LeapFrog Epic Android-Based Tablet (+ Giveaway!)

Whether we like it or not, tablets have become a part of children’s culture.  Kids are drawn to the touch-interfaces and want devices that function just like their parents’ gadgets do.  We’ve certainly been through our share over here, with several different variations sent our way for editorial consideration.  My seven-year-old can power down a device with one quick “time’s up!” reminder, but my five-year-old son appears to be hardwired to this sort of play.  It’s a challenge to have him shut off a game without some sort of struggle.  And that’s all the more reason for me to be vigilant about content, device parameters and kid-safe web environments.

LeapFrog, a long-term brand partner for us, recently launched the LeapFrog Epic. It’s a tablet for kids that runs on Android, and it’s been such a big hit that we had to share the news before our holiday gift guide comes out and offer a reader giveaway!

Tablet for Kids

With a 7″ touchscreen my kids noticed right away that the LeapFrog Epic looks and feels like a real tablet.  It’s my favorite device for the kids because unlike the other tablets in our home the LeapFrog Epic has robust parental controls, exclusive age-appropriate educational content, and a kid-safe environment.

The device accommodates three separate user profiles, which each child can completely customize with their favorite games, art, scenes, characters and more. My kids enjoy scrolling around their custom built (and completely different) cities, collecting stickers, and shifting from day to night.  They’ve been having great fun with the amazing camera that captures quality images and video, and the voice recorder alongside the Mad Libs type game.  The kids can even check the weather on the device right here in NYC!

LeapFrog Epic Giveaway

The Android functionality is perfect for kids since it doesn’t have any in-app purchases and advertisements.  The device comes loaded with more than 20 installed fantastic apps and the option to add popular Android offerings like Fruit Ninja Math Academy and Doodle Jump.  Like all LeapFrog learning games, the LeapFrog Epic intuitively adjusts levels to accommodate for the child’s growing skills.

LeapFrog Epic Tablet

I appreciate the ability to set time parameters along with the reassurance that all content is engaging and appropriate (unlike some of the mindless garbage that crept up on our other tablets).  The Leap Search browser is incredibly fun for the kids to explore kid-approved web content based on my parental parameters.  And as the kids grow and become more tech savvy, the Epic can be set to open the web – making it a device that truly grows with the child.

Win It! We’ve partnered with LeapFrog to giveaway a LeapFrog Epic ($140 value) to one lucky reader. Enter via the rafflectopter below and check back to see if you’re name pops up as the winner! Best of luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’re LeapFrog brand partners but opinions as always are my own. Thanks for reading!

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New From LeapFrog: LeapPad Platinum

My kids have grown up with LeapFrog products.  The educational content produced by their solid team of learning experts is unlike anything we’ve found elsewhere.  Their award-winning LeapPad recently had an upgrade; here’s what we love about the new LeapPad Platinum.

LeapFrog-LeapPad-Platinum-Tablet-Review

  • Large Screen: The LeapPad Platinum boasts a 7-inch, high resolution, multi-touch capacity screen.  Kids that have had adult tablets in their hands will love the similar feel (with an unbreakable, lightweight body).

LeapFrog-LeapPad-Platinum-Review

  • LeapFrog Imagicard: The new interactive Imagicard experience utilizes special cards to magically bring characters to life by snapping pictures with the device.  Kids can partake in Imagicard play on older LeapPads tablets as Imagicard is backwards compatible (with the exception of the LeapPad 1).  Kids can still engage with the games if the collectible cards are lost and play other games with them off-line as well.

LeapFrog-LeapPad-Platinum-Imagicard

  • Included Apps + Vast Library of Games, Apps, eBooks and Videos: Like other LeapFrog products the new tablet comes with ten included apps, giving kids a great starter pack of games right out of the box.  My kids love playing Photo Fun Ultra and Pet Pad Party.  In addition, the new LeapPad Platinum provides access to over 1,000 educator-approved games, apps, eBooks and videos in age-appropriate ways.

LeapFrog-LeapPad-Platinum

  • Kid-Safe Web: LeapSearch, the proprietary kid-safe web browser gives parents peace of mind allowing kids to safely explore content that interests them.  Parameters are set by LeapFrog’s team of learning experts and can be easily expanded in the parental settings.

Visit LeapFrog.com to learn more.

Product provided.  Opinions, as always, are my own.  View all our LeapFrog reviews here.  

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LeapFrog MEGA Giveaway

The cold mid-winter has brought us bouts of cabin fever, and we can’t think of a better time to team up with our friends at LeapFrog to offer an amazing LeapFrog Mega Giveaway!  LeapFrog is a valued long term brand partner – we’ve been working with them since 2012 because their products are fantastic, and we can stand behind their educational curriculum and kid-tested fun.

We are excited to have so many LeapFrog goodies to giveaway, with a total value of over $500!  We’ve tested these products, and they are among our favorites. Check out our previous reviews of the LeapTV and LeapBands.

