Gift Guide 2016: LeapStart

Disclosure: LeapFrog Provided me with a LeapStart System and some books to facilitate my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review.

I am thrilled to see that LeapFrog has re-tooled one of their classic learning toys for preschoolers and toddlers.

I say it often in this space, but I’ve been at this parenting gig for a long time–20 years, to be exact! I am thrilled to say that Leapfrog toys have been with me every step of they way, from a caterpillar who shared a crib with my son and taught him the ABCs to the Epic that lets my daughters enjoy having a tablet just like their older brothers but is age appropriate for them!

When I was given the chance to review the new LeapStart, I was excited. The LeapStart is a re-tooling of the very first Leap Pads, which were such a joy to my sons in the days before screens.

While I do not personally have a big problem with screen time and kids–I have been a digital pioneer and I grew up close enough to the Silicon Valley that screens have always been a part of my life. However, not everyone is as comfortable as I am with screen time.

The LeapStart learning system spans four levels. Level One is for toddlers ans pre-schoolers, and Level 2 for the pre-kindergarten set. Level 3 is Kindergarten and Level 4 is for First Grade. There are two different base models which vary a bit in stylus size and the unit designed for younger children has handles.

There are several books (sold separately) which system -wide span 400 different skills from ABC’s to STEM skills like coding.

There is some initial set-up as the audio for each of the books needs to be downloaded from the Leapfrog connect site. But the bonus is, unlike the early LeapPads, there isn’t cartridge to keep track of alongside the book.

This is an affordable little system and it is easily customized to match your children’s interest. My girls really enjoy the Kids World Atlas, with Global Awareness. They have had fun learning some basic phrases in six different languages!

LeapStart

My daughter enjoying the Kid’s World Atlas

Each book also has a sticker section in the back where they are prompted to place stickers in a chart as they achieve certain skills. My girls are very motivated by such rewards, so they have found this to be a fun challenge!

Something that I really love about LeapFrog products is that they are designed by real educators, and as such, there is a good process in place for imparting skills in the right way, at the right level. This continues with the LeapStart Learning System.

I recommend this system for families who have young children and prefer a more analog approach to learning, rather than with tablets or computer games. There is a lot of open ended learning, and the size of the unit ensures that it is not easily misplaces (like our Tag Readers often are!)

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And some of our favorite books:

 

 

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