My First LeapPad is a fun, interactive way to introduce first learning concepts to pre-school children and is aimed at those who are not old enough to appreciate the LeapPad Interactive Reading System.
Like the award-winning LeapPad before it, My First LeapPad is based around a software system that combines a "magic" pen with interactive books, in this case aimed at helping children recognise shapes, numbers, colours and first letters and words. The concept is simple enough: clip the "Leap's Big Day" book (included) on top of the First LeapPad, insert the cartridge into the station on its side, and press the green "Go" button. Each page has a different activity: choose from "Counting Farm", "Parts of the Body", "Count and Sing Express" and many, many more.
Visually exciting and very colourful, the illustrations are all self-contained, each centred around a situation that helps reinforce one or other first learning skill. For example, in "Parts of the Body", basic body parts are labelled, and if you press the "game" button, you are invited to press parts of the body while singing along to "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes". You can even choose a different body part for the song, and change the title! In "Leap Hopped on a Train", relatives are tested, as readers are asked to point with the magic pen to the item "under Leap's arm" or the person "standing next to Tad", and so on. When you get to the end, simply turn the book around, and instead of single exercises, you can follow a series of scenarios that together make a full story.
The music is lively, and volume is adjustable. The First LeapPad is bold, chunky and wipe-clean, and all wiring and batteries are well hidden behind screwed-down casing. A handy handle is just right for little fingers, and it even gives you a warning when your batteries are running out.
The "Leap's Big Day" book is also sturdy, made out of durable, wipe-clean cardboard and strong plastic binding. Though the unit is technologically quite complex, the learning principles behind My First LeapPad are traditionally simple, based on repetition, reinforcement and good old-fashioned fun! Parents will probably need to spend time helping and encouraging youngsters as they get to grips with the unit, and the only thing to remember is to press the green "Go" button each time you turn a page.
Recent research has shown that the younger a child is exposed to letters and numbers, the earlier they will begin to learn how to count and write. My First LeapPad is undoubtedly a learning aid that will foster this progression and give your children a helping hand as they set out to learn. The only additional thing you will need is a backpack or bag to store the books, unit and cartridges safely together. --Susan Naylor
Aimed at pre-readers, the manufacturers recommend My First LeapPad for children aged 3 years and above. Requires 4 x AA batteries (not supplied).
Also available: Pooh's Honey Tree My First LeapPad Interactive Book.
LeapFrog's range of educational toys is exceptional, and this interactive flip book really has that "wow" factor. In the box it looks like an innocent book, but once assembled it provides absolutely hours of entertainment with a pre-school teaching focus. The book reads the text to the child, then its magic pen allows the child to touch the text and reread difficult words. Rather like a computer game, the pictures in the page also respond to touch. Each page has two to three games on it where the child has to answer questions on the text or the pictures. The child only needs to respond with the pen, so children as young as three can easily play all the games. LeapFrog have made sure that this two-sided book packs in all the elements of a balanced pre-school curriculum. Numbers, phonics, pre-reading and numeracy skills come alive through the activities. Both non-fiction and fiction text is included with a variety of musical activities. There is even a volume control on each page for weary parents! Be prepared with four AA batteries (not included), and a small screwdriver. The instructions included are not specific, but the illustrations on the box are self-explanatory. Perfect for a rainy day or a long journey, My First LeapPad provides great value for money, providing hours of education and entertainment. --Jo Fitzgerald
My First LeapPad is a sturdy unit with an integral speaker and a "magic pen" that "reads" the spiral flip book included with the set. Other books and cartridges can be bought, and used with the same unit. My First LeapPad flip book consists of both an interactive story introducing the characters of Leap and his family, and (once you have flipped the book!) a selection of interactive games pages that encourage learning of numbers, colours, shapes and music making. A pleasant and encouraging voice reads the story written on the page, or if just one word is touched, the voice says that one word, encouraging word recognition. In game mode, the voice asks the child to find a specific number, or colour or object, and gives praise when the child succeeds. The pad is easy to use, providing children remember to always touch the "GO" button with the magic pen every time they turn a page. If they forget, the pen will "read" from another page, which causes much confusion! After a few tries, my children soon got the hang of it, and could play independently.
