Product Review: The New LeapPad (ages 4-9)

LeapFrog has created a new learning project for elementary school-aged students.  This device, called a LeapPad, is a version of a touch-screen tablet computer designed for children and costs significantly less.


Child-friendly Features

Just like any other tablet, it can be used horizontally or vertically depending on the game or learning activity that child is playing.  It can be used by just touching the screen with your finger, motion-based play (by tilting or shaking the screen) or by using a stylus.  This device is also more child friendly than other tablet devices.  It is more rugged and can handle the accidental “drops” of a younger child.

The LeapPad also has a built-in camera and microphone.  They can be used to take photos and record audio that can be edited using a built in program called Photo Studio.  These photos and audio clips can then be utilized in some of their interactive books like Story Studio.  There are features that allow the device to be customized.  You child can add their own picture and name that will appear on the device or in various games.

Learning through Technology

The device can be used for both fun and learning.  Games cover topics like math, science, spelling, writing, matching, memory, logic, social skills, life skills, reading, drawing, music, and sports in a fun and engaging manner.  Games can be loaded into the device via cartridges or downloaded from the Internet as “apps.”  Many of the apps and games use characters that the children are familiar with like Lightning McQueen from Cars and Mickey from Disney.  It also works with any previously released Leapster Explorer and LeapFrog Explorer learning games.  Many of the games also have the ability to be adjusted to the level of the child to make the learning experience more meaningful and challenging for the child.

This device also has many other child-friendly learning features.  There are programs to assist in reading, writing, and spelling that are already built-in to the device and are easily accessible.  Features like a children’s visual dictionary, audio and visual assistance, games to help children to learn how to write (stroke by stroke), and customization of levels and abilities (set by the parent) help to make this device more directed for younger children to increase their learning skills when compared to a traditional tablet.  It also remembers where the child left off on a game or an activity and will pick back up at that point when the program is opened again.

Parental Features

A great thing for parents is that you can see how your child spends their time on the device, see their progress (where they excel or may need support), and provides feedback for you to help your child be a successful learner.

The LeapPad is a great alternative for elementary school-aged children as their first tablet learning device.  The games and activities promote learning and ease of use for younger users when compared to a tablet computer

Article By Laura Ketcham-VanHellemont

Picture By kinjengnet

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