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Leap Frog Monsters University Review

I can’t even begin to tell you how giddy I get when the nice people from Leap Frog ask me to review their products!  As a mom and teacher, I have always been a huge fan.  I use their products on a daily basis in my classroom and my kids have been getting games, movies, Tag Readers, Leapsters, and Leap Pads since they were little.

I told my kids that they new Monsters University book and game were on their way and my daughter suddenly developed a desire to check the mail everyday.  I came downstairs one afternoon to find this little mess on the table.  Apparently, the package didn’t fit in the mailbox so the mailman dropped it off at our house.  My daughter read who it was from and tore into it.  So much for waiting until mom can get a few pictures first!

She went for the LeapPad game first.  Her favorite things to do are create her own monster, take photos and turn them into monsters, and make the monsters scream.  She also likes the maze game.  Now, I know these all sound like silly little games, with not much learning involved, but those people at Leap Frog are just so smart.

You see, I was lucky enough to be able to sit in on a webinar where the developers actually explained the development process, the curriculum and objectives they are focused on, and the rationale behind several decisions.  I can’t even tell you how cool that was!  Go ahead…call me a total geek when it comes to learning tools and education, but I really enjoyed being able to listen to the developers and then be able to ask questions.

After about 20 minutes of game play, my daughter moved onto the Monsters University book and Tag Reader.  I LOVE the Tag Readers.  I especially love that they are multi-level.  Kids can listen to the story, read part, or read the whole book while pointing only to unknown words.  In my kindergarten class we use Tag Readers during our “listen to reading” time.

The book was beautiful.  My daughter even commented on the bright colors.  She read the book from cover to cover, using the pen to point to words she couldn’t read.  She loved the story and then went back to explore the book a bit further.  You can even play games, learn vocabulary, and work on comprehension with the Tag books and pens.

The only downfall we had was the 3D glasses.  You don’t have to wear the glasses.  The book looks just like a normal book without the glasses.  But, the glasses were there, so of course she wanted to use them.  The problem was that she already wears glasses and she was getting frustrated because the 3D glasses didn’t fit over the top of her regular glasses.  Then, they kept falling off.  Finally, I suggested that we tape the 3D glasses to the regular glasses, but she hated that idea too.  I gave in and let her take her reading glasses off and just wear the 3D.

When my daughter was done, I tried the glasses and checked out the book for myself.  I really did not like the fuzziness of the words with the glasses on.  I asked my daughter if it bothered her eyes and she said it didn’t, but I really didn’t like it at all. I loved the book without the glasses though!

We’ve come back to these books and games several times over the past week or so.  It makes me so happy that she ENJOYS this time!  My son would rather pull weeds, clean the bathroom, or clean the bunny cage before he would pick up a book.  My daughter was starting to follow in his footsteps, but she loves a good game!  I think the Tag Readers are just the motivation she needs.  Now, if only Leap Frog would develop some Tag Reader chapter books for 3rd graders!  Oooh, now wouldn’t that be fun!!!

Overall, I give the Monsters University book and game 2 thumbs up.  I really didn’t like the 3D glasses, but my daughter didn’t seem bothered by them.  I  LOVED hearing about the educational decisions that were made when developing these games.  I had all the confidence in the world in Leap Frog products before attending the webinar.  Now, I’m even more convinced that those Leap Frog people are brilliant!

Happy reading friends!
(For the record, Leap Frog sent these items to me free of charge.  I was asked to try them out with my kids and share my thoughts.  Leap Frog provided compensation in the form of their products, but the opinions and responses are my own.)

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