It’s been awhile since I’ve done a product review. I promised only to review products that I feel strongly about.
LeapTV fits that bill.
My 6 year old received LeapTV, a video gaming system by the LeapFrog company, from my in-laws for Christmas this year. I should start by saying that I suggested the gift to my mother-in-law when she was looking for ideas, so I did a little research on the product beforehand. Jackson had been on a few play dates at which he really enjoyed playing video games. The kids had tried to use our (old) Wii, but it was a little too challenging for them. Since I was looking for less frustration and more fun, I though LeapTV might be a winner.
Here’s the skinny-
- BASICS-LeapTV is made by the creators of “Educational games, Learning toys, and Tablets for Kids” such as the LeapPad and LeapReader (both of which we already own). LeapTV is aimed toward children aged about 3-8, with specific games for different age levels.
- WHAT”S INCLUDED? Our LeapTV came with the console, the accompanying camera that “speaks” to the controllers, two controllers, and 3 included games. I believe our extra controller was part of a special deal, and that it usually comes with one. The controllers are used like the Wii system (the player physically moves rather than just sitting.)
- SET UP-It was very easy to set up, but it does require internet access. I did it almost completely by myself with three eager children waiting
- GAMES-The Leap TV games are sort of like traditional video games with some learning thrown in.
- My children love to play the Kart racing: Supercharged game that comes with the console. In the game, the players answer math questions in order to build (and supercharge) their car before starting a Mario kart-like race (but without the violence). The race that follows was just the right amount of challenge for my 6 year old even if the math questions before the race were very simple for him. My 3 1/2 year olds loved answering the math questions and watching my oldest play the actual racing game.
- The Pet Playroom game that comes with the set involves a lot of creativity. It’s easy enough for my 3 1/2 year old twins to navigate by themselves, and my 6 year old likes playing the accompanying games-especially the one where the players toss treats into the pets’ mouths as they pop up (think Duck Hunt without the violence). My daughter also loves the pet grooming game where the player moves her arms while standing in front of the camera to groom the pets.
- The other game that game with our console was Roly Poly World. This game involves a lot of hand eye coordination so I was worried at first, but even my littles got the hang of it, and now it’s probably their favorite game.
I think we will eventually buy some other games (Spiderman, LeapSports, and Frozen are on that list) but we are having fun for now. So far we’ve only used one controller at a time, but it is possible to have two people play at once.
Verdict: I like this system a lot. It sells on Amazon.com for about $50, which is a deal compared to other systems that don’t even have the educational element. I like that it does not have the violence I like to avoid, and has parental control options. I think my kids will enjoy playing with this system for years to come. I like that it gets them up and moving, and they are learning while they play. I am not a big fan of video games, but I see LeapTV being a nice compromise.