LeapFrog is a leader when it comes to innovative toys that are not only educational but fun and interactive too! Their latest innovation is the LeapFrog LeapBand (MSRP $49.99), the only activity tracker made for kids (Ages 4 to 7 years) that encourages fitness with fun challenges. It is available in pink, green, and blue, is water-resistant, doubles as a digital watch and features a lithium ion battery that is rechargeable via USB port.
As soon as I saw the LeapBand I was immediately reminded of the classic 90s Tamagotchi crossed with a digital watch but its so much more than that. Yes, it feature a customizable virtual pet but it also includes 50 fun challenges that encourage your child to complete physical challenges. As they play they earn points and unlock rewards for their virtual pets. They won’t even realise that they are being so active because of all the fun.
I did test out the LeapBand with Keira who is not quite 3 but I also tested it out myself to get a feel for it. I do think that 4-7 is the optimal age range but Keira loves her LeapBand and is able to complete the challenges when she wants. She also does a whole lot of pressing the activity button without following through but that is where the age thing comes to play.
The LeapBand is worn around the wrist like a watch – it easily fit both Keira and myself.
The LeapBand is able to accurately measure a child’s activity using motion tracking technology and with every movement they collect “joules” towards earning virtual rewards fro their pets. The pets your child can choose from include cat, dog, dragon, monkey, panda, penguin, robot and unicorn. The pets are further customizable by colour and name plus as your child earns joules they can unlock more pets and fun pet accessories to personalize, nurture and play with.The controls have been designed to be easy to use so that kids can prompt audio challenges and play with their pets. Like I said, Keira is able to play with the LeapBand on her own. If my 2 year old can do it, children n the 4-7 age range should have no issues with play.
The LeapBand comes with 10 preloaded active play challenges and 4 cool-‐down challenges. Once I connected the LeapBand to my laptop and logged into LeapFrog Connect I was able to add up to 36 more challenges to really personalize the experience for Keira. Since she is younger, I opted to add only the simplest activities to the LeapBand for her.
Parents can even personalize their childrens usage further by setting school and quiet modes. School mode prevents your child from playing with the LeapBand but it still continues to track your child’s activity points and still displays watch functions. Quiet mode mutes game play. This is really helpful for us right now when it comes to nap time and bedtime to ensure she isn’t up trying to play rather than sleep.
LeapFrog Connect also provides charts showing how active your child is throughout the week with their activity levels completely tracked. This makes it easy to pick out days that are typically slower to help you get them moving and playing.
I love that the LeapBand not only encourages her to get up and stay active but it also helps her develop her gross motor skills as well as her ability to follow and act on commands. She loves hopping around like popping popcorn and following the other commands I loaded onto the LeapBand. It’s great to see her so active and having so much fun.
In addition to the active play with the LeapBand, if you have an iOS or Android based smartphone or Tablet or the LeapPad Ultra you can unlock special rewards and pets in the companion app, Petathlon Games. This app really helps to reinforce the importance of staying active and educates about healthy food choices through six sports-themed games like archery, surfing, and bobsled.
Another great choice for younger children (Ages 4 to 8 years) is the LeapFrog LeapReader. LeapReader (MSRP $59.99) is the premiere learn-to-read-and-write system that helps your child learn to read and write by sounding out words and guiding letter strokes interactively.
I love how the LeapReader is able to really draw Keira into the stories with lively character voices, fun sound effects and activities. She is a bit young for the LeapReader but with my help she still gets a lot out of it and I can see it helping to strengthen her vocabulary skills. I am sure once she is more ready to learn to read this will be an effective and engaging tool
The LeapReader is a setp up from the Tag system which is meant for ages 1 to 3. One of the biggest differences is the interactive handwriting guidance which helps children learn to write stroke-by-stroke on mess-free, no ink LeapFrog Learning Paper. The LeapFrog learning paper and books are sold seperately, only a single sample page as well as a sample reading book is included with the base kit for the LeapReader. I have seen bundles available that would be worthwhile that include several books that are compatible along with the LeapReader itself.
The LeapReader is also rechargeable via USB port. I love not having to worry about more AA batteries.
I love that the LeapReader can not only just read the page to your child but allows your child to read along one word at a time. Plus there are many popular character based books available for the LeapReader which are sure to get any child excited to read! I wish I had something like this when I was first learning to read, I think I would have been a little bit more enthusiastic about it.
Purchase the Leapfrog LeapBand from Leapfrog for only $39.97!