I wanted my 5 year old to have a great experience in Kindergarten so with the help of LeapFrog, we’ve given her a head start with the LeapStart! The LeapStart is a fun, interactive, talking set of books that cover everything from reading and math to science and problem solving! I love that my 5 year old who is on the verge of reading, but not quite there yet can independently play and learn without needing my assistance! There are so many options and features that I could blog for 3 days straight and still not completely explain the possibilities with this system! I’ll do my best to provide a brief overview, because I know how valuable time can be when you are a parent of little ones!
There are two LeapStart systems. One for ages 2-4 and the other for ages 5-7. Each system is designed with over 400 re-playable games that are all about school, life and thinking through challenges. The system I am sharing with you today is the one for ages 5-7. That being said my 9 year old has just as much fun with the LeapStart as my 5 year old does! The LeapStart itself has a latch to keep it closed for easy travel. Just press the latch and open the LeapStart. It also connects to your computer via USB (included). This is how you get the “books” loaded onto your LeapStart.
On the backside of the LeapStart is a carrying pocket for an extra book.
When you open the LeapStart it has fun games printed on the inside. One is a music challenge and one is a cooking challenge. Depending on which button you push the game is easier or trickier. For the music challenge you listen to the instrument and click on the correct one and see how many you can get right in a certain time frame. If they get it wrong an encouraging voice says, try again!
It came with the “Let’s Play” book that gives you 2 games out of each book. There are 16 books per level that you can purchase separately. Each book starts the same explaining how the book works and how to play.
Your child can play on any page they want, but if they start at the beginning and go through each page the activities build on top of each other. For example here is the STEM book. The STEM book caught my eye first because I had just come back from a cub scout round table meeting and they were talking about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) This first game explains that robots are made of parts that when put together make one robot. When you click the green star in the lower right corner of the book, it asks you to find all 4 heads in a certain amount of time. If you want to stay on that page and play again by pushing the green star it will ask you to find 4 robot feet. It explains each option and why it would be good or bad. It really creates a thinking process for the person playing. If you want to play a bit more advanced game you click the orange star button. When my daughter did this, It asked her to create a robot and instructed her to choose a body. Since she knew the pros and cons about all the parts she was able to build a robot for a specific reason. It was fun to watch her little mind problem solve.
When you flip the page the next activity builds on top of the previous one. On the left page robot feet are reviewed. On the right page Hamlet the scientist for this book has completed some tests and made a chart. If you click the green star it asks you analyze that data. My 5 year old wasn’t so sure what it meant for her to do, so she clicked the blue light bulb in the lower right corner and it gave her a hint. She was then able to figure out what she needed to do and was able to analyze the data. It makes it so easy to have independent learning and play time! She was asked to find which robot foot did the best on the rough terrain. She looked at each foot, found the correct category, and chose the one that had the most number of heads.
Then the next game was about the arms/hands of the robot. You are probably getting the picture. This is just 4 pages in ONE of the books. I can’t possibly tell you all the possibilities. There are endless hours of educational learning time with the LeapStart!
Along the way your child earns rewards. They are instructed when and where to place the rewards. Each time my daughter earns a sticker there is a very loud celebration. She thrives on recognition and LeapFrog made it even more fun for her to earn stickers!
There is a fair bit of initial set up, so if you are giving this as a gift, I’d recommend taking it out and getting it connected to LeapFrog Connect before wrapping it up. I recently had to wipe my computer and didn’t have LeapFrog Connect on it anymore. It took about 15 minutes to sign up for an account, load it to my computer, and install 2 of the books. After her birthday, when I loaded the other 2 books it took less than 3 minutes to load both. So I am not sure if my connection was bad the first night or what the deal was. It comes with a quick start guide and the USB connector to get it to connect to your computer. My daughters have loved playing with this in the three weeks we have had it. Sometimes you get a toy and it’s “old” in no time. This is loaded with so many features and options that ALL of them have played it nearly every day that we’ve had it.
I was watching my friends daughter who has autism. She was having a hard time with her Mom leaving her at my house. I gave her the LeapStart and for 2 hours she played and played and played with it. She began to mimic words from it and dance to the music to it. She specifically liked the food challenge that was built in on the LeapStart and looking at the stickers in the rewards section!
The LeapStart sells at Walmart, Toysrus, Target or here on Amazon for $34.99. We are big LeapFrog fans in our home and this is another great addition to their line of products! If I were to give a rating, I’d say 5 out of 5 stars. I have NO complaints about this toy! It’s fun, educational, and my kids love to play it! Who if your family would benefit from the LeapStart? Leave me a comment below letting me know!
Disclosure: I received the product mentioned above so I could review it and share an honest opinion with you. Regardless of this arrangement I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions expressed above are my own. The amazon link above is affiliate. Thanks for reading!