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 new 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 got 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 rhyming. 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.
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