Dec 012015
 

LeapFrog Epic

Christmas Countdown – Day 1

I know lately the spotlight has been mostly on our youngest family member but our little Harriet is not the only one who is growing rapidly. Tommie and Olivia are now seven and about to finish year 1 with flying colours, we are so proud of them! If you are a regular Hip Little One reader you will know that I often credit LeapFrog for their big love of (and excellent results in) reading and maths so I am really excited to see what’s new from LeapFrog this Christmas:

LeapFrog Epic

The brand new LeapFrog Epic (RRP $199, ages 3-9) will without a doubt be one of the hottest gift under the Christmas tree this year, this much anticipated kids tablet has only just hit the shelves and it’s already flying out the door!

LeapFrog EpicWe all know children grow and change rapidly (a bit too rapid if you ask me!), which is why the LeapFrog Epic is designed to grow and change just like they do. Explore – Play – Imagine – Create, the Epic is packed with fun and educational content tailored to your child’s age and stage and it is the first LeapFrog tablet to work on the well known Android operating system (Android OS. 4.4).

As a loyal LeapFrog user I can safely say the Epic is a big step up from previous LeapFrog tablets. It is very fast, responsive and easy to use, the full-colour graphics are truly amazing and it comes (and can be expanded) with loads of content that is versatile and relevant for children of different ages. In simple terms the LeapFrog Epic is a sturdy, safe, child friendly and age appropriate version of an ordinary tablet.

LeapFrog Epic tablet

As we already own previous LeapFrog products setting up the tablet was easy. We signed in with our account details and the Epic was automatically loaded with our children’s ages and development details, as well as previously downloaded apps. The Epic can be shared by multiple users (great value for families!), who each log in individually to access their own personal Epic world.

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Starting at the home screen children can customise the interactive background, decorate it to their liking and fill it will shortcuts to their favourite apps. From the simple, but important, basics like the local weather and the clock to a calculator and calendar, from learning about nature and the human body to recording songs and making up stories, from a colourful and creative art app to puzzles and an imaginary pet to raise and play with, the options are endless.

Epic LeapFrogThe LeapFrog Epic connects to the internet using WiFi which can be turned on and off. Initially children can only access a pre-approved library of content through LeapSearch so you know all content is appropriate and safe, but if desired you can expand your child’s online world by manually adding other websites to your ‘safe’ list. I find it very reassuring that our kids can not accidentally view webpages that we would not approve of, unsavoury pictures and pages are sometimes just one click away so this protective border is extremely valuable to me.

The smart thing about LeapFrog is that it automatically recognised your child’s achievements and progress and adjusts content and challenges to match your child’s learning level, this keeps things fun and interesting all the time. Our 5-year old likes and is able to do different things than our 7-year old and the Epic effortlessly recognises this, how clever! Like most kids our children love it when their achievements are being acknowledged and LeapFrog does a wonderful job at that by e.g. awarding badges or special bonuses.

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There are so many cool things to love about the LeapFrog Epic, some of our favourites are the ability to see the weather in other places around the world, marking our plans on the calendar, recording videos and songs, playing Alphabet Stew, learning the Word of the Day and much more. You can keep adding to your LeapFrog Epic library by downloading new apps from the every growing LeapFrog App Centre. One of my personal top features is the ability to stay in charge of your child’s play time by setting a timer. Parents can control exactly how long and when their child is allowed to use the Epic, e.g. 30 minutes on weekdays and 1 hour on weekends. What an easy way to manage screen time, keeping rules clear for everyone.

LeapFrog Epic packagingSome of the boring but important facts: The LeapFrog Epic is rechargeable and comes with a USB charger/wall adaptor so you can recharge how, when and where you want. It has a 1.3 GHz Quad-Core Processor, beautiful 7″ Capacitive Touch Screen, attaches stylus and a 2MP front and rear camera to take photos, record videos and sound. The 16GB memory can be expanded to 32GB using a Micro SD Card.

The LeapFrog Epic is exclusively available at JB Hi-Fi stores Australia wide and online at www.jbhifi.com.au.

To find out more about LeapFrog, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.

For your chance to win a LeapFrog Epic (RRP $199) enter our giveaway below:

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LeapFrog LeapPad 3

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on LeapFrog LeapPad 3
Nov 182014
 

Right now kids around the globe are writing down their favourite toys on crumpled pieces of paper, dreaming of a special Christmas morning spent unwrapping gifts around the tree. In the meanwhile Santa’s helpers, responsible for the shopping, scratch their heads trying to select the items from the wish list that get the thumbs up from both children and their parents. If your child has requested a tablet and you feel they are too young you better think twice, check out the newest design from LeapFrog:

LeapPad 3

The LeapPad 3 Learning Tablet (RRP $169, green or pink) is specifically designed for children aged 3-9 years old: it’s fun, compact, portable, kid-tough and give your child access to a world of educational, age-appropriate content that is approved by learning experts. The sturdy device has been thoroughly drop tested and features a shatter-proof screen as well as special impact zones for added protection.

