By Portland Dad
Dan here – This is part of our Real Dads (and Moms) Review The Top 16 Holiday Toys for 2010 series. We sent out the hot holiday toys to our members and in this series they are sharing their honest reviews before you waste any money on a flop! Want to get in on the fun next time – Join Us. Take it away, Portland Dad…
When I got the opportunity to receive and review the Leapster Explorer, as part of Dad Does holiday gift guide, I was excited and a little worried. We have a four and two year old who would absorb this gadget and give it a good playing with, giving us a good sample set of data to review the system, but I also worried about introducing games that would add more screen time to an already full plate. While those fears are valid, they have proven to have more bark than bite.
Setting Up the Leapster Explorer from LeapFrog
When the box arrived the boys were immediately intrigued by the vibrant colors and cartoon pictures. They knew it was for them but they didn’t know what exactly it was. We don’t have smart phones or personal gaming systems so this was a foreign object for them. We easily got the game out of the box and found that we needed batteries to get the system up and going. A quick run to the store for some Double A batteries and we had the Explorer turned on. There is a CD for the computer and you need to sync it up soon after turning it on and creating each player but after about fifteen minutes we were set up and ready to play.
It was fascinating to me watching my four year old go from seeing the Leapster Explorer for the first time one minute, to maneuvering around the home screens finding the applications he wanted to play with. There is one application on the system already and a card to download another one once you sync up with the computer. The pre-installed game involves designing and taking care of a pet and teaches kids how to write their letters. So far this is the biggest draw for both our boys and even after loading two more game applications and a video they spend most their time playing with their pets.
Early Benefits of the Leapster Explorer
In the two weeks we have had this system I have already noticed a huge improvement in my four year olds ability to recognize and sound out letters. He can now write almost all twenty six letter and now sounds them out and finds words that start with those letters. We set out a time frame for playing with the Leapster Explorer and so far we have not run into any issues with him fighting us. He loves playing with his game but also still finds other things to do when he is done playing.
Seeing is Believing The Leapster Explorer in Action
Here is a quick video showing the kids using the Leapster Explorer and their impressions…
Overall Feeling on the Leapster Explorer by LeapFrog
The boys love the Leapster Explorer and even before we have purchased one of the games that go with the system they have found hours of entertainment and even education. While they have not yet grown tired of the pre-installed games I think other kids might not last as long. I would recommend this toy and think that it is one of the top 16 toys this holiday season for good reason. It truly is educational and entertaining and we have seen the benefits early on. The extra game cartridges are around $20 and downloadable games around $10 and I would recommend picking up one of each. My kids love the Leapster Explorer and I think your kids will love it as well.
|Portland Dad is James Rohl and lives with his wife in Portland Oregon. He is a Stay at home dad of two boys ages 4 and 2 and blogs about their adventures at http://sahdpdx.com. You can find him on twitter as well @portlanddad.|
FULL DISCLOSURE: We were crazy enough to buy this toy with our own money! We sent the toy out to Portland Dad to review – he gets to keep the toy and see if his kids turn into frogs… you know, leapfrogs?? We received no money for doing this review and receive nothing if you do decide to buy the toy. This is a real review, by a real Dad (and his kids)!
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