LeapFrog Monsters University & LeapPad2/App {Giveaway}

School is officially out for summer and LeapFrog audio books and apps are being incorporated into Lucia’s summer learning. My children have been lucky enough to test out LeapFrog learning products for a year now, and although screen time is limited in my home, I’m happy with the educational entertainment that LeapFrog brings to my children’s learning journey.

Disney Pixar Monsters University is a huge box office hit, and Lucia has enjoyed testing out LeapFrog’s  Monsters University interactive book, in conjunction with LeapFrog’s TagReader (also works with the new LeapReader) and the Monsters University game cartridge/app (on her LeapPad2).

LeapFrog’s Monsters University interactive book (for ages 5-8 years), is unique in that it is LeapFrog’s first 3D book.  My daughter enjoys the book alone, but the addition of the 3D glasses makes the book even more captivating as the characters and effects literally jump off of the pages.  The games help to build logic, word recognition, position words, and reasoning skills.  Lucia has had so much fun with this book while building her reading comprehension and vocabulary skills.   The 3D element is definitely Lucia’s favorite component, and she likes being able to choose a personalized monster name.  I think that this is a great product for my five-year-old reader because she is able to touch challenging words with the TagReader and have them pronounced for her.  My 3 year-old-son also uses the  book, as the TagReader can be set to read the story for him.  I appreciate the advanced vocabulary that Lucia  has picked up from this book, including ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) and ligyrophobia (fear of loud noises).  We’ve been attaching the included 3D glasses to the back of the book with a paper clip, and haven’t managed to loose/break them yet.  I’m hoping that my kids will be able to take good care of the glasses as they do create an enriched experience.

LeapFrog Monsters University

Lucia also tested out LeapFrog Explorer Disney Pixar Monster University Learning Game on her LeapPad2 (also compatible with the Leapster Explorer).  I initially thought that she would be a bit bored with the repetition of the Scare Maze game; however I was wrong!   Lucia enjoys collecting pennants and coins to complete each level.  She also shows excitement when she finds souvenirs and earns scare cards.   The card matching portion was a breeze for her, but luckily the game has 24 levels and intuitively levels up in difficulty to  strengthen her problem-solving skills in a customized way.

Monsters University Scary Hairy Headphones c/o iHome Disney

Monsters University Scary Hairy Headphones c/o iHome Disney

My entire family is a bit obsessed with the Create Your Own Monster feature.  I uploaded this game to both of my kids LeapPads, and they have each created a Daddy Monster, complete with bizarre photos of my husbands face and his roaring voice.  Daddy  is able to scare us all day long via the touch of the LeapPad, even when he is away from us at work.  It’s hysterical, really.

I would never suggest using LeapFrog products as a substitute for one-on-one learning time with a parent.  I think that they are a phenomenal supplement. I’m happy that Mike and Sully’s Monster world is helping to keep learning incredibly fun in my home.  And I’m thrilled that the LeapFrog team is generous as always with another fantastic giveaway!

LeapFrog LeapPad2 Monsters University Giveaway

Win It: LeapFrog is giving away a LeapPad2 and a Monster’s University Learning Game (Downloadable App)  to one lucky reader.  Enter to win in the below rafflecopter.  This giveaway is open to US only, and all entry methods are verified. Best of luck to all!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

As a LeapFrog parent, LeapFrog provided me with learning products for review purposes.  iHome Disney provided me with Monsters University Scary Hairy Headphones.  As in all my reviews, all opinions in this post are my own.  To read my previous LeapFrog Reviews click on the label LeapFrog. 


LeapFrog LeapPad 2 & Mr. Pencil Ultra eBook {Giveaway}

When it comes to education and little people, I am a tremendous believer in unstructured play (often involving dirt and mess).  In fact, a few years ago, I was the sort of parent who shunned the majority of battery operated learning toys.  As my first child grew (as did my experiences in parenting) my perspective shifted a bit (along with some of my other parenting philosophies).  I’m still a huge proponent of learning through creative play, but also see how appropriate time with fun educational devices can enhance the learning process.

Over the past eight months, I’ve had the chance to review many LeapFrog products and learn about the extensive process of consumer and educational research involved in their product development. I am incredibly impressed with the LeapPad2 Explorer (and not just because I’ve been able to repo my iPad). I appreciate that it can be programmed to the child’s specific level, is virtually indestructible, and isn’t directly connected to the Internet (unlike the iPad and its strong temptation to solely YouTube).  The high educational quality of LeapFrog’s content is ingeniously presented in a fun and exciting way that my own children enjoy. 

