Case in point: their newest product, the Leapster Explorer isn't even out in stores yet and it's already a big hit with my kids. We recently received a super-secret extra-advanced sneak peek of the Explorer, courtesy of our friends at Leapfrog. It's their latest and greatest version of the popular Leapster electronic learning toy, and despite all the other great Leapfrog toys we've had over the years -- the Tag Junior, Tag Reader, Leapster2 (and its various predecessors), Didj and Crammer -- my kids all say the Explorer is the best yet! Read on to find out why, and enter to win one of your own!
Leapfrog's next-generation Leapster educational toy, the Explorer, offers multiple ways for kids to play and learn. It's a gaming device, an e-book reader, a video player and (with separate accessory) a camera, all in one device.
From Leapfrog, here are some of the Explorer's product features:
- Leapster Explorer offers endless ways to play and learn, so children ages 4 to 9 can discover something new every day!
- A library of more than 40 games and activities includes cartridge games, downloadable learning apps, a camera/video recorder and more.
- Children can learn school skills like reading, math, science and geography, plus creativity and life skills like music, health and problem solving.
- Expand the fun and learning in LeapWorld--a safe, online world of learning games and activities. Children can play unique games that connect their online and on-the-go play and learning.
- Parents can connect to the online LeapFrog Learning Path to see what their child is playing and learning, and explore ways to expand their child's learning journey.
The Explorer has certainly (pardon the pun) leapfrogged its predecessor, the Leapster2! Check out the Explorer/Leapster2 comparison table on Leapfrog's website -- or take my kids' word for it. My kids say it is soooo much better. Here's why they love it:
1) You can do so much more than just play games on the Explorer. You can also watch videos, read e_Books, and create virtual pets that you can upload to Leapster's online world, LeapWorld. The kids can't wait for the camera accessory to come out so they can use the Explorer to take photos and play around with the photos they take.
2) The screen is bigger and brighter and the graphics are nicer.
3) The Explorer has games that are challenging even at their level. They're especially obsessed with the "Jewel Train" and "Wheel Works" apps because these games test their logical skills (The Pea says "it doesn't feel like a school lesson"), and they can progress to ever-more challenging levels. There are also character-themed games for older kids like Wolverine, the X-Men, Ben10 and the NFL.
As a parent, I love:
* the ability to download Leaplet learning apps (less game cartridges to break or lose!).
* the ability to have 3 separate child accounts (plus 1 guest account) on each Explorer console.
* the ability to customize spelling lists and math levels in games.
* the ability to adjust learning to each child's level.
* the educational focus -- it's fun-based learning.
* at $69.99, the price is right!
There is definitely room for improvement, and I'm hoping future versions of the Explorer will address these issues:
1) I'm hoping they come up with more content for older kids, particularly e-Books. My oldest daughter, age 9, is out of the Explorer age range, but even my 6-year-old twins feel like the e-Books right now are a bit babyish -- and they are the ones who could most benefit from the reading practice.
2) I'm not a fan of the chunky design, I prefer something sleeker like the Leapfrog Didj.
3) I wish the charger came with the basic kit instead of being sold as a separate accessory. The battery life actually seems longer on the Explorer than on the other Leapfrog products, but we still burn through a LOT of AA batteries!!
4) The Explorer we received has its stylus attached to the left side of the console, which is great for left-handed kids, but I'm wondering why they switched sides (the stylus is attached to the right side of the Leapster2 console).
5) The most serious shortcoming of the Explorer is the fact that the old Leapster, L-Max and Leapster2 game cartridges will not work on it. Parents will have to build up a new Explorer game library from scratch, and at $25 per game, it adds up!
The Bottom Line
Move over, Dora -- there's a new Explorer in town! Leapfrog's Leapster Explorer is so much more than a gaming console: it combines educational content, great graphics
Get a free Leaplet App with pre-order
Until July 1, get a free Leaplet app when you pre-order the Leapster Explorer at participating online retailers! Visit Toys R Us, Target, Walmart, Kmart, Best Buy, Sears, Amazon and Leapfrog.com to view specific offer details.
Win a Leapster Explorer
Be one of the first to play with Leapfrog's Leapster Explorer! One lucky Bonggamom Finds winner will receive their very own Leapster Explorer on July 15, the same day that it becomes available for sale online and in stores.
Leave a comment on this post and tell me where and when your little one would use the Leapster Explorer. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).
1) Go to the Leapster Explorer page, then leave a comment here and tell me which Explorer game you would most like to get for your child (1 entry).
2) Leave a link to this giveaway (http://tinyurl.com/279natk) on any giveaway linky, sweepstakes blog or sweepstakes forum (1 entry each time you leave a link, pls. leave a comment here and paste the URL of the post you left the link on).
3) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).
4) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Blogger(1 entry).
5) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry):
I entered the Leapster Explorer giveaway on Bonggamom Finds! You can enter too at http://tinyurl.com/279natk
6) Write this on the Leapfrog Facebook Fan Page (1 entry):
I entered to win the new Leapster Explorer on Bonggamom Finds! You can enter too at http://tinyurl.com/279natk
8) Follow @leapfrog on Twitter and @bonggafinds on Twitter, and tweet this daily (1 entry per day, leave a comment with the tweet link for each tweet):
You could win the new Leapster Explorer from @Leapfrog! Enter now on @bonggafinds http://tinyurl.com/279natk #giveaway
US Addresses only. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on June 25, 2010; I will draw a winner at random on June 26 and post the winner's name after the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!
Disclosure: I received a product sample, but was not paid to review the product or give my opinions. Product information is provided by the featured company/product and is clearly indicated as such. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.