Kids and Video Games
You’d be amazed if you saw my little 4 year old play video games. He is awesome at navigating around on the computer, is better than me on some of our Wii games, and has a mind that is constantly soaking in everything around him. Since he likes games so much, it is important to me that he learns while playing. With the Leapster2 from Leapfrog, he can learn on the go, with games that are age appropriate for him.
Pros: Leapfrog is no stranger in our home, and has been an important learning tool for my boys. From dvd’s to toys, I’ve never been disappointed. So I definitely had high expectations when we received a Leapster 2 with a few games to review.
The Leapster2 is appropriate for ages 4 to 8 and teaches skills such as:
– Language arts
– Reading skills
– Basic science concepts
It’s easy to use and power on. Chandler, who is just shy of 4 can power it on, put cartridges in himself and navigate very easily. Once powering it on, you create a simple profile for your child. You can have 4 profiles at any given time or can play as a guest. This handheld has the regular gaming buttons, but also includes a pen. To see this in action, watch the video below:
When you come to the main screen after selecting your profile, there are 4 options: Downloadable games, Cartridge games, Creativity Castle, and Connect to Computer.
With the Leapster2, you get a software cd that lets you install Leapfrog connect. With Leapfrog connect, you can download games, get demos, get rewards for your child that they’ve earned playing games, and much more. Once you have installed it, you can add other Leapfrog products. The Leapster2 came with a downloadable game which was easy to get and is saved in it’s memory. It’s also compatible with 30+ leapster games, so there’s plenty to choose from.
The Leapster 2 has a headphone jack, usb to connect to your computer, volume controls, and brightness adjustments. It takes 4 AA batteries which you put in the back of the game. It’s definitely durable as well. Over the past month, it has been thrown all around and still works perfectly. I’m sure Leapfrog had this in mind when they were designing it.
Cons: While I am a big fan of this product, I do feel that there are some minor improvements that could be incorporated. If you have the Leapster2 powered on, and you insert a cartridge, the entire handheld powers down. You then have to power it back on and start from square one. I’m not sure what the thinking was behind this, but the first few times Chan inserted the cartridge and this happened, he thought it was broken.
The design of this is also quite chunky and heavy. I can see how this is good for little hands, but it still feels a bit bulky. It weighs in at 1.6 lbs which I think is rather heavy for a handheld gaming system.
I would also love to see an auto-shutoff feature. The first few times Chandler was done playing it, he left it on and the batteries drained quickly. I think it would be nice to see it shut off after 5-10 minutes of inactivity to save battery life. Overall, I think the learning capabilities definitely outweigh the cons.
This is definitely something to put on your Christmas list if you have a child aged 4-8.
Price: $69.99, on sale at the Leapfrog store right now for $59.99
Where to Buy: Leapfrog online, Target, Walmart
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The product reviewed in this article was a sample provided to me by the company or PR representative. These views and opinions are my own and I was not compensated by this review.