Monday, October 20, 2014

Using the #LeapPad3 on vacation

We just returned home from #BeachesMoms, the Social Media on the Sand conference hosted by Beaches Resorts, Turks and Caicos. The event was sponsored by brand leaders including LeapFrog, Playskool, Party City, HP, Land's End, Certain Dri, and many more.

The kind folks at LeapFrog were generous enough to gift a LeapPad3 and one Explorer game to the social media moms who brought children along on the Beaches adventure. They said it would be handy to have on a long flight... they were right.

Normally, my daughter begs for my phone or the tablet, but I am often catching up on work, writing, or trying to conserve the battery. Thanks to a LeapPad3 of her very own, she was entertained and barely made a peep.

Amelia is 6 1/2 years old and a super smart kid. She enjoys learning games and puzzles, as well as reading anything she can get her eyeballs on. I was not sure if the LeapPad3 games would be too "young" for her, but they do a great job of categorizing all of the apps by age and skill. I was able to choose from math games, puzzle games, creativity projects, and more.

Here, Amelia tells us a bit about her LeapPad3 (she was nervous but proud to do a video review of her own!)

So, kids think it is fun and they enjoy videos and games - not surprising! My daughter also likes the attached stylus so she won't lose it, and she loves that the LeapPad3 fits easily in a backpack.

Mama's review of the LeapPad3:

Ease of use. 
Battery life.

 Durability -- Kids will be kids and they drop things. They drop things often. The LeapPad3 has only been with us for a few weeks, but I have to admit it has hit the floor at least a couple times. However, it has proven itself to be quite durable. The LeapPad3 does not need a special case like an ordinary tablet, it is built for children and therefore withstands the daily abuse a child can throw at it.

Ease of use -- Except for an initial few minutes of set-up, I did not need the instructions. The LeapPad3 is intuitive, colorful, and very easy to use. Kids these days have a knack for technology, and Amelia picked it up and used it right away. The LeapPad games are very good at providing step-by-step tutorials at the beginning with cute graphics and demonstrations. My child did not ask me for help; not even once.

"Smarts" -- Tablet games and YouTube videos can range from mind-numbing to raunchy to educational. The very first thing I noticed when loading Amelia's LeapPad3 with activities was that each and every app was created with learning in mind. I was able to select games that merged entertainment with some tutoring on her current school subjects, like math and spelling. The games are cute and colorful with fun graphics so she doesn't mind (or even notice) that she is practicing crucial school subjects. There are also purely entertainment games (like Stretchy Monkey), but even those combine a bit of problem solving with hand-eye coordination.

Safety -- The included LeapPad3 LeapSearch app also has pre-loaded videos. When Amelia first discovered this, she exclaimed, "I have my own YouTube now!". Unlike YouTube, however, the videos on the LeapPad3 are 100% child safe.  Bring on the cat funnies!

Battery life -- The battery on the LeapPad3 lasts a long time! Unlike my cell phone that tries to die halfway through the day, the LeapPad3 was still going strong after buses, planes, and automobiles. I charged it only one time, overnight, during the entire long weekend vacation.

One thing to note, however, LeapFrog apps are not priced like other apps on other tablets. Initially I felt like the LeapFrog apps were quite expensive. But I purchased a few to get ready for travel and once I saw the quality and length of the games and activities, I understood. Most other tablet apps are full of ads or they trick you into buying and then cut off game advancement until you fork over more money for the "full" version. Several cheap tablet apps even have errors (tell me how misspelling helps my child to learn?). All LeapPad apps are high-quality, advertisement-free, and full versions with 20, 30, even more levels. They are educational video games, not dinky apps.

LeapPad3 is recommended for ages 3 to 9 and I would agree with that. I call it "mama-approved!", especially for children who travel. It keeps children entertained - and even learning - while on the go.

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Note: Our family received a LeapPad3 and Sesame Street game in order to facilitate this review, as part of a promotional program with LeapFrog and BSM Media. As always, all opinions are 100% mine.
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