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!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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LeapFrog Adventure Sketchers Review + LeapPad2 Power & Game {Giveaway}

It’s been a while since we’ve shared a LeapFrog review and our recent test run with their Adventure Sketchers! Draw, Play, Create innovative game was so fantastic that we had to elaborate here.  Adventure Sketchers allows budding gamers to take ownership of their adventures.  The players design a heroic main character to navigate a customizable quest in the Kingdom of Gru, full of action, recordable sound effects, and endless creativity.

Meet Misaga Rainbow Blaster Master.  She is part Ninja Warrior, part Giant Panda (note her black and white legs).  Her rainbow powers (which exist in her right hand only) contain purposeful love air.  She is six year old imagination brought to life, much to the delight of her creator, my daughter, Lucia P.

Adventure Sketchers Review, LeapFrog Adventure Sketchers Review, LeapPad Giveaway The ability to design and create characters and several story elements (flowers that shoot lasers, heart energizers and various platforms to use as aids) are what makes Adventure Sketchers a stand out game. My kids have had fun playing with pants man (literally just a pair of pants without a body), and crafting an entire game around potty humor (complete with voiceovers and sound effects).  Best of all, the children’s one-of-a-kind creations can be saved for future game play.  The creative possibilities truly are endless as the game emphasizes art instruction, storytelling, story building, and problem solving.

Win It:

LeapFrog LeapPad Giveaway

LeapFrog is giving away a LeapPad2 Power Learning Tablet (complete with one-step-recharger) and Adventure Sketchers! Draw, Play, Create cartridge to one lucky MB reader.  Simply enter to win in the rafflectopter below.  All entries are verified (US only please), and a winner will be selected in one week. Best of luck and thanks for visiting!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

As a LeapFrog Motherboard blogger, I receive product for testing.  Find my previous LeapFrog reviews under the label LeapFrog.   As always, opinions are strictly my own.

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My Top Holiday Gifts For Kids & A LeapPad Ultra {Giveaway}

We’ve been busy rounding up our top holiday picks for children!  I’ve met with brands at toy shows here in the city, and put my own toy testers to work at home.  My gift guide reflects some new products that we are excited about, a few of our favorite well-loved toys and one powerful gift that I hope everyone will consider giving.  There is also an exciting giveaway!

UntitledPicMonkey Collage

1)  LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Learning Tablet:  This learning tablet has topped the “hot toy” lists this season for several reasons.  With a 7-Inch hi-resolution screen, kid-safe Wi-Fi (with parental controls), and 8 GB of memory – this kid tablet feels and functions like one built for adults.  My kids have been enjoying the 11 included apps, the front-and-back cameras, and the ability to text message each other.  Mama loves the built-in rechargeable battery and the fact that we can play our “old” games on it (it works with LeapFrog’s library of 800+ apps, games, eBooks, videos, music and more).  I have three words for those thinking of purchasing an adult tablet for a child: Leapfrog. Won’t. Break.  Purchase the LeapPad Ultra at LeapFrog.com for $149.99.

2)  Goldie Blox and the Parade Float: I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a toy designed to inspire the next generation of female engineers! Lucia has been having incredible fun creating structures while building her problem-solving skills.  She has constructed all of the projects in the included book and made many of her own vehicles.  This is absolutely my go-to birthday party gift for Lucia’s female friends.  This product retails for $19.99 and is currently sold out on the Goldie Blox website. I did find some Goldie Blox products on amazon.com (but be prepared to pay higher prices).

3)  Paper Culture Memory Game:  This eco-friendly memory game is unlike any other because it is personalized!  A photo can be selected for each of the game pieces (hello grandparents, pets and those special baby photos!!).  I can’t wait to create one for my nephew and my own kiddos.  Best of all – Paper Culture plants a tree with every order.  Order it at Paper Culture for $24.99.

4)  31″ Giant Darth Vader If you have an action figure lover, I imagine that he/she will be thrilled with one of JAKKS Pacific’s GIANT iconic superheros.  I can’t wait to see the look on my son’s face when he meets the biggest Darth that he has ever seen.  Find it at ToysRUs for $34.99.

5)  Shimmer n Sparkle Cra-Z-Loom Rubber Band Bracelet Maker.  This is the one toy that my 6 year-old is asking for this year.  In addition to the bracelet maker it includes 600 latex-free assorted-color rubber bands, The “S” hook special weaving tools and an illustrated booklet.  Find it on sale at ToysRUs for $11.99.

6)  Safari LTD figuresThese hand painted educational toys make perfect stocking stuffers.   I especially like their safariology science collection including solar system figures and life cycle replicas.  Find them at Michaels.

7)  Deluxe Pixie Party Fashion DollsA recent trip to Disney World renewed my daughter’s fairy interests.  What’s cooler than seeing Tinkerbell fly?  These dolls have an updated look and are sure to please the doll lover.  Find them at Walmart for $16.99.

