LeapFrog LeapPad1 Explorer Review: a Fun Way for Kids to Learn
We are so used to tablets that we don’t really stop to think when we see kids and teenagers with iPads. But what about younger children, between the age of 4 and 8? A tablet for grown-ups is not an option for them. Well, there is a tablet for them too – LeapFrog LeapPad1 Explorer Learning Tablet. And it’s a great tablet to help your kids learn in a fun way.
LEAPFROG LEAPPAD1 EXPLORER RATING:
EDUCATIONAL VALUE: 4/5
LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer is a tablet that is specifically designed for children between 4 and 8 years old. And the best bit is that it’s not exactly a toy. While LeapPad does include games, its main purpose is to help a child learn while playing. The tablet included more than 100 educational games, book, apps, and videos to help your child learn to read, and get introduced to maths and science in a fun way.
LeapPad Explorer has the look and feel of a real tablet PC with one obvious difference – its child-friendly design. The LeapFrog tablet has a 5″ touchscreen with 480 x 272 resolution. The colors are bright and the screen is quite responsive. It can be controlled either with fingers or with a stylus which comes with the tablet. LeapPad Explorer has 2 GB of internal memory, a cartridge slot, AC adapter, audio jack, and can be connected to a computer via USB. In addition to this, the LeapPad has a 640 x 480 resolution capability camera that can shoot both photos and videos, and a microphone. The tablet uses 4AA batteries and they last for approximately 8 hours.
LeapPad Explorer is pretty similar to Leapster Explorer in terms of what children can do. They can read eBooks, play learning games, develop their drawing and animation skills, listen to and play music, learn to write, watch videos, and play with flash cards. The tablet has some pre-installed apps and allows access to 100+ games, books and apps. In addition to that, LeapPad supports all Leapster Explorer game cartridges, eBooks and videos.
LeapPad Explorer doesn’t have all apps and games pre-installed, which have to be downloaded separately. However, it does have some apps and games. They are:
- PetPad – and app that helps kids learn to draw letters while teaching their virtual pet some tricks.
- ArtStudio – an app that lets children express their creativity and use stamps, shapes, pattern brushes, pencils, erasers and so on. Basically, PhotoShop for kids.
- Story Studio: All About Me – a great app that lets kids create their own book with photos, audio and video. The final result can be uploaded online and shared on Facebook.
- Camera and video recorder software – your kid will be able to take photos and make movies.
- An application of your choice.
Other apps, games and books come either as a download or on a cartridge.
LeapPad Explorer does have a lot of fun educational games. And the eBooks that come with it are very useful because they have three levels of text, there are three modes that help the kids learn to read – listen to the story, read along, and read and explore different activities. In addition to that, there are comprehension activities that come with each eBook. However, there is a certain con – a lot of the apps are expensive and don’t offer good value for money. For example, the Train game costs $7.50 and an average child can complete it in about 20 minutes. And some of the games, especially the maths games, aren’t very well thought-out in terms of teaching methodology. So you have to think twice before you download an app or a game for your LeapPad.
Ease of use
LeapPad is very easy to use and even younger kids (3 year-olds) figure out how to use it very quickly.
To be honest, the LeapPad is pretty slow. And that’s natural because it’s not a full-blown tablet PC like and iPad or a Galaxy Tab. Kids don’t mind it being a bit sluggish, but their parents will surely notice it. Just keep in mind that even though it’s a tablet PC, it’s more like a toy and it’s definitely not a business device.
As I mentioned before, the LeapPad1 Explorer uses AA batteries. While this is good because you can easily replace them, keep in mind that the device runs out of battery life pretty quickly, especially if your kid uses it a lot.
[box]The Verdict: LeapFrog LeapPad1 Explorer is a great device for younger children, as it can help them learn to read, write, count while playing fun games. The device is probably too boring for an 8-9 year old, though. So even though the manufacturer recommends it for children between 4 and 9, we’d say it’s more like 3-7.[/box]