Our New Puppy Friend, Read With Me Scout

The boys have a new little puppy! Okay…so it’s not a real puppy. We received Read with Me Scout from Leapfrog to review and the boys are loving him.

Read with Me Scout from LeapFrog is an interactive plush toy that helps children develop reading comprehension skills to get them on a path to reading. Not only does puppy pal Scout make reading fun with five interactive stories that he reads aloud, but he also responds to every pet, pat, hug and kiss! Simply press a button on his collar to start reading and pat his head to turn the page. Scout will ask your child questions throughout each story to create engaging learning moments and help build comprehension skills. Scout loves to sing, too!  Switch into Sleepy Time Mode when it’s time to snuggle and listen to relaxing stories and eight minutes of lullabies.

It was interesting to see how both boys interacted with Scout. Jacob, who is five and just starting to sound out words, really enjoyed reading the books with Scout. He followed along while Scout read the words and he’d tap Scout’s head every time he was ready to go on to the next page.

Lucas played with Scout completely different than Jacob did. Lucas, my four year who has Autism, looked at the books for a few minutes but spent most of the time just cuddling with Scout and listening to his songs. Luke isn’t too fond of books at the moment but I’m hoping that as he gets older he will use Scout’s reading feature.

Overall, Read with Me Scout has been a hit in our home. We’ve had it for about 2 weeks and the boys have played with it numerous times so far. I like that Scout doesn’t just read the books but asks questions as well. This makes kids become an active participant in the story instead of just having the story read to them. I loved watching Jacob answer Scout and could tell that he was really thinking about everything he heard. I like that Scout is soft and cuddly and has different options for play so that kids of all abilities and ages can enjoy him.

Having owned a variety of Leapfrog products these past years I have to say that this is one of my favorites (second only to the LeapPad).

(Disclosure: We received a Read with Me Scout from Leapfrog to review.)

LeapPad2 Power Prize Pack Giveaway {$170 Value}

(Disclosure: I received products from LeapFrog and this giveaway is sponsored by them but all thoughts are my own.)

Yesterday I posted a video with some great tips on choosing educational toys. I learned a lot of valuable information, including more about how toys are developed at LeapFrog. You can find the video here.

I’m so excited that LeapFrog is letting me host a giveaway for you all! We have an old LeapPad and the kids love it! One of you will win a LeapPad2 Power, 2 games and $20 app card. The total value of this giveaway prize is $170. Wouldn’t this make a perfect Christmas gift!?

Here’s a little more about the LeapPad2 Power:

Create, learn and explore with the #1 kids’ learning tablet*—now with an easy, one-step recharger built just for the LeapPad2- a $40 value! You’ll never have to buy batteries again!

The LeapPad2™ Power learning tablet includes 9 apps, 4GB memory and loads of exciting features in a kid-tough tablet designed just for kids! Take pictures and videos with front-and-back cameras/video recorders. Play, draw and write on the 5″ touch screen with the included stylus. Tilt and shake for motion-based play, customize and care for a lovable pet, and create masterpieces in the Art Studio.

LeapPad2 Power works with LeapFrog’s library of 800+ educator-approved apps, games, eBooks, videos, music and more.** Learning games draw from 2,600 skills and select games auto-level, adapting to your child’s pace in subjects like reading, writing and mathematics. With 4GB of storage and an included rechargeable battery pack, the learning fun never ends!

Features
• Charge and go with a long-lasting rechargeable battery pack and AC adapter included. Get up to 9 hours of play time with each full charge!
• Create, learn and explore with the #1 kids’ learning tablet. Now with an included one-step recharger pack—you’ll never have to buy batteries again!
• Features front-and-back cameras/video recorders, eReader, music player, motion sensor, 5″ touch screen and 4GB memory.
• LeapPad2™ Power includes 9 apps (onboard and downloadable):  Photo Lab, Art Studio, Pet Pad, LeapFrog Learning Songs and more.
• Works with LeapFrog’s educator-approved library of over 800+ games, eBooks, videos and more.
• Compatible with LeapFrog Explorer™ cartridges and apps (sold separately) and LeapFrog LeapPad2™ accessories (sold separately).
• Ages 3-9 years
• Includes 1 year limited warranty

You can also connect to the LeapFrog Learning Path to see the details of your child’s play and learning, including levels achieved, skills practiced and recently played games. Celebrate accomplishments with online rewards, and gather ideas to support and expand the learning.

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me who you’d love to win this for

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Subscribe to this blog via email (look in upper right corner)

4) Comment on another one of my posts

5) Follow LeapFrog on Twitter

6) Follow me on Twitter

Giveaway ends November 1, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter.

An Expert Answers My Questions About Choosing Educational Toys & Games

(Disclosure: This interview is sponsored by LeapFrog and I am receiving some of their products in exchange for posting. Thoughts are my own.)

The Holiday gift giving season is coming up and if you are anything like me you are overwhelmed by the choices of educational toys and games on the shelves. I had a chance to ask some of my top questions when it comes to this topic and get them answered by Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos. Jody is the math and science development expert of LeapFrog’s Learning Team where she works on products across all platforms to teach math and science concepts in developmentally appropriate ways using research-based techniques. Before joining LeapFrog, she was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, a researcher and instructor, and a math textbook author. She is also the proud mother of two boys.

Here were the questions I asked her:

  • How are the age ranges on toys/games/apps decided?
  • How would you suggest dealing with younger siblings wanting older siblings games/toys that are not made for them?
  • What should parents look for when buying toys for preschoolers?
  • What Leapfrog toys do you think will be hot this Christmas season?

Check out her answers to my questions below:

If you can’t view the video, here is a direct link: http://bcove.me/tegllg0zFind more details about the LeapPad Ultra mentioned in the video here.

P.S. Stay tuned this weekend for an awesome LeapPad prize pack giveaway!!

Leapfrog Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar & Learning Bus Review

Leapfrog sent me two new products, the Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar and the Touch Magic Learning Bus. We  had a Rock ‘n Learn party with our cousins so we could try the products out.

The first product all of them wanted to try was the Rockin’ Guitar.

The kids had a lot of fun with this guitar. They enjoyed the songs that were in the guitar and liked pressing the silly sounds button. I liked that it had a strap so they could wear it like a real guitar. It also had an easy on/off button on the front which was nice so the kids could learn how to turn it off themselves.

Nana and Maddie playing the guitar

After I opened the guitars I took the Learning Bus out.

I love toys that teach the alphabet while still being fun and the Learning Bus is definitely one of those types of toys. Along with learning the ABC’s there was also a musical feature to this toy. The toy has a keyboard and then the wheels are a cymbal and a drum. The animals in the windows of the bus tell a little about their instruments and then play music when touched.

Overall, I like the Touch Magic toys. Kids nowadays are used to playing games on touch screen smartphones so I liked that these had the touch play feature. The children {ages 3-5} preferred the Touch Magic Rockin’ Guitar over the Learning Bus, but as a parent, I preferred the bus.

My only concern about these products is the durability of them. I am used to children’s toys being thicker and sturdier but these two toys seem a little flimsy. I am not sure how they will hold up but for about $25 each I think they are both still a wise investment.

(Disclosure: I received products from Leapfrog to review but all thoughts are my own.)