Leapfrog LeapReader Party

by Alaina on October 13, 2013

Being a homeschool Mom I am always on the look out for fun ways to teach my children. I keep a pile of books and educational toys that we use to keep the kids busy if they are between subjects or waiting for me to go over something and I am working with one of the other kids. This gives them something fun to do right where we are doing school so they don’t run off and get distracted doing something else but also still is teaching them something. The four year old likes to play with the items in this pile too. My two favorite items in the pile are the Leapfrog World Map and the United States Map. My four year old plays with it a lot and thinks it is really fun but I am telling you he knows ALL his countries. I am serious, I overheard him asking a kid at the playground what his favorite country was. The other kid stared at him like he was nuts when he said his was Madagascar. The four year old doesn’t like to sit and do much school work yet but yet he doesn’t realize he is learning plenty. Toys that teach in such a fun way that the kids do not even realize they are learning are the best kind. If I had told him we were going to sit down and learn all those countries he would have thought I was torturing him. Because of my past experiences with Leapfrog products I jumped at the chance to review some of their newer items and host a Mommy Party.

The items I have from LeapFrog already were part of their Tag system, the new items I received in the mail are part of their 169new LeapReader system. The LeapReader system is a reading and writing learning system so the main difference I noticed right away from the Tag system was that it incorporates writing. Since I already own several Tag items I wondered if the new LeapReader would work with them and they do.Leapfrog made the LeapReader pens compatible with the Tag items. The fact that the new LeapReader “pen” also writes in pencil concerned me at first. I wondered if it would also write on the items that are not meant to be written on. No worries though it only writes on the paper that is meant to be written on and does not write on the other Leapfrog products. I am not sure how it does that but it is pretty neat.

The kids at our party had a great time with the new LeapReader products. I had my older kids help demonstrate and read the books to the younger ones. One of the books, the LeapFrog Disney-Pixar Monsters University book comes in 3D. The kids all put on their 3D glasses and really go176t a kick out of that. Besides just being a fun book to read, there are other activities as well. This one includes practice selecting nouns and verbs and combining them to create a “scare technique”.  The other book that the kids really enjoyed was the Get Ready for Kindergarten book. At the end of the book it asks questions so that the kids are really practicing reading comprehension in a fun way.

The writing items that came to review really intrigued me. I was not sure how they were going to work or how well the kids would like them.  The first one we tried out was Talking Words Factory Leapreader Writing Workbook.  The workbook helps kids learn how letters blend to make words. It focuses on short vowels sounds, consonant-vowel-consonant words, consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant words, word families and 180rhyming. Most of these my four year old is already learning so he loved it being presented in this fun manner. The kids use the LeapReader pen to read the story, play games and then practice writing the words at each step along the way. For example, the first section that introduces vowels has a writing page for them to practice writing the vowels. The next section that introduces CVC words then has a writing practice section with words that follow that pattern. You can also buy additional practice paper when you use up the ones in the workbook. The other writing book that came, Learn to Write Letters with Mr. Pencil is the same idea and was preferred by the younger kids at our party, This one focuses on only writing uppercase and lowercase letters with correct stroke movement. This is important because kids at this age asked to trace letters will just trace any way they like but the LeapReader gives them exact instruction on where to start each movement and corrects them if they do not follow the stroke pattern correctly.186

The other new LeapFrog item I had not seen before was a set of flashcards called Interactive Talking Words Factory Flash Cards.  Some of the cards have beginning sounds and others have ending sounds.  They can be combined to build 100 short vowel words. My older kids helped demonstrate these at the party and then would hand out beginning and ending sounds and pair kids up to make different words. They enjoyed it but I noticed the younger kids playing with the flash cards by themselves for the most part were not catching on. The product is recommended for ages 4-7 and while they all enjoyed the product you should know that the four year olds will probably need some supervision at first to get the hang of it.

All in all, we had a blast sharing our LeapReader products with our friends and I think that the kids all enjoyed the products too. They were learning and having fun at the same time which is the best kind of learning.

