When the wonderful folks at LeapFrog sent us a new LeapsterGS Explorer to play with and review, the whole family was ecstatic.
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!
Little Man editing my photo in PhotoLab
Big Brother passing the time waiting for therapy appointments, here he is tracing letters:
Little Man playing his favorite games:
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.