LeapFrog Giveaway

One Lucky winner will receive:

  • One LeapFrog LeapTV
  • Three LeapFrog LeapTV games
  • One LeapFrog LeapPad3
  • Five LeapFrog LeapPad Games
  • Two LeapFrog LeapBands

Enter to win via the below widget.  This giveaway is open to US only, and entry methods will be verified.  Good luck friends!
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Holiday Gift Guide + Giveaway

The Holidays are quickly approaching, and we’ve rounded up some of our favorite gifts!  We love giving gifts and spreading the love with great giveaways from some of our favorite brand partners. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for an exciting giveaway from LeapFrog!  Gifts that give backWorld Vision: There is nothing quite like gifting meaningful gifts that give back, and we are steadfast supporters of World Vision.  Wold Vision has well over 250  life changing gifts to select from, allowing the giver to bring urgent help and lasting hope to a child in need – in the name of a loved one.  In addition, World Vision has a lovely selection of handcrafted gifts to give.  For gifts with incredible impact, including sponsoring a child in need, look no further than World Vision.

Beautiful and Beloved:  This lovely boutique supports global job creation in the fair trade industry through the sale of items created by survivors of slavery.  All purchases help to empower survivors of slavery – and make for beautiful gifts that teach true giving.

kissy kissy and little me pajamas sigg waterbottle red bubble mugLittle Me: Special Holiday pajamas are a sweet tradition to wake-up in on Christmas day.  Give the little ones a new pair of comfy and classic holiday plaid PJ’s from Little Me.  They will make you nostalgic of your own childhood!

Kissy Kissy: We swooned when we learned that the iconic Children’s brand Kissy Kissy extended their incredibly soft jammie line to kids!  Your kids will never want to take them off!

SIGG: We continue to purchase SIGG water bottles every year because of their durability, functionality, and safe materials. Ask Santa to help replace the bottles lost in the school-shuffle with a new bottle filled with a tasty beverage on Christmas morning.

Redbubble: We adore the artistic selection created by Redbubble’s  independent designers.  While the kids are enjoying morning juice, gift the adults a new mug filled with great coffee or spiked eggnog. 🙂

Holiday gifts for HerJulie Brown:  If you’d like to wow her with that perfect frock.  Julie Brown is your girl! We think that the Harmony dress is absolute perfection and if she’s into twinning with her mini mini – Julie Brown offers pint sized mommy-and-me matching collections as well.

Hydropeptide: We’ve been lucky enough to sample several skin care products from the Hydropeptide line for well over a year now and are officially obsessed.  You can’t go wrong with the anti wrinkle polish and plump peel or the purifying mask.

PRIV: This incredible beauty and wellness app brings a plethora of services to you (at home, office, etc!) for incredibly affordable prices.  They recently hooked me up for the American Music Awards in L.A. – and I am absolutely singing their praises! Look out for my full review soon.

holiday gifts for himEddie Bauer: We love gifting warmth and coziness and always happen to find it at Eddie Bauer.  We happen to love many of their products for men including their great layering options, accessories, and slippers.

the best holiday gifts for kidsTransformers: You can’t go wrong with a morphing action figure and the new Transformers are better than ever!

Home Grown Books: We believe in the power of books for every Holiday and love the great collections from Brooklyn-based Home Grown Books.

Isabelle Grace Jewelry: Personalized jewelry is an incredibly special gift, and we adore the delicate hand-stamped options from Isabelle Grace Jewelry.

Li’l Woodzeez: Woodland creatures are all the rage.  How cute is this Family Treehouse Playset and Owl Family from Target?  We love the affordable pricing and creative play options.

Little Live Pets Bird Cage: Our kids have a hankering for pets of their own, and the fun Little Live Pets Bird Cage toy comes with a special bird that responds to your child’s touch!  Your kiddo will get a kick out of recoding their own voice and having the bird repeat it back!

Downtown Bookworks: We adore the creative selection of children’s books from NYC based Downtown Bookworks. With interesting book bonuses that include things like a bug in resin – their book collection will certainly keep your gift recipient engaged.

Beados:  Kids will love watching Beados magically transform together with water.  And the Beados Quick Dry Design Station provides a designated spot to make, spray and dry fun Beados designs!  We like the quick dry fan, special bead pod storage, design tray, scoop pen and 500 Beados included in the design station.

Crayola Virtual Design Pro: Quality art supplies are a must for children, and the Crayola Virtual Design Pro set gives kids their own sophisticated set of supplies.  The great Virtual Design Pro sets allow kids to decorate their own car or clothing designs and watch them come to life in the included app!

Our Generation: Realistic, large dolls are all the rage right now.  The amazing Our Generation collection from Target offers a great variety of dolls and accessories for reasonable and affordable prices.

family holiday giftsMakey Makey: Makey Makey is a revolutionary kit that will get the entire family excited about STEM and engineering.  It allows you to create objects into a game controller or computer key. We’ve had great fun making play-doh and banana drums. Best of all, the parents will enjoy it as much as the children!