Lucia has been quite empowered by taking on the “teacher” role while helping her little brother learn to use his LeapPad.  They are definitely not the sort of toys that are quickly forgotten about and left on a shelf.  

Our LeapPads recently made our (expected) hour long wait at our pediatrician’s office (while hungry!)  pretty painless.  The kiddos created and compared pictures in the art studio app and took care of their virtual pets in the Pet Pad writing app (both apps come free with the LeapPad 2).

Lucia also captured her own photos and video on her LeapPad 2, while taking in Petite Parade’s Kids Fashion Week in NYC from front row seating: 

I recently had an insider view of the makings of LeapFrog’s newest Ultra eBook Mr. Pencil and the Lost Colors of Doodleburg, through a teleconference with the eBook’s creation team.  Mr Pencil (created for ages 4 – 7) helps strengthen writing skills through various entertaining handwriting activities.  The handwriting components in Mr Pencil are sequenced in a developmentally appropriate way, teaching proper stroke order.   The writing activities begin with basic letter strokes (comprised of vertical and horizontal lines) and gradually move to letters comprised of curved and angled lines. 

As a parent, I appreciate that the game is customizable.  The reading component is auto-leveled with three different tiers, and the handwriting portions also have separate learning levels.  Thus catering to a wide range of learners, including some children who may be strong readers but need to build their writing skills..

The storyline  is definitely entertaining as the player must help Mr. Pencil and friends rescue the colors (representing creativity and imagination) form the (non-scary) villain Dr. Dull.  Lucia connected to Mr. Pencil immediately, and I’ve observed her taping on words to see their definition in an animated virtual dictionary.  As she has progressed on to the next level, she sees longer sentence structure and a more sophisticated vocabulary than the previous level.  Like all LeapFrog Learning games, the child becomes an integral part of the storyline, making it a fun adventure while building fundamental skills.

Win It!

Leapfrog is providing one lucky reader with a LeapPad 2 (in the winner’s choice of green or pink) and Mr. Pencil Ultra eBook (total MSRP $120).   Enter to win in my below rafflecopter.  This contest is open to US only and the winning entry will be verified.  Good luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Leap Frog provided me with a LeapPad 2 and a Mr. Pencil Ultra eBook for review purposes.  As in all my review, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.  To see my previous reviews of other LeapFrog Learning products, click on “LeapFrog” under my labels widget.  


LeapFrog’s Tag Reading System & Leap And The Lost Dinosaur Tag Book {Review}

In this space, I only share products that I can stand behind, would want my own children (or myself) to use, and be (what I perceive to be) of value to my readers.  I’m always excited to partner with LeapFrog and recently had the chance to review their Leap And The Lost Dinosaur Tag Book  in conjunction with  the Tag Reading System.  

My five year old daughter Lucia learned to read this past fall.  I’m still so amazed by this massive milestone and am so proud to see her budding confidence and interest in reading soar.  I work on academics with her daily and also believe in the learning that takes place during lots of creative, unstructured play.  I’m happy to have intuitive educational devices to use at her leisure, and the tag reading system gives Lucia an independent means to work on her reading skills in a captivating way disguised as play (it’s brilliant, really). 

With the touch of a quickly responsive stylus-like pen, Lucia can sound out individual words at her own pace, listen to an entire story, or hear specific facts through her Tag Reader.  LeapFrog carries a great selection of physical books (aimed for ages 4-8) that are brought to life after easily downloading the audio to a computer, to add to the Tag Reader’s internal memory via the included USB cable.

Leap and the Lost Dinosaur (aimed for ages 5-8) goes back to prehistoric days and includes facts about over 25 different dinosaurs.  It comes with 15 interactive playing cards (and an extra universal card in the event that cards are misplaced).  Luckily, the cards can be tucked into a designated pocket in the book and my children diligently put them away as the interactive card game is what they enjoy most.  What’s most impressive about my family’s experience with Leap and the Lost Dinosaur is the amount of advanced dinosaur vocabulary both of my children are now rattling off.  My daughter recently drew a picture of an Euoplocephalus and attempted to “quiz” me on what I thought it was.  When she saw my uncertainty, she suggested I think about the “cretaceous” period and told me to look at its “clubbed tail”.  She also suggested that I “imagine a turtle the size of a car”. 

Reading Leap And The Lost Dinosaur on her Tag Reading System in Bryant Park. 

