language and culture, health and more. Skill levels adjust automatically so kids can learn at their own pace, and progress is remembered from game to game and book to book. LeapPad also hosts a robust suite of creativity apps to nurture kids' innate curiosity!"

In addition, there was the LeapFrog Tag Reading System and Interactive World Map.
    "Tag is the #1 selling reading system and recommended by 99% of teachers to help kids learn to love reading. Tag brings stories to life with each touch of the interactive Reader to the pages of specially printed storybooks. Words talk, pictures come to life and stories live out loud, engaging children's senses to make reading a rich, fulfilling experience. Children can use Tag as they begin their own personal learn-to-read journeys, then continue to enjoy it as their skills grow, from hearing an entire story read aloud to seeking help with individual words. With a library of 40+ books, maps and more, children can also take the fun beyond reading with fun play patterns that broaden curriculum experiences such as exploring other cultures, building skills in life science or even learning how to write!"

We had planned to have a party to have everyone over at once to play with products, but some schedule challenges and illness resulted in us sharing the toys slowly over time with several friends at little mini-parties. Not as much fun as getting together for a big party, but still everyone got the chance to play with everything. I think my daughter probably liked the chance to share her toys multiple times, plus it made for less of a struggle in waiting to take turns!

After we opened the LeapPad Explorer tablet, we spent time together exploring the tablet's features.

The LeapPad comes with a camera and video recorder. Once a picture is taken, you can use the tools to add effects to the picture. Surprisingly, the LeapPad Explorer Tablet will hold up to 30,000 photos or shoot 120 minutes of video. Using the Story Studio experience, the kids can create their own stories to share with us.

My kids recently have decided that making videos is fun. It is great that they have a camera now that they can use to make videos. Just this morning, they pretended to be sword fighting and shot a video of themselves. I like the creative play.

The LeapPad tablet also had Ultra eBooks available in many titles. (I was actually surprised to see the selection on a recent visit to the toy store - considering it was just released in August, I wasn't expecting so many options) The books come with different story levels and modes optimized to support reading development. While reading the books, they can touch the screen to get word-by-word support or definitions.

There are also game apps available for the tablet. They use the microphone and the built in motion sensors to allow the kids to play a variety of interactive games.

For the parents, connecting the LeapPad Explorer Tablet to the computer allows you to see how your child is progressing and to send their artwork and pictures to friends and family.

What everyone thought:

My daughter was so excited to share the LeapPad tablet with everyone, that she even took it to school (unbeknownst to me) to show her friends and play with after nap. I found out when I picked it up and it was in her cubbie in plain sight. I told her that we shouldn't take it to school without asking first, but she was so excited to play with the LeapPad that she tried to slip it into her back pack the next day. I decided to check the bag when I dropped her off and found it (she wasn't happy when I told her that for not listening, not only would she not get to keep it at school, but she also wouldn't get a chance to play it after school either). The teachers commented about the LeapPad Tablet and based on watching her play with it, thought it was a really nice toy to help the kids learn.

One mother that I worked with thought it was great and her girls really loved that they could play games, read books and take pictures on the tablet. She recently purchased a portable game system for them, so she didn't feel that now was the right time for her to buy one. but said that she definitely would recommend this to her sister-in-law that was looking for something for her daughter.

My daughter is still drawn to the LeapPad Tablet. Which is a good thing, as many toys seem to lose their luster quickly. She surprised me the other day when she was sitting at the kitchen table working on her LeapPad Tablet. She paused, looked at me and said "It's helping learn my letters and how to spell words too!" I thought it was pretty neat that she was having fun and learning, and recognized it.

There was also the LeapFrog Tag Reading System to explore and enjoy. We have had other reading systems - including an older reading system from LeapFrog - and all of them have required a book, a cartridge and reader. I was very intrigued by the Tag Reading System. The technology is very impressive (at least to me). As a parent, I love that there aren't any cartridges required. It makes it more portable and easier to store.

The books allow the child to select read the page to hear a single story page. They can also use the Say It, Sound It and Spell It buttons to explore each word on the page. Many of the books also include Games that can be played.

The Interactive World Map for the Tag Reading System is a two-sided interactive map. One side shows the countries and the other has animals and people to allow the child to learn more about the countries. There are games available to encourage the children to explore the map and learn about the countries.

My daughter, who is starting to learn to read at preschool, is really enjoying the Tag Reading System. There are a variety of books available, including familiar characters and stories, as well as Learn to Read Sets. We have been exploring the Learn To Read set focused on short vowels. I like that it gives her the freedom to read books when she wants to and at times where I am busy.

Everyone that has played with both toys has really enjoyed the experience and excited by the options presented.

You can see these toys in action on the LeapFrog YouTube channel. You can find LeapFrog on Facebook.

No compensation was received for this post. I received free LeapFrog products and information from LeapFrog in order to host a Learn, Create and Share Party from LeapFrog through MomSelect. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.