I remember when my oldest son was about six months old and it occurred to me that he didn’t really have any baby toys. He had stuffed animals and a few rattles, but nothing interactive with buttons and music. I made a trip to the local store and found a toy that I could hang on the crib with handy rubber straps. Featuring a butterfly, caterpillar and ladybug, it had music, sound effects and talking characters. Zackary absolutely loved it.
That toy was a LeapFrog toy and though I didn’t know it at the time, that was when we took the first step to becoming a LeapFrog family. In the years that followed, my boys have learned and played with countless LeapFrog infant and toddler toys, the Leapster Explorer, the Tag Reading System and every single LeapPad tablet.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when I was chosen as a member of the LeapFrog Mom Squad, since it would mean even more chances to experience the toys my boys have loved since they were babies. And sure enough, my very first LeapFrog package was one that had my youngest son Benjamin in paradise! Even better, these newest toys from LeapFrog are the perfect choice for building literacy skills, something my Grade 1 boy is going to be doing a lot of this year!
The LeapFrog Word Whammer was the first toy we tried, and Benjamin couldn’t get enough of playing with this innovative device once I had it out of the package. The device has three different games and five learning levels to encourage letter recognition and build spelling skills. By twisting the handle and then pushing it it, kids choose the correct letter needed for matching games or spelling words…all with a fun carnival theme! It was the perfect way for my budding reader to start understanding the relationship between letters and how words are formed. And Benjamin loved using the tickets he earned to buy accessories for the animals in the carnival!
Next up was a device that I was as excited about as my son…the brand new LeapPad Platinum and Imagicards! We already own a LeapPad Ultra and Benjamin has a large collection of games for the device, so I was happy that the cartridges still worked in the new LeapPad Platinum. Like the Ultra, the new LeapPad Platinum also features access to a huge online library of downloadable games, eBooks, videos and more. And with Wi-Fi access, two cameras, a video recorder, a rechargeable battery and kid-tough durability, it’s the perfect first tablet for kids and a great educational choice as well.
But what makes the LeapPad Platinum extra special is its new gaming option: LeapFrog Imagicards! These cards are activated with the LeapPad Platinum camera to unlock new games and characters on the tablet. Snapping selfies with his favourite characters and playing the online games is something that kept my son busy for hours. And I was happy to see it, since the games build reading and math skills!
But the best part is that the cards can be used offline to play learning games too! Benjamin is working hard at his reading this year, so the Letter Factory Adventures Imagicards were right at his level. He enjoyed sitting down with me to spell out words with me and it was a great way for us to spend some quality time together too. Of course, knowing my son was learning as we played was a great bonus! Even my oldest son Zackary had fun with the cards since the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Imagicards teach him new math!
Just as the LeapPad Platinum is backwards compatible with Benjamin’s other LeapPad games, the Imagicards are backwards compatible with other LeapPad tablets too! One of the many things that I’ve always loved about LeapFrog is that the company doesn’t make every new model of its products proprietary. Ensuring that kids can learn, whether with new games or with the ones they already have, is always the company’s main motivation when new gaming systems are released!
I’ve already seen my son’s letter and word recognition improve in the few weeks that he’s been playing with the LeapPad Platinum, LeapFrog Imagicards and Word Whammer. And since literacy is something that I believe is a key cornerstone to eventual educational excellence, I couldn’t be happier with these new toys. From preschool early learning concepts to more complex mathematical skills, LeapFrog is a master at making learning fun. Check out these great new literacy-building products for yourself and help your child develop a love of reading in a very fun way!