Disclosure: I received free LeapFrog products in order to host the LeapFrog sponsored MommyParty. However, the opinions expressed here are my own





Family Bonding on Road Trips

by Alaina on September 20, 2013

roadtripOur family of six spends a lot of miles in our van every summer. When we just had one child we would drive if we were going anywhere within a day’s drive usually. Any further than that and we would fly. Then along came#2. By then living as a family of four on a freelancing journalist’s salary was tight to say the least. We drove pretty much everywhere except when we went to Florida to visit family. Colorado to Florida is about a 30 hour drive, surely we were not that poor yet. Then along came #3…unexpectedly…and still on a journalist’s salary. By then most of our Florida family had moved here but my brother decided to move to upstate New York and get married. So we all piled in the van and drove 28 hours to the wedding. It was not what I would call fun considering by then #3 was a year old but it wasn’t horrible either. From then on out no drive seemed too far. We have made the drive to New York many times since then. We did it because we didn’t have a choice back then. Last summer my husband drove us all out to New York then flew back home to go back to work.  I dared a drive down to Virginian and then a week later all the way home from Virginia with the four kids by myself. I never would have thought I would agree to that, 26hours in the car driving by myself with four kids. And it was fun. Besides that trip we drove to Florida, later in the summer to a bibleschool in Texas, from Texas to New Mexico before coming home and then in September we took a family vacation to San Diego. Now our family is reaching a place financially where there may be times somewhere in the future where we could afford to fly occasionally. Still with a family of six I am sure most places we would still drive but the thought made me stop and think about families who always fly and never experience the crazy road trips we do. This summer after going to Utah, Virginia, Kentucky  and Texas we took an easy 17 hour drive to Lake Tahoe. When the kids heard 17 hours they thought it sounded like a breeze. You know your kids are road trip warriors when 17 hours in the car sounds easy. Sure we have had some bad road trips including one throwing up in the car and our youngest giving himself such a bad kink he couldn’t stand up straight for several days. But now I look back and I wouldn’t trade those road trips for plane rides. Of course, I don’t usually have to do much of the driving so I should probably check with my husband on that, he may feel differently. All in all though the kids have learned to keep themselves entertained during road trips. Their love for books grows as they load up on books, only one movie is allowed per day in the car. They learn all the silly road trip games. They learn their states and have been through more of them than all of their friends. They learn about nature, God’s handiwork all around us and their country’s National Parks(they have been to nine of them). They learn not to whine and also learn to get along being stuck with each other in the car for that long. We have made a lot of memories on our road trips and we have been sooooo many more places than if we had sat at home because we could not afford to fly. I love traveling and getting to see new things and instead of longing for the money to put as all on a plane somewhere I am thankful for the very, very many places we have been, a husband that loves to drive, a car that always gets us there safely and a God that watches over us.

Here We Go Again

September 11, 2013

Another homeschool year has begun in our home. The kids are still happy to be homeschooled and I am happy to homeschool them. Okay fine, there are days where I do not actually enjoy the “schooling” part. It can be stressful and frustrating at times. The “home” part, however, I always love. I like having […]

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My Favorite Child

August 2, 2013

This past May, our oldest child became a teenager. How that is possible I have no idea. It seems I was just a teenager myself. I could tell you all kinds of motherly reminiscent stories or whine about the fact that these thirteen years have gone by WAY too fast but I won’t. I have […]

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Teaching Children To Be Stubborn

March 25, 2013

How do you teach children determination? No, seriously, how? If you ask my husband he will tell you I am a very stubborn person. I like to say that I am not stubborn, but determined. Because of this I think I appreciate that quality in others. When something comes up around the house that needs […]

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Wordless Wednesday

December 12, 2012

Typical history lesson with 3 kids trying to learn and 1 kid trying to get the attention of the other 3 ShareTweet

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My Kid is Smarter Than Your Kid

December 10, 2012
A crowd of college students at the 2007 Pittsb...

In the world today much of what we do is about competition. I have posted before about my view on Moms constantly in competition and battling each other. Our kids are often viewed as a little part of our ego walking around. We probably think a lot of things that we don’t dare actually say […]

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I May Be a Homeschool Veteran, But I’m No Expert

August 7, 2012

Every spring I wrap up the school year feeling pretty good about the year. I am a stickler for making sure our curriculum gets done every spring so when I pack up all the books we completed for the year I really feel like I have accomplished something. When I receive my kids above average […]

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Wordless Wednesday-We Survived Another Year!

May 24, 2012

Last day of homeschool for the year, celebrated with ice cream. Hard to believe we are wrapping up our 7th year! ShareTweet

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Moms are Each Other’s Harshest Critics

April 15, 2012

I know, I haven’t written in forever. It has been a whirlwind of a couple months and now we are in that last six week mad dash to finish homeschool before it gets warm and I lose all focus. Anyways, I was thinking earlier this week about how many times women are our own worst […]

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