Review Of The My First Leap Pad Toy

A review of My First LeapPad Toy, an interactive system for teaching preschool skills, such as ABCs, counting, and shape recognition for the three to five-year-old-child.

Many toys on store shelves promote preschool learning in some form or another, from shape and color recognition for the youngest children, to phonics skills including letter recognition, pre-writing skills, early math skills, etc. Several products combine these learning skills into toys that are not only fun, but also have repeat play value, drawing kids back to play with them again and again. In addition, any parent will tell you that that is the main difference between a basic toy and a winner! No matter how attractive a toy might be to an adult, if it does not attract the interest of the child longer than a few minutes, it has no real value as a play or learning item.

Leap Frog's My First LeapPad is one product that not only promotes itself as a toy with learning value - it actually is. Leap Frog has built up a strong history of toys that are fun to play with and teach basic skills, and with My First LeapPad, they have continued this winning tradition. While My First LeapPad is an interactive book, customizable by the addition of add-on books purchased separately, it goes beyond the basic "˜read me a story' format. Recommended for children between the ages of three to five, LeapPad does have similar products for both younger and older children. This system though, is perfectly geared for the age group it says it is.

Children can easily grasp the chunky, but "˜perfectly sized for small hands' pen, allowing them to control the book; no parent intervention is really needed, except maybe for the very young. (The pen feature is great for improving both visual and motor skills.) Then, when touched to numerous hotspots on each page, the pen brings the pages from being just another storybook into an environment that kids can help control. Each page allows the child to read along by touching on each word.

Each page also contains what are often referred to as "˜hotspots'. For example, a page may contain words describing all the basic body parts such as eye, nose, mouth, etc. When the pen is touched to the words it tells the child the word; when the child also touches the pen to any of those corresponding body parts of the character on the same page, it also tells the child those body parts. Each book also incorporates enough additional forms of learning, disguised as entertainment, which children will beg to play with it.

Music, games, and fun sound effects are included in every book, and with titles incorporating characters ranging from Dora the Explorer, Winnie the Pooh, Bob the Builder, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, even Sponge Bob, you are sure to find several titles your child will enjoy. Some skills that the books promote include ABCs, counting, tracing letters and other pre-writing skills, shape recognition, and even deductive logic.

Swapping of books is easy also; each one just snaps in place after the easy removal of the previous one. The books do come with cartridges, except for the one shipped with the main system, and I would recommend that a parent change these and store them with their respective books between uses.

Other similar products are available, such as the Power Touch Learning System from Fisher Price. It appears to offer many of the same learning options as My First LeapPad, such as letter recognition, music, and "˜surprises' on every page. It also is customizable with a wide range of add-on books, including Rescue Heroes and I Spy titles. I would avoid any electronic book systems that simply "˜read' a book, because no real "˜replay' value exists. If you were looking for an interactive product to help your child learn and expand their knowledge of pre-school skills, a system such as those mentioned would be a good direction to go.

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