Tech gadgets have always fascinated my son. I suspect it runs in the family genes since I’m an avid fan of fun-filled gizmos as well. Therefore it’s not surprising at 3 years of age, he would be captivated by computers with their myriad of on screen eye candy as well as the keyboard’s buttons, letters, symbols, and numbers. To my dismay, he randomly discovers certain keystroke combinations which result in negative “reactions” from my computer such as new settings being implemented, files going missing etc. The same holds true for my Apple iPhone. He’s enamored with the multitouch aspect of the device which is fine but due to his scrutiny certain apps end up being rearranged or disappear altogether. Thankfully these items are all backed up on my computer via itunes (Apple’s software engineers have kids too.). Without question, my son’s interaction with these devices have been a source of conflict between the two of us. I needed to provide my son with a viable, engaging alternative to my personal tech gear. But what? Enter LeapFrog’s Text & Learn to the rescue.
LeapFrog’s Text & Learn is a durable handheld device created for children ages 3 to 6 which mimics the use of a smartphone device such as the aforementioned Apple iPhone or a Blackberry. The layout has a screen, a QWERTY keypad, three mode buttons, a directional pad and paw (enter) button which are easily accessible to a child’s fingers. The physical size of LeapFrog’s Text & Learn is large enough to be held by both of your toddler’s hands. The grip and feel of the device are rugged and solid. It was designed to withstand rough handling as well as the inevitable dropping of the device on the floor.
The LeapFrog Text & Learn offers three learning modes. The first mode is Letter Mode which allows your child to press a letter and hear the letter’s name and sound as it appears on the screen. In addition, a clever animation appears on the screen to provide an example of pronunciation as well as words that make use of the letterr. For example, pressing the letter O will result in hearing and seeing ” O says ah as in Octopus and O as in Ocean, Octopus in the Ocean!” You see the letter, the words, and the animation of an Octopus in the Ocean.
The second mode is Game Mode provides two games. A letter bubble game in which the child must press the corresponding letters found within floating bubbles in order to have them pop. The second game, makes use of shapes in order to help Scout, a green puppy, navigate his way home.
The third mode is Pretend Internet Mode which provides a calendar, tunes, and text messaging. The calendar has a Days of the Week song as well as the option to explore what Scout has scheduled for each day. Tunes has different types of music to dance along with Scout. Text Messages provides a pretend text messaging experience in which Scout sends you a text message and the child can reply by pressing letters and sending using the paw( enter) button.
Overall LeapFrog’s Text & Learn has been a welcome addition to our collection of cool tech gear. My son loves it and actually prefers using it (thank you LeapFrog!) instead of my computer and iPhone. I recommend you check this device out yourself. It may be the most cost effective solution to protect your personal tech gear investments while keeping your children engaged and interested in technology.
Great for ages 3 to 6. Fun, durable, engaging device which mimics the use of a smartphone.
Screen is not backlit. Can be hard to see in poor lighting situations.
Recommended. Grade: A –
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