Leap Pad 2 camera

Taking photos of my favourite teddies

Update 2013: If you’re looking at the LeapPad Ultra we reviewed that too.

Latest apps Christmas 2013

We decided to invest in LeapPads for the girls’ Christmas present 2012 and they love them.

Here’s what I’ve noticed with my twins.

They eagerly played with them all over Christmas and we changed the four batteries in each console a couple of times. However they love them and personally I think it’s good for them to get the hang of using a console and understanding how they work.

As I already mentioned in my first LeapPad 2 post the handset comes with five games already loaded and they, together with the camera, video and drawing facilites kept the girls happy right through till back to school time. Then I noticed that once they mastered the games, the console was put to one side as they focused their attention on other games.

Which is fine, I love to see them role playing with dolls, putting puzzles together and playing Snakes and Ladders with daddy but it does show that this ‘toy’ needs constant refreshing if it is to be used properly and not get shoved in a drawer and forgotten.

After a month I did my first upload via the LeapPad Connect centre, it was very simple and I was pleased to see apps priced from £3.50 on there. Here’s what we added last month and how the girls found the apps

Jake and the Neverland Pirates £20.00

One of the more expensive apps available but also one of the top picks. Jake and the Neverland Pirates game encourages number recognition, shapes, sorting and clarifying and numbers. All perfect for their age (3 – 5) and ties in nicely with what they’re doing at school. the beauty of this game is it’s very self explanatory and the girls have never had to come and ask how to do something. I have noticed when they start playing this game they can be there for a good half an hour.

Crayola Art Adventure £20.00

Aimed at ages 3-5 Crayola Art Adventure is all about using your artistic skills to help the Pip Squeaks solve problems. This app teaches colours, art and drawing, shapes, logic and reasoning and memory skills too. I have seen the girls play with this a few times, Alice more than Bessie. A good app but uploaded along with Jake didn’t get a lot of airtime. which means the more expensive games need uploading one at a time.

LeapFrog’s Letter Factory video £7.50

This was the first app I downloaded, included in one of the free ones at Christmas. Only these special offers cannot be shared between consoles which of course caused a problem as they BOTH liked it and wanted to watch it. It’s a brilliant video where they discover each letter and sound it along a story line appealing to kids, we ran the batteries down a few times before they moved on.

playing with LeapPad2

Disney Beauty and the Beast: the Enchanted Rose £5.00

An eBook which they have listened to over and over. I think this eBook will pass the test of time too as their reading becomes more advanced they can start to read instead of listen to the story. A favourite story of theirs and reasonably priced too.

Disney Cinderella Ultra eBook £15.00

Whereas the Ultra eBooks cost a bit more they also include games and other interactive parts in the story to involve the children more. The girls love it and it’s good to see them practise their phonic skills and learn about word recognition which ties in so well with what they’re doing at school.

Leap Frog Learning Songs £3.50

A selection of 5 songs to choose from including Punc punc punctuation and Sticky icky vowels the two that in all honesty I am tired of listening too! Which means 1. The girls have listened to them a lot 2. They must enjoy the app even if I’m not so keen. Which is another reason it would be good to use the headphones. I’m hoping as they learn to write more complex structured phrases next year these songs will come in handy.

So there’s our first selection reviewed for you and I hope it gives some good information. We’ve just downloaded our next batch so watch out for that in about a month’s time.

One last thing worth remembering is you can decide which apps you want them to see on their console. For example if they have become bored with one, you can click it so it doesn’t show and re-introduce it to them in a few months time when they’ll be happy to see it again and probably play it at a better level than the first time round

I was invited to a great event in July which I sadly couldn’t take part in due to family commitments but I hope to go next year. It’s an event where the top toy companies showcase their new products for the upcoming Christmas season and ask a group of mums (I was supposed to be one of them) to go around the toy fair and judge the toys, choosing their top 5 for each category as can be seen below.

So in a ‘You heard it here first’ these are the products my fellow judges chose and I thought by sharing them now you could do a little internet search and see if any of them fit the bill for your gift list.

Enjoy the list, I’d be interested to know what your thoughts are – would you have chosen them?

Top toys for Christmas 2012

1. Augmented Reality Puzzles, Ravensburger

Ravensburger Augmented Reality Puzzle

2. InnoTab 2, VTech

VTech InnoTab 2 blue

3. Wheelybugs, Hippychick Ltd

Wheelybugs - Hippychick

4. Sylvanian Families Holiday, Flair

Flair - Sylvanian Families Holidays - Girls

5. Leap Pad 2, Leap Frog

LeapPad 2- LeapFrog


Top Boys’ Toys for Christmas 2012

1. Subbuteo, Paul Lamond

2. Dinosaur figures, Schleich

3. Star Wars rc pump and play R2-D2, Bladez Toys

4. Topps Minis FA Wembley Stadium, Character Options

5. Trash Pack Street Sweeper, Flair

Top Girls’ Toys for Christmas 2012

1. Wheelybugs, Hippychick Ltd

2. Sylvanian Families Holidays, Flair

3. myStyle Deluxe Charm Bracelet kits, Interplay

4. Love my street, World’s Apart

5. Bratzillas, MGA Entertainment

Top Creative Toys for Christmas 2012

1. Aquarelle, Ravensburger

2. Brain Noodles, Paul Lamond Games

3. Triqo Deluxe Box Mix

4. Paper FX, Flair

5. Make your own Go Kart, ARK DIY Toys

Top pre school toys for Christmas 2012

1. Peppa Pig jumping in muddy puddles, Character Options

2. Go MINI, Golden Bear

3. Large farm playset on the land, HABA

4. Mike the Knight Glendragon play set, Character Options

5. Polar World set, Tolo Toys

 Top Gadgets for Christmas 2012

1. Augmented reality puzzles, Ravensburger

2. HEXBUG Scarab, Innovation First

3. Google Android RC robot, Bladez Toys

4. itikes map, MGA/Zapf

5. Water cannon, Bladez Toys

Top Electronic for Christmas 2012

1. InnoTab 2, VTech

2. LeapPad 2, Leap Frog

3. Kurio, Inspiration Works

4. Skylanders Giants, Activision

5. Singalongs, Wow! Stuff

Top Games and Puzzles for Christmas 2012

1. 3D puzzle, Ravensburger

2. It’s a chicken, Paul Lamond Games

3. Christmas Puzzle, Ravensburger

4. Rubiks Cube, Drumond Park

5. Logo What Am I, Drumond Park