You know what Big wanted for Christmas last year? An iPad. You know what he wanted for his birthday this year? An iPad. You know what he didn’t get? An iPad. So do you know what he does? Beg to play with my iPhone.
He wants to play games. Take pictures. Make videos.
And now he can. No, we didn’t get him an iPad, but as a newly named LeapFrog Parent (whoo hoo!), I was sent a LeapsterGS to review. While we’ve been Leapster fans for years — both the boys enjoy a little game time in bed each night — the LeapsterGS is a whole new ballgame.
When Big saw it, he said, “That’s awesome! It looks like a DS.” Translation: LeapFrog just bought us another couple years of not having to navigate the world of “big kid” devices. The new sleek design with touchscreen interactivity, digital camera (which allows them to put their faces on characters in games), video recorder, voice recorder, and tilt technology (I’m sure there’s a fancier name for this, but it interacts as you shake/tilt/etc) is really a huge step up. Other than the resolution, it’s as good as playing with my iPhone it seems. Maybe even better because they have more apps and games than I’m willing to load on my phone (this is thanks in HUGE part to the fact that their Explorer cartridges still work in the new LeapsterGS — no need to re-buy them). (Though there is a new Phineas and Ferb game that has great math challenges, and you know how I heart P & F.)
While I don’t love the boys fighting over it, I do love that they can both play the same games, logged in as themselves, and be given age-appropriate challenges. And the technology tracks their progress to make it increasingly difficult. While Little does get frustrated from time to time (imagine that — a 3-year old getting frustrated), Big loves helping him (and by helping him I mean playing it for him).
So far Big has had a great time with the games he loves (Phineas and Ferb, Brave and NFL), along with a few apps (Escape of the Sillies — included, Squirrel Summertime Games, Kat’s Math-eriffic Magic Show, Busy Builder, and more). Little loves the Cars eBook and the Word World app where he can watch one of our favorite educational cartoons.
And the thing I love best? Well, that’s the fact that the kids are having fun and learning at the same time. I truly credit our wealth of LeapFrog toys, the Tag reader, and our Leapster Explorers for teaching our kids really amazing skills. (You know, like reading, writing, arithmetic. Yes, really.) Every time I watch my boys play a game, I’m amazed by the science facts they know, the math concepts they’ve grasped, and the ease with which they try new things — all with me still being the good guy, not the mean mom forcing them to “work” to learn.
And the best news? If you leave a comment before Wednesday, September 5th about what your family would enjoy about the new LeapsterGS, you’ll be entered for a chance to win your own LeapsterGS and a game cartridge. The winner will be selected at random.
So, tell me, what do you think?
Just in case you were wondering… The LeapsterGS is $69.99 and game cartridges are about $25. You can also download apps and eBooks for $5 and up. The rechargeable battery pack is definitely worth the extra $39.99 (though I wish it came with the device!).
Disclosure: As a LeapFrog Parent, I was sent a LeapsterGS and a couple game cartridges for review. All opinions are truly my own. I’m a huge fan of LeapFrog and the new LeapsterGS.