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Leapfrog Touch Magic Ocean Music School
on 19 September 2013
The Leapfrog Ocean Music School is a brightly coloured electronic board which aims to teach the names of ocean animals, musical instruments and colours through 3 modes of learning - compose, song and game. It is marketed as being suitable for age 3 and over, is easy for a toddler to hold or carry and, most importantly, batteries (3xAAA) are included.
All of the actions on the board respond to touch - there are no buttons - and the child is given an action to do after the "Let's create Music" "Let's play music" or "Let's play a game" introduction, depending on which mode they have chosen. Surprisingly, only the 3 stars on the board light up but the sound can be turned up or down as necessary which is certainly useful as the female voice is quite shrill. The "compose" mode is the most interactive as they can make tunes with the guitar, trombone or drum. Swirling the goldfish on the top left hand side of the board can slow down or speed up the music. The "song" mode plays short well known songs and children can add instruments as it plays or play along on the rainbow coloured keyboard. The "game" mode involves the octopus asking the child to touch something of a certain colour or find and touch a specific object i.e. an instrument or one of the creatures.
I have had a mixed reaction to this toy. My 3 year old niece - who loves music - played with it for a short period of time and then got bored as she knows her colours and the songs. Her 2 year old friends loved it and were captivated for several hours pressing all the buttons without necessarily following the instructions.
Overall, the Leapfrog Ocean Music School is well made, durable and a perfect size for younger children. Given that there are no loose or small parts which could be dangerous I would suggest that this toy might also be suitable for a younger age, say 20 months or above, as they could get as much, if not more, enjoyment from this toy than the age 3 and over group recommended.