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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.

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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. 
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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!

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LeapFrog Leapster GS & Game Cartridge Giveaway!

School is officially in full swing, and LeapFrog is generously giving one of my readers a new Leapster GS and one game cartridge!

Photo via LeapFrog

My kiddos were lucky enough to test out this awesome educational product, along with several apps and game cartridges prior to their order availability.  My full review can be read here.

The lucky winner will receive one Leapster GS, complete with a USB cable, attached stylus, parents guide, quick start CD, and three free apps (including our favorite “Escape of the Sillies”).  This innovative gaming handheld has a headphone jack, and more than 300 games and apps available to download.  It also has a built in camera, video recorder, motion sensor and 2 GB of internal memory.  The game cartridges (winner will receive one) feature curriculum that helps children strengthen skills in logic, reasoning, mathematics, reading, science, and much more. 

Enter to win in the rafflecopter below.  A winner will be selected at random in 10 days.  This giveaway is open to US residents.  Thanks for entering and good luck!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

LeapFrog selected me as a “LeapFrog Parent”, via the Clever Girls Collective.  I received a Leapster GS, several preloaded apps and two game cartridges free of charge for the purpose of review.  All 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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Leapster GS {Review}

Leapfrog’s new Leapster GS, a handheld learning game system, is a revised version of the award-winning (including 2011 Toy of the Year) Leapster Explorer. It offers a thinner design, larger screen, 2GB of internal memory, built in camera /video recorder/motion sensor/microphone and a faster processor.   Lucia went bonkers last week, when she stepped outside to discover that LeapFrog sent us a Leapster GS, several preloaded apps and two game cartridges.

I am a big LeapFrog fan – their educational component keeps bringing me back.  With that being said, we are also a family that limits screen time – since our kids are the type that seriously vegetate in front of screens.  As a result, we are particular about what sorts of gaming devices enter our home.  Lucia (now four-and-a-half) received a Leapster Explorer for Christmas and has shown that she responds well to toy specific learning. Since she has enjoyed her Leapster Explorer so much, I could not wait to have her try out the new Leapster GS.

Lucia was most excited about the built-in camera and video recorder.  She has been asking for a camera, and has had so much fun taking photos and videos (just like mama!).  Lucia can easily access her work in a central location called “my stuff”. She is even able to edit her masterpieces (draw, add audio, create albums) and share them with her friends!
Lucia capturing her favorite subject on film.
Lucia can turn on the device and select her profile and game without my assistance.  Her current favorite game is a free app called “Escape of The Sillies”, in which she’s able to become a silly monster character, by adding her own picture and recording her voice in the “silly lab”.  The game cultivates math skills, while face-morphing technology entertains as she is literally the face (and voice) of all the characters. The game captures live video of our surroundings (via the back-facing camera) in which the silly monster characters play.
 


As a parent, the educational content is what gets me excited.  I am pleased with many of the apps and cartridges because they work on building valuable skills in reading, writing, science, math, technology, engineering and logic.  Most importantly, they are entertaining enough to hold my daughter’s interest.  I appreciate that the learning curve can always be adjusted. Harder questions are introduced, and the games also reduce difficulty levels if the device senses that it is necessary to do so.  In addition, I can manually adjust the difficulty level and track my child’s progress online.

The Leapster GS is marketed for ages four through nine, but Adrian (age two) has also enjoyed using it with our guidance. I honestly think that this is a device that younger children can grow into.  All of the buttons are very easy to press.  Adrian proudly holds the stylus correctly and can even trace the first letter of his name in the “Pet Pad” app. In this game, he can wash his pet without our help and feed his pet with the assistance of his sister.  

I can not recommend the Leapster GS enough and imagine that it will be a giant hit this year.  Best of all, it is newly available to order!

 I was given a Leapster GS, several apps and two cartridges for the purpose of review.  LeapFrog in no way influenced this review and all opinions are 100% my own.

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