LeapsterGS Explorer [Review]

When the wonderful folks at LeapFrog sent us a new LeapsterGS Explorer to play with and review, the whole family was ecstatic.

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Although I am not a fan of video games or screen time for my kids (hello, have you noticed we play outside a lot around here?!) I have always allowed them limited time to play educational video games. In fact, Big Brother watches 0 hours of TV a week (he greatly dislikes TV in any form) and Little Man is limited to just a small amount of screen time each afternoon. Right before we traveled to Hong Kong in 2011 to bring Big Brother home, however, a family member bought each boy a Leapster Explorer to aid in the global travel that awaited us. Ever since that time, the boys have enjoyed playing the educational games on their Leapster Explorers. I have found that they really come in handy when you have many therapy appointments and waiting rooms to visit each week!

The new LeapsterGS however, is a huge improvement over the original Leapster Explorers my sons came to love so much. Before I get into the details, here’s what the boys themselves had to say about their new LeapsterGS:

(for those who are new to the blog, Little Man is 4 years old and Big Brother is 5, but has developmental delays and has trouble expressing himself)

Look at these faces as they begin to play around with the built-in camera and video recorder!

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“Cheese, Mommy!”

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Little Man editing my photo in PhotoLab

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Big Brother passing the time waiting for therapy appointments, here he is tracing letters:

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Little Man playing his favorite games:

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I loved the earth science and nature-themed concepts in the Brave game:

If you have experience with the original Leapster Explorer, here are the improvements in the LeapsterGS:

  • thinner, sleeker design
  • larger screen and better graphics
  • built-in motion sensor, camera, video camera and microphone for interactive play
  • faster processor
  • 4x the internal memory

I have to say that these improvements are HUGE and the new LeapsterGS exceeded all of my expectations by a landslide.

Here are the things I loved:

  • extremely durable (our dear destucto-Big Brother put this to the test…ahem)
  • The Phineas and Ferb game was loved by Little Man and I love that it teaches physical science concepts (like building circuits, forces etc)
  • The Brave game was awesome in my opinion because it teaches lots of plant and animal facts while providing nature puzzles to solve.  The game was a bit hard for my boys, but they will be able to grow into it.
  • Escape of the Sillies was a favorite of both boys and allows them to design monsters using the camera and microphone and then use their math skills to play
  • Pet Pad was dearly loved by both boys and provided great letter recognition and writing activities
  • The camera and photolab was a big hit

The only thing I did not like is that the game will go through batteries very quickly.  You should note, however, that you can purchase a rechargeable battery pack set and we definitely will be doing this in the future. I think we went through three sets of batteries in two weeks!  All in all, I was extremely impressed with the new and improved LeapsterGS. At $69.99, I think this game is a very good deal and would recommend it for other children ages 4-9.

LeapFrog sent me a LeapsterGS Explorer and the above mentioned games free of charge, however, all opinions expressed in this review are completely and honestly my own.

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