Bestest Christmas Gift Guide – The LeapPad 2
Aah, the Leap Pad. There’s no escaping it – todays children are Digital Natives. They want the tech, and they know how to use it FAR faster than you. It’s true. But really – do you WANT your 6yr old let loose on your iPad?
No, me either.
(I liked a recent comment I saw on PC Advisor about this; “the iPad is too big for smaller hands; the iPad links to the bad, mad world of the Internet; kids on iPads keep demanding new apps; iPads are expensive; iPads break when dropped; sometimes you want to use your own iPad, you know, yourself…”)
Luckily, the toy manufacturers saw the gap in the market, and plugged it neatly. There are a number of tablets available for children – but my money is on the latest LeapPad 2.
One of the first things I loved is the fact that the design is not too ‘babyish’ – it’s not going to be cool when she’s a teenager, but nor will she have grown out of it by next Christmas either. The suggested age range is 3-9 (I’d say by 8 they’re looking upwards for something a bit sleeker and more mature, though the functionality will continue to serve them just fine). Oh, and it comes in Pink (*sigh*).
But it’s not really about the looks; it’s what’s inside that counts…
Content – Connect to a computer to download new apps, and also store the 2,789 photographs they’ve just taken. Simple – and I love the lack of internet access.
The LeapPad comes pre-loaded with a load of ‘stuff’ – top favourite here is the Art Centre. Anything that involves drawing will always be a success with my girl!
Cameras. The LeapPad2 has TWO (one facing ‘out’, one facing ‘in’)! Both are an improvement the original LeapPad (2 megapixel!), as the leapPad2 has a faster processor, and better memory and battery life.
Let’s face it – hand a child a camera and they’re happy. Take that one step further and allow them to take images of themselves and the fun simply doubles. Add photo-adjusting software? They’re in heaven.
The screen – It’s 5′, so a good size to be held in smaller hands, and can be controlled by finger or a pen. And there’s a neat touch in that the pen is attached by a cord, so won’t get lost (*shakes fist at the Nintendo DS Stylus Gods*)
The Battery – You need AA’s, so make sure you’ve invested in rechargeables (suggested use time is 9hrs, so you’ll NEED them!)
The voice IS American (but not hideously robotic or accented the way the first electronic games were), and naturally the games all have the darlingest little jingly-jangly tunes… you might like to make headphones the first accessory ;)
But the thing I love best about the LeapPad is that it automatically adjusts its level as your child learns, making questions and tasks more challenging as your child grows.
In all, the quality is good, the apps are wide-ranging and educational as well as out-and-out silly fun… and your child will LOVE it.
We used Idealo to find the best price for the LeapPad 2 – which currently seems to be Aamzon at £80.