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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.


The LeapFrog Learning Path App

I spend a lot of time searching for engaging educational projects to work on with my children.  I often find it challenging to determine sound resources tailored to Adrian and Lucia’s ages and learning levels.  LeapFrog recently launched an intuitive free educational tool for parents on iTunes, called the Learning Path.  Although I was in no way obligated to write about it, I’ve found the Learning Path app to be a helpful resource.

Upon logging into the app with my account information (this can also be manually added for new LeapFrog users), customized learning activities, expert suggestions, printable educational materials, educational craft tips and so much more appeared.  The app works concurrently with our LeapFrog-connected products to give insight into my children’s progress and areas that need reinforcement. The recommended LeapFrog apps (available for purchase) offer great suggestions for each of my children and are not placed too frequently throughout the app – it never feels like an advertisement.

LeapFrog Leanring Path App

LeapFrog Free Learning Path App

The Learning Path app offers tailored learning “scrolls” for each child, curated by months.  My children like that many of the activities are related to current events and Holidays (as seen in their classrooms).  The expert Q & A’s are impressively on par with my current questions about my children – offering suggestions about how to get my nursery schooler to open up about his day at school, and how to talk to my first grader about loosing (she likes to be the winner!).  I even found activities aligned with the common core standards (that are  currently taught in schools).  In a short period of  time, my five year old became much more confident with “skip counting” which will enable her to tackle more complex math algorithms with ease.  The learning activity suggestions are fun, and are clearly curated by the same team of learning experts behind the creation of LeapFrog’s valuable educational products.

To learn more about the LeapFrog’s Learning Path, visit

I was not obligated to write this post and was not compensated.   I am happy to share this free resource with readers.


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:   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 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.


Navigating Educational Apps – An Interview With LeapFrog’s Dr. LeVos

Our kids are growing up in an ever-changing digital age.  Children are utilizing technology from earlier ages as a variety of technologies surround our everyday lives.  When used wisely, the right products can be effective tools to support learning and development.  But with a rapidly-expanding selection of apps and educational games – it can be challenging for parents to determine what to purchase.

For the second time, I  had the chance to interview child development and learning expert Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos, the math and science development expert at LeapFrog’s learning team.  I asked her questions about identifying the best educational games and apps, limiting screen time, and the buzz surrounding the new LeapPad UltraShe gives some helpful tips about making informed choices that maximize fun learning opportunities for children.

LeapFrogLeapFrog products were provided to facilitate this interview.  All opinions and nasally, loud voice (I had a cold) are my own. 


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.