“Pure learning fun.” The new tagline for LeapFrog was a fitting greeting for the educational toy company’s holiday showcase this week in NYC. We were on hand to find out what’s big in teaching toys and from judging by the looks of the LeapFrog line-up, there’s plenty of opportunities to get kids excited about learning. First off, we had a chance to experience the just-released LeapReader. Bearing a striking resemblance to LeapFrog’s Tag Reader, this multi-level learning tool steps its up a notch or two, enabling kids to learn the basics of reading, begin to write their letters and enjoy the experience of listening to audio books. With so much functionality in one product, parents may wonder just how capable this product is in keeping up with their kids. When we find out that the LeapReader contains rechargeable built-in batteries that last up to eight hours, a few gasps were heard among the audience. Quite the workhorse, this product helps kids sound out their letters to make words, and when switched to write mode, it turns into a pencil that prompts preschoolers into tracing upper- and lower-case letters. Finally, a vast library of 100 downloadable audio books are the perfect companion for a long car ride, plane trip or summer vacation road trip. Aimed at ages 4-8 and available in July, the LeapReader will not only attract kindergarten-bound kids for its fun quotient, but their parents eager to get them off to school on the right foot…He may be known as man’s best friend, but in the case of this plush pup, this dog is better known as a book buddy. Available in time for back to school, Read With Me Scout is the latest incarnation of LeapFrog’s favorite pooch, one that can now read short stories aloud and ask kids related comprehension questions. Five color-coded board books make for easy-to-follow reading, each containing engaging activities that involve colors, counting and other basic learning skills. Scout even has a sleepytime setting with a reduced volume that turns storytime into a calming bedtime routine and ends with 8 minutes of lullabies. We couldn’t ask for a better house-trained pup…From dogs to cats: Headlining the latest Leapster Explorer software collection is Hello Kitty Sweet Little Scoops, a math game teeming with tons of number-based fun starring everyone’s favorite feline. Don’t be fooled by the pink-and-purple imagery; this are hard core computations that involve estimating, reading charts and bar graphs and discerning odd from even numbers. We like that this game, along with all other LeapFrog content, has auto-level capabilities, making it perfectly paced for your child’s individual learning style. Aimed at ages 4-7, Hello Kitty Sweet Little Scoops will be available in August.
In a Nutshell: Help cultivate a love of learning with a slew of new LeapFrog products, coming to a toy store near you.