Oh, I can’t even begin to describe my joy when a LeapFrog box arrives in the mail for me! There are a few LeapFrog products that I absolutely can’t live without in my classroom.
1. The Letter Factory DVD
I’ve mentioned a time or 100 that this is the best product EVER made by any educational company. I swear by this video and show it to my kindergarten class until they are singing the little songs that go along with every letter.
2. The Letter Factory Board Game
Well, duh. The game goes along with the DVD and it’s just brilliant. It is no longer made, but you can find them on ebay.
3. The Tablets
I have now been the proud owner of every single tablet made by LeapFrog, and they just keep getting better.
I use the tablets in my classroom during several times of the day. I have them available during our Center time for kids to play on, during our Literacy block when I want them using the ebooks, and during our Math Centers. My favorite thing about the tablets is that even when kids are “just playing” and have no specific activities that I have selected for them, they are still learning all the time! Kart racing is one of the favorite games for my kids because they can race against each other, while they are each on their own tablet. Now, you would think that a car race isn’t educational, but in order to power up their cars they have to solve math problems. I’m telling you, learning is embedded everywhere!
The new LeapPad Platinum is one of the bigger tablets. The LeapPad, LeapPad2, and LeapPad3 are not quite as large. Personally, I really like the large screen and hefty feeling of the LeapPad Ultra and the LeapPad Platinum. The LeapPads are super durable. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times they are dropped by my kindergartners each day! My only complaint about the tablet itself is the sylus that is attached. It has a squishy top on the stylus that is kind of cool, but it was torn up within the first month. If the stylus is my only complaint, then I’m ok with that!
As for the content, here are a few of my favorite things:
*Kid-Safe Web – LeapSearch is a kid safe web browser that has age appropriate content picked by the LeapFrog Learning Experts.
*New Imagicard Learning Games – Ok, these are pretty cool. The interactive trading cards come to life on the LeapFrog tablets. Kids can use the camera to bring their characters to life and unlock more ways to play.
Some of the games include THE LETTER FACTORY (woo hoo!), PAW Patrol, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ummm, I can hardly wait to see how the kindergarten boys are going to fall in love with the Ninja Turtle game!
*E-books – During our Daily 5 time of our kindergarten literacy block, I tell the kids that I want them reading or listening to reading. If they are using the tablets, their only choice is to pick an ebook. Although, I think I will add in the Letter Factory games this year. There are tons of different options for ebooks. Frozen is the HUGE favorite, but I also have a space book that is a close second. I was surprised that the fairy tales stories are not chosen too often and that the Pet Pals IS chosen. Kids surprise me sometimes. I often think they will love one thing and then they pick something that I think won’t be a favorite. Here’s a picture of the Sophia the First book.
Overall, I have to say this is the best tablet yet! It’s one of those MUST-HAVE items for young kids. I use these in my classroom, but my daughter also used them when she was younger. As I mentioned above, I love that learning is constantly embedded into every single activity. If there are two things your young kids need, they are: 1) The Letter Factory DVD 2) A LeapPad Tablet – and spend the few extra dollars to buy the bigger one. You won’t be sorry!
**The opinions in this post are all my own. I was provided a LeapPad Platinum in exchange for reviewing the product.**
A few weeks ago my friends at LeapFrog asked for some 4th of July activities. I’ve been busy, over the past few weeks, getting these ready. I’ve been creating, writing, and photographing some really fun activities to do with kids. The 4th of July Fruit Kabobs turned out very pretty. It was SO easy and involved a trip to the Farmer’s Market for fresh fruit. What could be better?
One of my first assignments, when I started working for LeapFrog, was to create some Easter activities for their Learning Path app and website. They were looking for a range of activities that would work for very young children and something that would be great for the older kids as well. I came up with three activities including sensory play-doh, sensory egg shakers, and a scappy/artsy card for older kids to try. The colors in the play-doh eggs made my heart go pitter patter. Well, after completing this assignment, I sent it off and had the most wonderful response from LeapFrog. They sent me an email telling me that they loved these activities, photography, and my writing so much that they were going to use these as the cover in their newsletter that was slated to go out to 2.75 million people. That totally stopped me in my tracks, friends. It was such a great feeling to know that my work would reach that many people! Since Easter is coming quickly, I thought it would be a good time to share these again. You can click on the links, below, to take you to Learning Path and find out the instructions for each of these activities.
I was recently given a LeapTV to try out. The product was provided to me by LeapFrog but the opinions here are all my own.
Now that the legal stuff is out of the way, let’s get to that “honest” part. I was super excited to get the LeapBand in the mail. I had heard a little about the concept of the LeapBand and couldn’t wait to see what LeapFrog would do with the idea. As you might know, I think LeapFrog is THE MOST brilliant company on the face of the Earth when it comes to educational toys for kids. I was a HUGE fan even before I worked for them. So, the LeapBand arrived and I let my daughter play around with it first. (She’s 10, by the way, which is past the recommended age of 4-7 for this product.) She opened it up, played around with it for about 3 minutes and said, “Hmmm. I guess little kids might like it.” Usually, with any new LeapFrog toy, she will at least show some interest. After she tossed it aside, I decided to play around with it and – honestly – I thought it was slightly better than ok, but not the coolest thing LeapFrog has ever come out with. (Keep reading because things do get better!)
I played around with the LeapBand for a few more days, and I’m glad I did. Not only did I learn a few things by playing with it, but I learned a TON by watching a few different online video reviews.
Cool LeapBand Facts:
*It’s the first activity tracker for kids! I see people wearing activity trackers all the time and hear about how cool they are. I’ve always kind of wanted one, but haven’t actually bought one yet. If you were a “fit band” type of family, and you had a young, 4-7 year old, child… wouldn’t it be cool to have a an activity tracker just for the kids? You can even connect it to the computer to track data and play with the settings.
*It visually shows activity done throughout the day. There is a little bar that colors itself in as you move. The more you move, the more it lights up. It encourages kids to move and be active!
*The activity challenges are pretty cute. I think I might need to put this band on the wrist of a few of my kindergarten students. I can just see it now – sitting in Writer’s Workshop and all of a sudden I hear, “Jump like a kangaroo!” I can name a handful of my little friends who would LOVE (and need) one of these!
*It doubles as a watch. I had trouble with this feature at first. For some reason, it wouldn’t let me set the time. I finally noticed that I had checked a box on the computer setting that wasn’t allowing me to set the time. Not only is it an activity tracker, but it’s also a watch, and it’s a personal pet you can take along with you all day long! How cute is that?
*There is a great app called Petathlon. You download the app on your phone, sign in with your email and LeapFrog password and you unlock new games to play that connect with your LeapBand. It gives you “fit” advice and tips along the way as well. It even connects with your LeapFrog Tablet!
To sum it up, at first I thought it was good product, but not great. After playing around, I’m thinking this is a keeper! For the price of $39.99, this is kind of awesome! It does SO much more than I expected. I really think I might try this out in my classroom with a few of my bouncy friends. Nice job LeapFrog! This new product is pretty cool. (And I’m sorry I doubted you momentarily!)