As a parent, we struggle from time to time to curate a child’s day with meaningful activities. It is easier to fall into the rabbit hole of “screen time” along with our daily grind of life, in general. Even with the best intentions we may fall short and sometimes feel guilty about our decisions managing screen time. I am always looking out for creative options to engage my child, which led me to LeapFrog‘s LeapStart® Learning Success Bundle™. So, why does screen time restriction warrant attention and is it really important to pause and think? Yes indeed! There are multiple studies done that indicate too much screen time lead to long term issues in kids, not limited to sleep issues, low grades, and more ‘externalizing’ behaviors (things like ADHD, Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Also, simply limiting a kid’s time spent on a given activity does not always result in the child engaging in brain-stimulating activities that encourage growth, academic achievement, and creativity. Parents must provide options and encourage their children to participate. Reduced screen time without good alternatives will almost certainly end in children complaining that they are bored and have nothing enjoyable to do. To grow and develop intellectually, physically, and socially, children not only require time with their parents, spend time outdoors, but also could benefit from toys and activities that pique curiosity. Here is when I would consider a toy like LeapStart® Learning Success Bundle™.
What is it?
This is an interactive learning system helps preschoolers explore math, reading, problem-solving and more making it a great gift to prepare them for school. It engages kids through books and audio for an experience that reinforces learning and helps kids better understand the concepts. So it was a no-brainer that I had to try it for my son who is an auditory learner and seeks constant engagement with letters and numbers.
What does the LeapStart® Learning Success Bundle™ include?
The package includes :LeapFrog LeapStart main “book holder” and pen, and two books. The Go! Go! Cory Carson® Cory Carson Superhero School™ book and an additional activity book. One has to use the LeapStart® stylus to tap on the pictures and words to explore reading, counting, problem-solving and more fun. It is a learning system so majority of replayable exercises feature two stages, each containing 50+ important abilities spanning a range of preschool to first grade subjects. Intended for ages 2-7 years; requires 2 AA batteries that were included.
How does it work?
The holder was also pre-loaded with the first book. Plastic spiral spines of the interactive books allow them to be snapped into the holder. Once you’ve inserted a book, simply press the power button to begin tapping on objects with the stylus. Above the tip of the stylus is a light/photodetector that picks up seemingly undetectable coding on the pages. A single star icon and a double star icon appear on each page of each book. You start a game by touching a star or a double star, then following the instructions. The majority of games require children to touch objects such as shapes or colors, or to trace a form, number, letter, or lengthy string on a balloon. It performs admirably. A youngster can press the hint icon to gain further help, and the stop sign to stop. If you buy any additional interactive book for the system, you must use a USB cable to connect the book holder to your computer. You can add audio files to the book holder that come with each book using the (free) LeapFrog program. It’s not difficult to do, however it is inconvenient that you must connect it to your computer via a USB cord.
How did we use it?
My child had a blast with this reader particularly, because it complemented with his skills and helped with his deficits. My son has low adaptive scores and loves to learn with auditory input. This system helped him with tons of fine motor skill practice while encouraging him to read pages or the book when he was ready. The repetition helped him to master things at his pace and engage in his preferred activities for longer timespans. The device did keep the promise of getting my child excited about everything from problem solving to reading. In a short time he developed the dexterity to handle the stylus and appropriately use it to follow directions.
What could be better?
The Stylus has a short cable that can be a little inconvenient at times. Although, it is thick and comfortable to hold, it can be difficult for a young child to see both the pen tip and the book page at the same time when tracing an item. On the book pages, the pen appears to leave indentations and impressions. Fortunately, this has not yet become an issue and ours still works perfectly despite the wear! Headphones may be a decent solution as the volume level does not go loud enough to hear in a little noisy area. It’s a good beginner package, but if you want to use this with your child, you’ll need to invest in the ecosystem and buy more books. So use this pricing as a starting point, then add a 3- to 6-pack of books to get a closer estimate of your ultimate cost.
References: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-And-Watching-TV-054.aspx https://www.colorado.edu/today/2020/05/20/11-million-7-year-nih-grant-help-unravel-mysteries-teen-brain https://www.aoa.org/news/clinical-eye-care/public-health/screen-time-for-children-under-5?sso=y