LeapPad 3 pinkThe LeapPad 3 is fitted with a 2-way camera, microphone and comes with 10 free apps to get you started, additionally you can purchase separate game cartridges that work on any LeapPad tablet. With 4GB of storage space there is plenty of room to store your learning fun and personalised videos, photos, music and artwork and through the LeapFrog Learning Library you can purchase more than 700 Educator Approved games, eBooks and apps.

But there is more to the LeapPad 3 than the learning apps and games, using a WiFi connection children can browse pre-screened internet content using LeapSearch™ powered by Zui™. Unlike with many ordinary tablets parents can feel confident that all information, pictures and videos their child sees on the LeapPad 3 are safe and age appropriate and there are no accidental downloads or purchases, spam or pop-ups. The internet connection can be turned off if desired. Our 6-year old son is very eager to read, learn and discover, he is like a sponge and loves having so much interesting information at his finger tips.

The LeapPad 3 has a built-in rechargeable battery with a 6+ hour battery life making it ideal for car rides and plane trips. The battery can be recharged using the included USB charger/adapter, so easy and much cheaper than single use batteries! You can use the same USB cable to connect the LeapPad 3 to your computer where you can follow your child’s progress, download and upload content and customise your child’s LeapFrog experience by name, age and skills. Using LeapFrog Connect parents can create different profiles for different users so each player enjoys personalised play, great for siblings!

LeapPad 3 GreenOur three older children all have their own LeapPad and the effects of their LeapPad play on their school work is very noticeable, even their teacher has asked me what my secret is. We actually call it a different way of doing homework, it’s all about finding ways to make learning fun and engage your child in a way that appeals to them. Sometimes they don’t want to sit down to read a book yet they are happy to read an eBook or play a spelling game so we’re still working with the same theme.

In our family we are currently using the LeapPad 2, LeapPad Ultra and LeapPad 3, they’re all excellent designs but the LeapPad 3 is definitely my favourite model to-date. I love the light weight (it’s considerably lighter than the Ultra and even slightly lighter than the LeapPad2), built-in battery, impressive 5-inch high resolution full colour screen and fast speed. Between the LeapPad 3 and LeapPad Ultra the kids really enjoy the peer-to-peer play and chat function, they can send each other symbols and put together simple messages or visit each others pet in Pet Pad Party. To use this function the two LeapPads have to be in the same room so it is completely safe and children can not connect with strangers.

LeapPad 3 Carry CaseOur 6-year old daughter has claimed the LeapPad 3 as hers so we’ve purchased the cute pink LeapPad 3 Carry Case to keep it well protected when not in use. The new carry case has a handy handle so children can safely carry it like a bag and the revamped inside features a neat pocket/pouch to keep the LeapPad 3 safe and snug inside when you zip open the carry case.

To find out more about LeapFrog, to browse the range and to locate stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.

LeapFrog, new and improved

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on LeapFrog, new and improved
Nov 262012
 

As I regularly write about our love for LeapFrog products I often receive questions from readers about recommendations for LeapFrog apps, product features, my experiences with different toys and of course where to go for the best price for a certain LeapFrog product. Recently quite a few people have contacted me with questions about the LeapFrog LeapPad 2 and Leapster GS, which doesn’t surprise me as both can be found on many children’s wishlists this Christmas.

After the huge success of the original LeapPad and Leapster Explorer LeapFrog recently released the new LeapPad 2 and Leapster GS. Obviously both styles come jam packed with great new features as well as the fabulous basics that made the previous designs such a hit. If you already own some LeapFrog Explorer games (on cartridge or downloaded from the App Centre) you can use them in the new units as well.

The big question I always get is whether parents should buy an iPad or LeapPad for their child. Now this is obviously my personal opinion and there is something to say for both products, but I can safely say I feel more confident letting my children play on the LeapPad. The LeapPad offers ONLY age appropriate content, no connection to the internet, easy navigation, fun, educational and quality tested games (no dodgy apps!) and the LeapPad costs only half of what the iPad costs. Yes the LeapPad apps do cost money but I feel they are very much worth it.

There are loads of great features that make the new LeapPad 2 a fabulous tablet for children: a large full-colour screen, 4GB of memory, a fast processor, front and back camera/ video recorder and a range of cool accessories. The LeapPad is easily controlled with the stylus, your fingers and even tapping and shaking. As opposed to the original LeapPad the screen of the new LeapPad 2 automatically adjusts to horizontal or vertical use.

If you are after a more compact unit that is similar to a traditional game console the Leapster GS could be just right for you. Labelled as ‘the ultimate learning game system’ this system combines the famous LeapFrog learning components with the ability to move quickly and play fast paced games, something a lot of kids (especially boys) love. The versatile Leapster GS can be controlled with the stylus, touch screen and/or buttons.

The Leapster GS has a built in camera/video recorder for more personalised play and features motion sensors to add extra dimension. Although the twins are only 4 they have already worked how to use the camera in their Leapfrog computers and sometimes they spend more time discovering and playing with the camera than playing actual games. They take pictures of themselves, eachother and us and they think decorating their pictures in the art studio is the most fun of all.

