|LeapPad2 - LeapFrog Website|
First let me say that my daughter was VERY attached to my iPad. She knew how to operate it better than any adult, cracked the passcode, and was actually very careful with it. The problem was that I never got to use it myself, because she would immediately want it and would not want to give it back. In addition, it was a pretty expensive item, and it getting broken or swiped from her was always a concern. So I had to find her her own tablet. I wanted something age-appropriate, not so fragile, educational, yet fun, and that's when I stumbled across the LeapPad (1st generation).
The original LeapPad was a disappointment to us. After ripping it open, and uploading all the apps and games (which took hours to do), the tablet would not stay on more than 10 minutes at a time. The screen would black out, and my Elle's heart would break each time. The LeapPad was eating batteries faster then the Christmas dinner we had that evening, and Mommie was not happy. So I returned the LeapPad to the store where many parents were waiting to get their hot hands on the Black Out Screen Tablet. Six months later the LeapPad 2 hit the market. It was marketed as Improved, better on energy, and uploading faster (resolving all of the problems I had), so I decided to give it a try.
THE VERDICT: It is improved, and it is a WINNER!!
The LeapPad 2 uploads MUCH faster and it better on energy as well. You actually have a warning, instead of the screen simply blacking out on you. The apps are fun, educational, and there are many options (most Disney & Nickelodeon) to choose from, and if you sign up on the LeapFrog website they will often send you specials on Apps and cartridges. My daughter loves hers, and while she does still try to swipe my iPad from time to time, she's very content with her LeapPad2 and takes it everywhere. It's my favorite electronic devise and tablet, so I had to take time to give you all the spill on it. It helps her practice her spelling, math, logic reasoning, has taught her how to draw Mickey Mouse, and even gives her a pet to take care of. : )
|Elle takes her LeapPad2 everywhere!|
* Great educational tool
* Portable and light
* Option of downloading apps & games or purchasing cartridges
* Nice size screen
* Option of using earphones (which I LOVE) and a car or wall charger
* Many apps for various ages, levels, and interests
* You can track your child's progress on the LeapFrog website to see which skills they are mastering.
* I love that there's a girlie color option
* Keep extra batteries handy (even though it's better on energy)
* Buying games and apps can add up and become expensive
* It is a task to remember to upload to the LeapFrog site (which you must do to buy apps, track their progress, and claim their rewards from games)
|Elle using her Tag Reader & her stack of TAG books|
|TAG Reader Link|
This is another favorite of mine, since I'm huge on teaching Elle to read (which she has quite mastered). She loves to read, and as an Early-Admit Kindergartener, she's already reading on a mid 1st grade level. (Brag Moment) She enjoys the Tag Reader because she can opt to have it read her the whole story or for it to only read the words that are unfamiliar to her. The TAG pen will also spell and sound the words for the child, as well as give the name of all the pictures in the book.
* Great tool for learning how to read, spell and sound out words
* Very portable
* Very affordable (although you must buy the books individually, which can add up)
* Great for learning how to read because the child can see the words at the same time they are hearing them, and it works like their finger, guiding them as they read.
* Very good on batteries
* Jack for earphones
* Great book selection for varying interests and levels
* You still have a book, even if you don't use the TAG reader to read it.
* The price of books can add up, but you can purchase them in bundles or on sale (often at Toys R Us)
* The task of uploading the book to the pen from the LeapFrog site. (It's fast & easy, but another step)
|MobiGo by VTech- Now there's MobiGo 2|
This was the first electronic, learning toy that we bought her, for her 4th birthday. Some of the games were a little advanced for her, but for the most part it was a learning process for her and it kept her attention. She first struggled with flipping it open to utilize the keyboard, but she eventually mastered that as well. As she got older she neglected it a bit in favor of the LeapPad, but when she does play with it, it still manages to teach her a thing or two.
* Great learning tool, especially for spelling and learning patterns
* Fits perfectly in little hand
* Has a jack for earphones
* Has a touch screen and keyboard option
* Gives children an option for easy or difficult level for each game
* Child's level and progress can be tracked online (make sure any other uses use the 'Guest' option so scores are not skewed).
* Chunky design, which is difficult to get in and out of the case.
* Seems to lend itself more to toddlers and those starting out.
* Keypad can be confusing since children are unfamiliar with the typing screen. It's difficult for them to locate the letters in time.
* There are not many options of cartridges
* Small screen (especially if children are iPad friendly)
|Elle shares the MobiGo fun with her younger cousin, Quincy|
Hopefully this helps those parents, who like me, are technology and educational nuts. Many of these tools are a great way to blend the two worlds, teaching our children while also letting them have fun!