It seems as if I have some Dino learning of my own to do.  

As a LeapFrog Parent, LeapFrog provided me with a Tag Reading System and a Leap And The Lost Dinosaur Tag Book  for the purpose of review.  As in all my reviews, all opinions are my own.


LeapFrog Mega Giveaway!

‘Tis the week of Mega Holiday Giveaways – kicked off by the generous folks at LeapFrog!  As a LeapFrog parent, my children have tested out some excellent educational devices and cartridges and I recently had the chance to speak with child-development expert, Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos about top holiday gifts from LeapFrog.

While I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of unplugged creative play, LeapFrog has been a valuable resource in providing my kids with educational fun that they enjoy.  Since I  know that LeapFrog tops many Holiday wish lists, I’m thrilled that they brought out all the bells and whistles to provide one (1) lucky reader with this Mega Giveaway pack of nine amazing products valued at over $300.00!

The lucky winner will receive all of the following items:
1. LeapPad 2 Explorer Learning Tablet
2. Explorer Game Cartridge: Leap School Math
3. Explorer Game Cartridge: Disney Pixar Brave
4. Explorer Game Cartridge: Olivia
5. Tag Reading System
6. Tag Get Ready For Kindergarten
7. Tag Interactive Human Body Discovery Pack
8. Touch Magic Learning Bus
9. Touch Magic Counting Train
Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below.  A winner will be chosen on December 6thThis giveaway is open to US only and entries will be verified.  Please note that delivery from sponsor may take 4 – 6 weeks.  Good luck everyone
LeapFrog provided me with the above mentioned products.  All opinions are my own. 

LeapFrog Leap School Math {Review}

Previous studies have indicated that math skills among Kindergartens have proven to be key predictors of future academic success.  I’ve mentioned before that I have reservations about my daughter being the youngest Kindergartner at her school. I want Lucia to have the sort of confidence that will set her on a positive academic trajectory, and I’m always looking for fun ways to supplement her learning at  home.

I’ve also previously mentioned that Lucia loves playing on LeapFrog’s Leapster GS.  Although I’d never view an  electronic device as a substitute for one-on-one parental time, I’m happy to have LeapFrog learning games reinforce curriculum in ways that my daughter enjoys and responds well too.

The little one learning from the big one. 

The  LeapFrog LeapSchool Math cartridge (appropriate for ages 4-7) has been an excellent addition to Lucia’s collection. The game draws upon various mathematical concepts including measurement, weight and volume, number recognition, proportions, addition, subtraction, and counting to customize and build stuffed animals, bubble bath potions and video games.  The characters speak directly to the player as they prepare to sell their items in the Leap School, advertise with customized posters and count change to sell their products.

Explorer Game Cartridge: Leap School Math $24.99 Image via LeapFrog

Lucia seems to enjoy all aspect of this game.  She likes to customize, build and stuff her teddy bears, match appropriate scents while creating bubble baths and measure volume levels in video game construction.  My daughter took pride in having her very own stand to sell her newly created products in and I enjoyed watching her count change to give back to customers.  LeapSchool math is saturated with the sort of curriculum that my daughter is currently working on, including different ways to come up with a number (i.e bringing 2 + 3 items to a customer who needs 5), identifying charts and graphs and placing promotion items in locations with the most people.

Measuring volume to create a bubble bath potion in Leap School Math

Children clearly love the feeling of success and praise for their accomplishments.  Like all LeapFrog learning games, Leap School math grants confidence boosting rewards and aids in building a love of learning. 

As a LeapFrog parent, I received the Leap School Math cartridge to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.  Don’t forget to enter my LeapFrog Mega Giveaway, loaded with over $300 in prizes, including Leap School Math!


Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos Interview and Top Holiday Children’s Gifts

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I often feel overwhelmed with the plethora of gift giving options for children.  In my family, we don’t let the gifting get out of control.  We also want our selections to either help foster our children’s creativity or contain educational components that are entertaining enough to capture their interests.  I recently had the chance to interview child development expert Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos, the math and science development expert at LeapFrog’s learning team.  In the below video, she speaks about the best new, educational, and entertaining gifts to look for this holiday season.  Dr. LeVos also shares excellent tips regarding developmentally-appropriate gifts and top LeapFrog products.  Have a quick look over on LeapFrog!  I know I’m thinking about the Leap Pad 2 in hopes of reclaiming my iPad!

This post is sponsored by LeapFrog.  As always, all opinions are my own.