8)  Hape Toys All Seasons House (Furnished) Toy SetOf all the toys that my kids have played with over the years, they have gotten the most use out of toy houses and farms.   I happen to love this open wooden design (complete with parts). Find it at Hayneedle, currently on sale for $180.

9)  Hugg-A-Planet Planet PillowAs parents, I think it’s important to raise global citizens with an understanding of different cultures and communities.  I bought this pillow shortly after having my first child, and it has functioned as a pillow, a ball and an educational tool.  For the record, the kids also have a real globe, and it’s been glued back to its stand more times than I can count! Find this one for $30 at one of our favorite NYC stores, Piccolini.

10)  Rainbow in My Room by Uncle MiltonMy husband purchased this amazing rainbow projector for Christmas last year.  It has become a magical part of the kids’ bedtime routine as it projects a colorful rainbow on their bedroom wall.  Best of all, it has an auto shut-off.  Find it at Barnes & Noble for $24.95.

11)  Marble Sparks Twas The Mouse Who Saved ChristmasWe reviewed this book last year, and pulling it out again this year made me realize how special it is.  Books are fantastic gifts and personalization makes it a meaningful present to give.  Order it from Marble Sparks for $29.95.

12)  Modern-Twist New York Placemat and Markers Coloring Set:  I really like this Big-Apple themed 100% recyclable reusable place mat.  With kid-safe dry erase markers, it’s sure to offer hours of coloring fun.  Find it at Barneys for $25.

13)  Oxfam America Unwrapped Gifts: Last but not least is my favorite gift of all – a gift that does great good.  Oxfam is a nonprofit organization committed to creating lasting solutions to hunger, poverty and injustice.  We have previously given Oxfam and Heifer International gifts in family members names, and believe that giving gifts that do good is an integral part of the Holidays.  These gifts are also a great way to instill the gift of giving in young children.  From school meal programs to mosquito nets, chickens and even midwife training – these gifts give support to Oxfam worldwide programs in over 90 Countries.  Kids can help select gifts for family members via the web.  Perhaps scale back on the toy purchases to give Oxfam gifts to children too.  Visit the Oxfam website for more information (these lasting gifts begin at only $18).

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Win It:  I’m happy to share that I’ve teamed up with LeapFrog to giveaway one of the hottest toys of the season – their award winning LeapPad Ultra.  LeapFrog is one of the first brands that I started working with and I’m thrilled that someone will start off the new year with the ultimate kids’ learning tablet.
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Giveaway
To enter:
UPDATE:  Congratulations to winner Linda C!
  • Simply leave a comment below.
  • A third entry will be given to Marino Bambinos followers on twitter.
Please leave a separate comment telling me how you follow (three comments total).  A winner will be selected via random.org on December 26th, and the prize will ship in the new year.  Please note that this contest is open to US only.  Happy Holidays and my best to you all!
Special thanks to Time To Play and The Big Toy Book for having me at their holiday toy shows.  Samples of items 1 – 7 were provided.  Item 11 was reviewed last year.  As always, opinions are strictly my own.
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LeapFrog LeapPad2 Power Prize Pack {Giveaway}

As some of you may already know, we are huge LeapFrog Fans.  As a LeapFrog Parent, I’ve had the chance to work closely with the brand for about a year and a half now and experience their innovative products in my children’s hands.  LeapFrog has effectively supported Lucia and Adrian’s learning and development in fun and engaging ways.  One of the reasons why I enjoy partnering with LeapFrog is because they are always eager to spread the learning love!  LeapFrog is generously following up on yesterday’s interview post with an exciting giveaway!  One lucky winner will win a LeapPad2 Power (winner picks color), 2 game cartridges (may be different than the ones pictured below) and a $20 App Center Download Code ($170.00 Value).

LeapFrog LeapPad2 Power Giveaway

 

Win It!

To Enter: Simply leave a comment below.

Extra Entries will be given to Marino Bambinos followers on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (Please leave a separate comment for each entry/follow).

An Extra Entry can be earned by sharing this giveaway on Facebook (tag @MarinoBambinos and @LeapFrog, and please include the post link).

An Extra Entry can be earned by sharing this giveaway on Twitter:  Enter to #win a @LeapFrog LeapPad2 Power Prize Pack #giveaway from @MarinoBambinos:http://bit.ly/15Th3d2.   Or create your own tweet including handles MarinoBambinos, LeapFrog, and post link.

Six entries total and please leave a separate comment for each.  This giveaway is open to US only, and a winner will be selected via random.org on October 20th.  Best of luck and thanks for your readership!

UPDATE: Congratulations to winner Liz A!  An email has been sent.

LeapFrog provided me with products, however, all opinions in this post are my own.  View my previous LeapFrog reviews under the label LeapFrog.

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