Everything is worked using the pen, including volume control, and the pen is impossible to lose as it is attached securely to the unit. In comparison to their interactive PC games, the LeapPad failed to hold my children's attention for prolonged periods, and although I found it amazing that the pen could recognise so many different words and objects, they were less easily impressed! There is no movement, unlike in a PC game. On the other hand, the unit is portable, so can be played anywhere. The unit certainly has lots of educational value, and is well made and hardwearing. There is a large selection interactive books that can be purchased separately, so once the children are comfortable using the magic pen, they can try other activities. They can also choose more difficult material, ensuring that the pad grows with your child. --Rachel Elvidge
In common with other Leapfrog products, My First LeapPad is exceptionally well designed to be both educational and fun. The unit itself and attached pen are chunky enough for little fingers, and the single large button, integral carrying handle and bright colour will make it appealing and easy to use for pre-schoolers. My First LeapPad comes with a ring-bound book and accompanying cartridge which fit easily into the unit. Placed right-way up the book reads through a simple story, and when turned over the reverse sides contain a wealth of activities and games to play. For anyone who hasn't previously seen the unique way that simply touching the pages with the pen produces voices and noises of all sorts, it seems like a miracle! Even for those who are familiar with it, it is still endlessly fascinating, and each page has lots of scope for discovery.
The clear, English voices read the story in sentences or single words as well as introducing games and activities involving music and instruments, shapes and colour, reading, numbers, counting, matching and much more. Each picture reveals a whole world of sound effects, voices and speech from the characters according to the individual touches the child makes with the pen on the page. This makes play genuinely interactive and absorbing, and hugely valuable in terms of learning and pleasure. I recommend this product highly; it is suitable for all levels of learning with each age range getting different benefits at different stages of development. --Caroline Parsons
My First LeapPad Learning System by LeapFrog is a portable, electronic toy incorporating the format of a flip-over book that teaches children to master skills such as writing, basic numbers, ABCs, phonics, listening and comprehension. The desk layout includes a side handle, and a special touch-sensitive pen which gives children the opportunity to develop the coordination required when they begin to write. By using the pen the user can activate the different activities such as touching pictures to hear them come alive; touching words to hear them read aloud; playing a game by pressing on the lily pad sign with the "magic" pen; activating a new page; listening to some music; or adjusting the volume. The unit comes included with an activity book "Leap's Big Day". Leap is a frog with a happy voice, and an English accent, who introduces us to his family and different activities on each page. Although the toy is labelled for children aged three-plus years, the activities are not incredibly difficult and would also suit a slightly younger child. For example, number work only goes up to five, and the page on what Leap will be when he grows up gives the child a number of pictorial choices and they have to select just one answer to say what a fireman would need when he is at work, or what a doctor would need. All activities require use of the pen which does require a steady hand at times. More books are available to buy separately, with titles such as "Leap to the Moon", featuring Leap again, and "Pooh's Honey Tree". The books are double-sided with a Story Side, which is interactive, and an Activity Side. The battery powered toy provides pre-schoolers with a good introduction to interactive learning aids, including computers, and promotes readiness for reading and writing. --Sarah McNamara
This is an ideal-sized electronic, interactive learning game by Leap Frog. It consists of the Leap Pad unit with carrying handle and a small, easy to manoeuvre electronic pen attached. There is a compact microchip unit, which plugs into the side and a cardboard flipbook, which attaches to the front. The book has two sides to it--a story side and an activity side. The sound is activated by touching the green "go" circle on the page with the electronic pen. On the story side of the book this triggers a female English voice which reads aloud the words on the page. Your child can then touch each word with the pen to have these read aloud or touch objects and characters on the page to hear them speak. There is a lily pad and a note symbol at the bottom of each page. When touched with the pen, the voice leads your child through games such as finding objects and people on the page. The activity side is centred on learning games such as parts of the body, colours, shapes and counting. My First Leap Pad is designed for pre-school children to teach pre-reading and pre-maths skills. It contains over 30 games and activities and is suitable for ages three and over. My son will sit and play with the Leap Pad on his own for a short time, but is only three-and-a-half, and prefers me to help and guide him a little. My First Leap Pad is a good learning aid and value for money as the flipbooks can be replaced with different books in the range to keep your child interested in learning. --Julie Illingworth
Learning to read has never been so fun, until now. This interactive system is an ideal tool for teaching various skills important in early years. My First LeapPad teaches ABCs, numbers, phonics, pre-reading skills, and Pre-maths skills. When children encounter the LeapPad for the first time, they may choose to participate in an interactive story, "Leap's Big Day" book, (included) or alternatively they may play 30 games and activities. If they choose a story they will be amazed at how involved they can become and how much they will learn. The games and activities that feature on the reverse of the flipbook feature counting and singing songs as well as a section on "Parts of the Body".
My three-year-old tester loved this product and especially appreciated the fact that there are additional flipbooks with cartridges that are interchangeable with the one that is supplied with My First LeapPad. For children over four there is the LeapPad, which has three levels of books suitable for children up to 10. --Tiffany Prescott