We are going to be working with Leapfrog this year to test out and review some of their educational products for kids. Cherry is five and as readers of my blog will know, we are homeschooling. Something I have found is that she needs reading and writing activities to be fun in order for her to have an interest. Writing is going well as she makes it fun by writing her own books or writing shopping lists for me but she hasn’t really shown much interest in learning to read until recently when she started asking me how to do it and sounding out the letters in words.
I’ve tried printing off and laminating word cards to use but she will get bored really quickly, the best way for her to learn is by it not feeling like she is. She is used to technology, like most kids today, and she definitely enjoys using it to learn. I think it’s great how many learning tools are available to kids these days, I know some don’t agree and I certainly believe it should be combined with lots of time outdoors and time spent reading real books too but I am in full support of technology for kids.
We’ve been testing out two products over the last few months, one of which we love and find absolutely amazing and the other one we aren’t so sure about yet.
So first up is the Leapfrog LeapReader, this looks like a chunky pen but it doesn’t actually write. Instead you use it to trace over words and pictures on the page and it will tell you what they say / look like. All of us were just totally amazed when it first arrived at how it actually works! You need to use the special books and you have to install them onto the LeapReader which you plug into a computer so I’m guessing it’s special paper which somehow translates into the pen speaking. As well as touching each word to read the story you can also select an option to spell them out phonetically or read the entire page. Then you can play a game to see how well you’ve remembered the words. By doing what feels like a fun activity the kids are learning how to read words.
We loved this product and would definitely recommend it, we were sent the Paw Patrol book to go with it but there are lots of others available such as all the favourite Disney movies and kid’s shows as well as learning to read and write packs and interactive maps.
Next up we were sent a LeapFrog Platinum learning tablet with this Letter Factory word game, the tablet itself is built well for kids. It’s chunky and has a shatter proof screen. It has a front and back camera which you can use with an app to edit the photos in funny ways. It also has a little section with some shows to watch. There is a microphone which records things you say and that is probably the bit she has played with the most!
The game we were sent was clever in that you use the camera to scan the letters in but Cherry didn’t like it as they didn’t say the letters phonetically which is how she has learnt them so she got confused and didn’t want to play it anymore. She did enjoy playing on the tablet but in all honestly she did get bored of it quite quickly because it does come as a blank canvas and needs you to buy lots of apps or cartridge games. The cartridge games look fun and she is desperate to try some of those. Although if the reading ones don’t say the letters phonetically then she might have a problem with those too. There are some maths and science ones which are themed with characters from movies and shows so I’m pretty sure she would enjoy those. I would definitely like to test it out more before giving my opinion as I don’t really feel like I’ve seen enough of what it can do yet.
You can read more about these products and all the others over on the LeapFrog website.
We were sent these products as part of our role as LeapFrog testers this year. All opinions are my own.