We’re recent converts to the Leapfrog range of educational games and toys. A couple of weeks ago, we road-tested the LeapPad Platinum, which will be perfect for us while we’re travelling. And we were lucky enough to be asked to try out another new system from Leapfrog: the LeapTV.
The LeapTV is targeted at three to eight-year olds. My daughter is four years old and for her, the LeapTV has clear advantages over other interactive gaming systems:
- all the games are approved and/or designed by educators, so that the children are learning while they’re having fun
- as with the LeapPad, there are very tight parental controls. The LeapTV connects to wi-fi to download new games and upgrades, but nothing can be done until a parent logs in, using a four-digit code.
- the controls are all designed to be easy for young children to use. So the controller, which converts to a pointer for some games, is chunky and robust.
Setup of the LeapTV was fairly straightforward: it comes with a short pamphlet describing how to connect the camera and console to the television. Once this was done, I followed on-screen instructions to register online, set the parental password and download the built-in apps.
Then, it was over to my daughter, who set up her own user account – you can have multiple accounts on the LeapTV, so my son created one too. Users choose an avator from a range of cute characters, and pick a background ‘world’ for their avator.
A starter game, Pet Play World, comes with registration; it’s useful for helping children learn to use the pointer, and how to move around in front of the camera to play the game. It’s also sweet: players choose an animal for a pet, pick a name, kit out their homes in furniture, and even wash them, as you can see in the interactive game my daughter’s playing in the video below (check out her excited smiles and giggles!)
We were also sent two games: Bubble Guppies and Sofia the First (both sold separately). These came as cartridges to be loaded into the console, and the games both began with a little song from the TV show. My daughter’s still working her way through these, and Pet Play World, as there are lots in the games to keep young children happy: colourful cartoon characters, counting, letters, drawing and vocabulary skills (eg. there’s a game where children have to pick out the ‘library’, ‘grocery store’ and ‘town hall’). There’s a definite slant towards American English, and my daughter found the pointer a little trickier to wield in the cartridge games than in Pet Play World, but overall, she was thrilled with the LeapTV. At seven, her older brother was starting to outgrow some of the LeapTV games (there are 100+ of them), but he still likes to have a play every now and then.
Do you have a interactive gaming system for your children? What do you think of them?