LeapFrog has a knack for combining what I love about toys (developmentally appropriate, educational, fun) and what my son loves about toys (fun, interactive, has noise, has lights haha!). They sent me the new LeapPad2 to review, and we've been playing with it for about a week. Since I have a newborn who naps 4 times a day, Samuel gets "LeapPad" time when I'm putting her down for a nap. This is a win-win because he gets to play with his favorite toy, and I don't have a 2 year old running into the nursery saying, "Moooooooommmmyyyy!!!" at the top of his lungs. You can read the details below, but here's my review in a nutshell: This thing is so great, I want one for ME. Why I love the LeapPad2 #there's so much I could say here, these are the highlights#: - There is no Internet access. My son loves to play games on an old iPhone we have, or, of course, our own phones, but he knows exactly how to get to YouTube, and there's just too much Internet access for him to play on these phones independently. Some parents might think it's a pain to connect online to look for and download apps, but I see that as a plus. - Developmentally appropriate! My son is only 2 and a half years old, and the device is made for ages 3-9, but he still has no problem finding a ton of fun, and I can see how he will be able to use the LeadPad2 for years. Literally. Here's a really cool tidbit: The eBooks and games actually adapt to your child. As he answers more questions correctly, for example, he gets harder questions - I LOVE THIS FEATURE. I can say so much more about the kid-ness of the LeapPad2 - how it's perfect for their size, how friendly voices and images show them how to play each app so they're not lost - LeapFrog knows kids. That's all there is to it. - No boredom. Not only does the LeapPad2 arrive with great content, but there are over 300 apps available, plus any LeapFrog Explorer games can be used in the device. It's just not possible for this to get old. - Variety includes creative learning. Developing children's creativity is absolutely lacking for the current education regime. We are so focused on math, science, reading, and writing that we won't let our kids color an elephant purple. We've played with apps that help a child learn to draw #like really draw not just scribble or doodle or color# and create a film. I was quite impressed with the creative apps. - At a retail of $99, the value is really high for the price. I know people who have purchased iPads for their kids, which is totally their choice, but for a young child $99 is much easier to stomach for a super nice Christmas or birthday present. What could be improved: - My son is left-handed. I was a little disappointed when I saw the stylus on the right side of the device. Thankfully, the screen is responsive to fingers, so he doesn't need to use the stylus unless he's working on writing games. For example, the Pet Pad has a writing section where he can trace letters with the stylus. I was pleased to see that there is a left-handed mode for this that flips the screen around, but the child has to 1) know they're left-handed 2) see this small button and know what it's for 3) press it every time they enter this zone. The device could be more left-hand friendly by assigning the child's writing hand to their profile and using that setting in all writing activities. - The LeapPad2 runs on 4 AA batteries. You can use rechargeable AA batteries, and you can also buy a recharger kit for the device. And you will want to have a way to charge rather than buy batteries. I think we got maybe 7-10 hours of playtime on one set of batteries. It would be a huge parental-approval boost to have the recharger kit come with the LeapPad2, straight off the shelf. Disclosure: LeapFrog provided the LeapPad2 for this review, but all opinions are mine all mine!
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