Friday 2 September 2011

The LeapPad Explorer's a Hit at our House!

There has been a revolution in my house, the young ladies have discovered digital gadgets and it is all my fault.  For 4 years I have kept them away from all things electronic and insisted they stay my babies and play with traditional toys and their imagination only but I think their starting at school full-time has made me realise that my 4 year olds are growing up and that in this day and age that means them getting to grips with all the new gadgets.

So when we were offered a brand new LeapPad from Leap Frog to review I eagerly said yes and now I have bedlam, two young girls wanting to play on the tablet.  Will they play together?  Oh no, they both want it on their own and the kitchen timer has become my best friend, as I time how long they are allowed. The only thing I can be grateful for is that at near 8 and with the savvy of a 10 year old JJ is not that interested in it and has gone back to the laptop and his DS.

Being the complete novice I am I asked Dh what makes the LeapPad better than JJ's DS?  Why is it needed?  and he informed me that it is far better for youngsters like our girls as it is educational as well as fun. Each of the games give verbal instructions as you start and play them so that the little ones do not have to fathom it out for themselves. Also the screen is much larger and better quality than those of the small hand-held games consoles.

As well as using the pre-loaded content such as the art studio, story studio and pet pad you can also download games, e-books and videos for your children to enjoy.  The prices starts from £3.50 for a download and that is really reasonable. The kids are enjoying Jewel Train and Vegetable Stew at the moment. The part that JJ does enjoy is the built in camera and video recorder. He is loving using the software which allows him to manipulate the photos and make us all look like Father Christmas or a gruesome ghoul!

I have to be honest and say the part that has driven me crazy is that the LeapPad is not rechargeable, it has gobbled up AA batteries like there is no tomorrow. This is an expensive business, so I will need to invest in a 9V charger so the kids can play with it plugged in to the electricity.

The LeapPad retails for £79.99 and is available from all good toy retailers as well as from Leap Frog direct. If you had a Leapster previously then all the games are compatible and you can use them in your LeapPad too, to that's a bonus. I can see this being the must have Christmas present for 2011!

In a nutshell:
Look and design   5/5
Ease of use for a young child    5/5
Educational Value   5/5
Interest factor for a young child   5/5
Interest factor for an older child  2/5 (guide age is 4 - 9 years)
Diversity and quality of games/ books/ videos available  5/5
A complete hit in our house!

I'll leave you with some fun facts you didn’t know about LeapPad!
• You can record 120 minutes of video, which equals a feature length film longer than any of the three Toy Story movies, or for our budding geniuses, 3 short film submissions for an Oscar.
• Children can take 30,000 pictures, which is approximately one picture a day for 82 years.
• Children can make 1,548,288 combinations of pets, which is 91 times more animals than the 17,000 at Berlin Zoological Garden, home to more animals than any other zoo in the world.
• Create 15,000 pieces of art, which is more than double the number of existing paintings created by Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, O’Keefe, Michelangelo, da Vinci and Dali combined.

Disclosure:  We were provided with a LeapPad and £15 download card for the purposes of this review.  I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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