playing with LeapPad2The latest Leappad apps to be downloaded onto the girls machines are Mr Pencil and Minnie Mouse Bow-tique, both have kept them amused for a long time and both games were easy enough for them to get started straight away without me having to intervene.

Mr Pencil

Teaches

Letter writing
Number writing
Art and drawing
  • Learn how to write letters and numbers and create art as you help Mr. Pencil and his friends save the town!
  • A pair of twisters has erased the signs, shapes and lines of Doodleburg! Learn how to write and draw as you join Mr. Pencil and friends to return the town to its former glory.
  • Create your own art using cool tools, colours, filters, stamps and effects.  Become an animator by creating your own flip book.
  • As you play, you can earn badges for your achievements which can then be converted into LeapWorld tokens where you can customise your Mr Pencil game.  Or use your tokens in LeapWorld where you can adopt a pet, play games and earn rewards.
  • 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.

Mr Pencil leap pad game

Mari’s World Verdict: I’m impressed, the girls will play with this game for a good length of time and when I ask them to stop they protest – sign of a good app. I had a go myself, there is writing practise, number recognition and help in learning to draw. I really like it but it does drain the batteries – get a charger!

Minnie Bow Tique

This game is about to be launched here in the UK and we got a sneaky preview of it so we could write this review up. It’s aimed at 3 – 5 year olds.

Teaches

Upper- and lower-case letters
Listening skills
Sound blends
Logic and reasoning
Memory Skills
Colors

It’s a busy day at Minnie’s Bow-tique—everyone’s getting ready for a super secret surprise party! Join in the fun and help Minnie and Daisy turn ribbon and dazzles into beautiful bows for all of their friends. Builds phonemic awareness and memory skills while encouraging creative play.

  • Play three curricular games to prepare for the party, including Ribbon Roundup, Butterfly Bows and Daisy’s Dressing Room. Plus, enjoy the Bow Design Studio and Hide & Seek with Cuckoo Loca.
  • Match colors and letters in Ribbon Roundup to help create new bows! Difficulty level adjusts to the player’s skill level for just the right learning challenge.
  • Help Daisy pack up her special Butterfly Bows. Identify a word by blending sounds. Grab the bow with a picture of that word. Correct answers sparkle and are packed up for delivery to happy customers.
  • Play fashionista and help Daisy design a festive look for the party! Use logic and memory skills to help Daisy find the perfect bow, blouse and heels for the big party!
  • Craft Minnie’s fa-mouse bows in the Bow Design Studio with ribbon, dazzles and glitter.
  • Teaches word sounds, letter recognition, memory skills, logic & reasoning and colors.

MInnie Mouse Bow tique game for Leap PadMari’s World verdict: Another great game aged at children 3 – 5 and for that reason my girls get quickly bored with it as they don’t find it challenging enough. I would imagine this game to be PERFECT for pre-schoolers who are still learning about colours, letters and numbers. It would really encourage them to learn

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