Parents can share their kids’ photos and videos online, a feature my family in Holland will definitely appreciate (I might have to censure the files first!).

Now before you dismiss the original LeapPad and Leapster Explorer I can’t stress enough that they are both fantastic products. My twins really enjoy their computer time using these ‘older’ devices and I would happily buy them again any day. If you were thinking of surprising your child with a LeapFrog gift this Christmas but were a little hesitant because of the pricetag (especially if you are buying for multiple children) now is the perfect time to grab one of these older styles as they are still widely available at heavily reduced prices.

For an idea of what apps and games you can play on your new LeapFrog device have a look around in the LeapFrog App Centre. There are hundreds of options to choose from, suitable for different ages and genders. Because LeapFrog is all about educational fun you can search for cool apps by skill which is very helpful, this way parents are sure to select an app that is not only fun but also helps their child learn important skills along the way.

To find out more about LeapFrog, to take a closer look at the LeapPad 2 and the Leapster GS and to locate stockist near you visit www.leapfrog.com.au.

LeapPad, a learning tablet just for kids

 Toys, Books & Movies  Comments Off on LeapPad, a learning tablet just for kids
Aug 182012
 

As you may have read last month the LeapFrog LeapPad was a massive help during our long flights to and from Europe. In fact it was not only a big hit on the plane, it also got a great workout on rainy days inside and during car trips. The twins were always asking for (and sometimes fighting about) the ‘green computer’. Just in case you have been living under a rock and have never heard of the LeapPad: a LeapPad is a special learning tablet developed for children aged 4-9. It has been insanely popular since it was first released so of course my own hip little ones had to put it to the test.

Up until the holidays we had only used the LeapPad a handful of times as I thought the twins (3) were just a little bit too young for it. As you probably know it can be frustrating for young children to try something that they don’t understand, and in doing so it can be very frustrating for parents too so I wanted to make sure I had some age appropriate games on hand to make the LeapPad a big success.

Now that they are nearly four years old the twins are the perfect age to start exploring the LeapPad and I can already tell you they went crazy for it from the word go. First of all the LeapPad is easy to hold for small hands, it has a big (touch) colour screen with only a few control buttons on the side and comes with a handy stylus (small ‘pen’ to use on the touch screen). My kids have no iPad, iPhone, iPod or any other mobile phone experience yet they got the hang of it quickly.

When you start using the LeapPad you first need to make a profile for your child, which involves selecting your child’s name, age and a photo (the LeapPad has a built-in camera and video recorder). You can enter multiple profiles into the LeapPad so it is ideal for siblings to share as it will give everyone a chance to have their own unique, tailor made LeapPad experience (and parents can check each child’s progress through the LeapFrog Learning Path).

Just like with most adult tablets the LeapPad comes preloaded with a few applications and the possibility to download more than 100 fantastic apps from the LeapFrog App Centre. Games, eBooks, videos, music, creativity apps, flashcards and more, there is always more LeapPad fun to be had with the ever growing App Centre. I will follow up on the App Centre in another, soon the be released, post sharing some of our top picks and there may even a little something for you…

I soon realised that my worry about games or tasks being too difficult was unfounded as by creating a profile your child’s LeapPad activity will automatically be tailored to suit his/her age, without having to change settings or select levels. Simple challenges and games for my nearly 4-year old and trickier ones for older children, this keeps it interesting and fun for all ages and a brilliant investment.

Obviously sometimes the twins need a little help with the reading but by now they are very confident and familiar with it all and know exactly what to do. Speaking of reading, a lot of the games and other applications train their reading and writing skills. From recognising and tracing letters in a game environment to ‘reading’ an eBook featuring popular movie characters and listening to the words being read out loud. The LeapPad allows kids to learn without noticing in a fun and playful matter.

One of their favourite (yet the most simple) LeapPad applications is the Art Studio App (included) which lets little artists create colourful artworks on their screen. Using the stylus they can draw, paint, stamp and colour as much as they like, start all over again or save in and create a little gallery. So easy, great for their fine motor skills, learning about colours and shapes and of course it is mess free.

Another app they play regularly is Pet Pad (included), a very cute pet raising game in which kids can create their own pet and learn to feed, clean and look after it. The twins especially love the part where they need to blow on the LeapPad to dry their little cat/dog after its bath! It is a great way to learn all about chores, following instructions and even trace the letters of the alphabet. I think we can safely say that, although we have already had lots of fun with the LeapPad, there is still lots more to learn and explore so I will keep you updated as we try out new games and download new apps.

The RRP of the LeapPad is $229, I admit it’s a decent price tag but if you keep an eye on the catalogues of the major retailers you will find there are often huge savings to be had. Also keep in mind that it is an investment, the LeapPad can be used by siblings and will last you multiple years. The learning experience is automatically adjusted as your child develops new skills so it will stay interesting and educational, again and again.

LeapFrog toys are available at leading retailers all over Australia, click here to find out where to buy your favourite LeapFrog products.

To find out more about the LeapPad, to watch a LeapPad demo and to browse the range of games and accessories visit www.leapfrog.com.au.