My Monopoly: You can’t go wrong with family board games and My Monopoly morphs the iconic game into a personalized one including the option to personalize player photos!

LeapFrog Leap TV GiveawayLeapFrog LeapTV:  This educational, active video game has been all the rage in our home, and we think it is the big gift of the season! Check our full review here.

WIN IT: We are so excited to partner with LeapFrog again this Holiday season to giveaway a LeapFrog Leap TV to one lucky person (150 value)!  Enter via the rafflecopter below.  Please note that this contest is open to US only, and entries are verified.  Wishing you a beautiful Holiday!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some samples received, however, opinions as always, are my own.  Special thanks to Time To Play Magazine, The Big Toy Book, Momtrends and KidzVuz  for inclusion at their holiday events.

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LeapFrog Leap TV – Educational, Active Video Gaming for Kids

I’ve been super reluctant to allow a video game system into our home –  but the kids often inquire about the video games and character-stories gleaned from friends.  Over the summer, I met with LeapFrog and had a hands on go with their new Leap TV.  I had fun playing with the transforming controller in hand, and was pleased with the educational fun packed into every game.

LeapFrog Leap TV

The LeapFrog  Leap TV, ($149.99) designed for kiddos ages 3 to 8, is an active video gaming system saturated with the sort of educational content that parents expect from LeapFrog.  And like all LeapFrog learning devices, school grades can be set to remain educationally appropriate for the selected profile while intuitively leveling up or down as needed.

To say my kids love their LeapTV is an understatement.  And there is absolutely no couch-potatoing with mouthes mindlessly hung open – as LeapTV play always looks like this:

educational video game for kids

The three play mode options keep things interesting, especially the motion sensing camera that allows kids to morph onto the big screen.  In this play mode, the children’s bodies become the controller allowing them to become fully immersed in the game as they see themselves jumping and dancing.  The controller is perfect for little hands to navigate and operates in two modes that function like a classic control or pointer, for endless educational and play options.  The kids love swinging the controller like a bat in the sports game while we appreciate the educational content woven through each game.

I’ve seen my four-year-old correctly identify double digits in LeapFrog Kart Racing and work on reading in Sofia The First.  The Spider Man game helps to teach reading and letter identification – while Jake and the Never Land Pirates is packed with Math.  The Dance and Learn game is among my favorites to watch as the kids jam out while working on basic math.  The kids love playing the sports game with familiar LeapFrog characters and nine active games.

The kiddos jump, dance, karate-chop and so much more, in exciting gaming-play rich in LeapFrog’s comprehensive curriculum. We recommend swinging for that second controller, ($30) so kids can play many games like LeapFrog Kart racing together.  If you’re still looking for that big present to wow this Holiday – the Leap TV is it!

Find all of our detailed LeapFrog reviews here.  Thank you LeapFrog for partnering with us again this Holiday season.  Opinions as always are my own.

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LeapFrog LeapBand – Activity Band for Kids

Many of our adult friends are hooked on their wearable activity tracking devices – and we’ve been curious about the new technology developed for children.

After meeting with LeapFrog over the summer to learn about the LeapFrog LeapBand ($39.99) – a wrist-device that combines fun, health education and fitness – we were interested in seeing our kid testers’ input.  Created for children ages 4 to 7 – our littles, ages 4 and almost 7, are in the ideal age range.LeapFrog LeapBand

My almost seven-year-old was able to read the instructions and successfully get both LeapFrog LeapBands running on her own. After I connected to LeapFrog Connect, the kids were off to customize their virtual pets (similar to the ones in LeapFrog’s Pet Pad game) and earn reward to unlock fun features.

LeapFrog Kids Activity Tracker

I brought the bands to school pick-up the other day – just as the angst over walking home in the November cold set it.  After their beloved unicorn and monkey (pick from one of eight pets) were sleeping all day – they needed activity with their caretakers!  Before I knew it, the kiddos were running home – swimming like a fish, and jumping like a Kangaroo – determined to earn more points to play games.  The pre-loaded challenges (14 included, with 40 more available for free via LeapFrog Connect) have encouraged the kids to be active in captivating and fun ways.

LeapBand Review

I can’t help but be pleased with hearing the LeapBand echo nutritional facts when the kids collect and prepare healthy meals for the pets in the Pet Chef game.  I often remind them of the importance of protein at every meal, and it’s great to have healthy messages reinforced in fun ways.

According to the CDC, in 2012, more than one-third of our Nation’s children and adolescents were overweight or obese.  The former public health researcher in me would like to see the effects of implementing a LeapBand healthy education program in targeted communities. The immediate and long-term health implications of childhood obesity are serious  – and we’re happy to see LeapFrog develop fun activity-encouraging products, in non-pressured, positive ways.

Stay tuned for a giveaway this week on our Facebook fan page.

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