Part of my review for LeapFrog's My Own Storytime Pad required that she give it a whirl and personalize it to her liking.
And there's a lot of liking.
The thing is pretty cool; a preschooler's version of a tablet, complete with pretend (and individualized!) emails from Mom, Dad, and Suzy, stories that she can choose, built-in playlists and the ability to create her own songs. There's an ABC function that lets her type out letters and learn phonics, and even (the slightly more advanced) ability to "write" her own stories.
As we already own a LeapFrog My Own Pal (Violet, thankyouverymuch), I had already installed LeapFrog Connect on my computer to hook it up with her name and personal preferences. (This is how Violet knows Nora digs blueberry pancakes and The Itsy Bitsy Spider.)
|Checkin' out the specs.|
Being as my child was born in '09, she already has the techie knowledge so inherent in her generation- so she flipped it over and turned the power on immediately. And regardless of how often I initially showed her the lower buttons of ABC, email, stories, and music, she really just wanted to spend a good twenty minutes pressing the two dogs, cat, and chipmunk(?) at the very top to make them say different phrases. I completely understood.
Once we got into story mode, I showed her how to press the arrow keys to turn pages. This had mixed results as, at times, she'd patiently wait for each page to be read, and other times flip the pages like a windstorm. (I was not surprised, as this is sometimes how she reads her real books, too.)
Nora really, really liked the music function. She thought the songs were cool, but what totally rocked her world was how each letter on the pad turned into a different musical note or sound effect under the Jam Session option. (Although much like at Christmas with repeated playing of Dominick the Donkey, I quickly tired of the 'braying' one.)
The ABC phonics button captured her attention for a bit, and she had fun repeating what each letter sounded like. After a little bit, however, she turned into a bit of a beat-boxer (T-t-t-t-t-t-nnnnnnnnnn) and we moved onto emails.
When she heard and saw the one "from" me, (Nora- I love you SO much! Love, Mommy) she lit up and thanked me. (I do kind of wish there was an option to type out personal and simple messages that departed from the three stock options, but it's still pretty cute. And she looked downright amazed that Susannah had access to an email account.)
My only complaint with this otherwise superbly cool toy is the lack of a backlight function or option to change brightness. The small screen on the tablet is pretty dim and the text doesn't have much of a contrast. Nora and I both found ourselves squinting at times to read the text or see the cartoon characters. It's certainly not a deal breaker, but I was a little disappointed by tech support's answer that the brightness had been set to optimize battery life. (I'm a parent. I can change a darned battery when need be. But if she's gonna learn her ABCs visually, she might want to be able to see them.)
All in all, it's a really cute product, and one that Nora already refers to as her "computer." And retailing at roughly thirty bucks, it's a much cheaper option than letting a toddler potentially destroy an iPad in the pursuit of dominating some angry birds.
Thank you to LeapFrog for sponsoring this review. While LeapFrog provided the product to me for this review, the opinions I've expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest point of view.