I did a double take when I entered the supermarket this morning and saw Christmas crackers lining the shelves.
We can’t escape it: the magic season is only a couple of months away and before you know it, the scramble for Christmas presents will begin.
Undoubtedly one of the top Christmas toys for 2013 is the new LeapPad Ultra. Every year LeapFrog make their learning tablet slicker and more functional.
We haven’t had a test run of the LeapPad Ultra yet but our friends at Leapfrog sent** us their LeapReader for my 4-year-old to try out.
Leap into Learning
LeapReader is the newest version of LeapFrog’s unique interactive readers — except it goes one step further than the LeapFrog Tag reader because your little one can actually write with the pen!
Aimed at ages 4-8, LeapReader works with more than 150 audio books (download from LeapFrog Connect online) including any you’ve already bought for your Tag.
By touching a word on a page, your child can hear that word said out loud, practice their own pronunciation or even listen to the entire story. There are also games to play at the touch of a button, all geared towards learning but without skimping on fun.
Jed can already read a whole (beginner) book independently, so LeapReader helps to support his skills and this is a system that grows with your child through several colour-coded stages.
LeapFrog sent us a Monsters University book from the purple ‘Read on Your Own’ series and both Ezra and Jed love it. The reading is at Ezra’s level but using the LeapReader, Jed can follow the story too. It’s really sweet to see them reading side by side!
Jed has always been a bit of a numbers freak, so he couldn’t wait to start tracing out digits with the LeapReader on the Learn to Write Numbers with Mr Pencil pack. The pack also contains addition, subtraction and measuring challenges and comes with 25 sheets of Learning Paper on which your little one can practise.
And as with all LeapFrog electronic tools, you can check how your kid’s doing by following the online Learning Path.
A Map for Little Explorers
Another brilliant LeapFrog product** that we would recommend as a Top Toy for Christmas is their Interactive World Map that works with both Tag and LeapReader. This jumbo double-sided map features more than 30 activities to get into with your child.
You can learn about the different countries and continents, experience a little of how kids in other cultures live their daily lives and test your geography skills.
We like playing Map Racer, a fun ‘beat the clock’ style game where you compete to locate continents and countries faster than your opponent.
And Ezra and Jed get a kick out of seeing a fellow Nigerian boy who greets them in Yoruba when you touch him with the Tag or LeapReader. Even if he does say ‘ekaasan’ (‘good afternoon’) in an American accent!
You can shop for LeapFrog toys including LeapReader (around £35.99) and Interactive World Map (from around £16.99) at Amazon, John Lewis and a variety of retailers
**free review samples