LeapFrog Leap Pad Platinum
Maybe I was being naïve but I envisaged the days of trying to fend the kids off my phone a lot later in life. They somehow mastered the navigation on YouTube, without the handy life skill of being able to read, and the rest is history.
Desperate for my phone back in my life (many times I am begging for it’s return from one of my kids!), we decided to look at a suitable child-friendly replacement and came across LeapFrog’s LeapPad’s Platinum.
When it comes to choices for a kid’s table there’s a few big contenders, and I’ll be honest in saying that many offer a simiar-ish type of product, but I really love the ethos behind LeapFrog - they have a full team of educational and gaming experts that construct add-ons to their tablets to provide that longevity and interest, while encouraging continued learning and development of key skills through the years.
The Platinum is a decent size for Noah’s four-year-old hands. It’s a chunky bit of kit with a clear shatterproof HD wide screen nestled in a big colourful bumper. It has built in rear and forward facing camera, headphones and is WiFi compatible with parental controlled Internet so in theory sounds perfect for a toddler proof tablet.
As Noah is clearly coming of age and knows his way around technology fairly well, this time I decided to charge it up, get it set up and let him have a fiddle to see how he got on then show me what he had found. Using trial and error with the interactive pen, he had successfully navigated through a few of the pre-loaded apps. PhotoFun is a firm favourite, and the simplest things like creating a picture have to date created hours of entertainment.
The layout is very comfortable for pre-schoolers, good clear illustrations and easy routing through the options means they get to grips, and feel confident, with the tablet pretty quickly. Things such as using the limited access Internet need more parental guidance but I was totally fine with this.
For a unique take on a kid-friendly console, the LeapPad Platinum comes with a set of Imagicards. A small deck of cards that are similar to how we would use a QR code – they capture the card on the device, which then comes to life with that character to navigate you through some of the different apps and games. It’s a nice way to mix up the standardised sole focused games and encourage children to explore new skill areas and games but with a familial character.
Having a good play myself, I was really impressed. Its navigation is pretty intuitive and it moved with speed as you click from app to app unlike some of its competitors.
The set up and parental controls can be set pretty tightly so for peace of mind for younger children, you can confidently be safe leaving them to have a play without stumbling across, or purchasing something, that they really shouldn’t be! The set up doesn’t take long at all, and gives you the opportunity to personalise the tablet, which Noah loved, so he has his own profile and it stores details such as his age, which provided good direction for best use of the app.
Parents can also set time limits, a great idea for sharing with a sibling or just factoring in some time out when the kids get a bit too zoned in on technology.
Going back to my love of LeapFrog, the tablet really tunes in to the LeapFrog App Centre, and kids can literally go crazy over the choice of add ons. As a system it comes with plenty of games, however once connected to the store, it opens up to over 800 more downloads. There is a charge for these (and I will wanr you they’re not super cheap), but like I say, you don’t necessarily need them for quite some time and is in no way a prerequisite for purchasing this tab. LeapFrog has a whole dedicated team that work on developing apps and games, ensuring they’re fun but also educational so down the line I highly recommend taking a look at some of the extras to enhance it.
The LeapFrog Leap Pad Platinum is available in Green or Purple and is priced £99.99 from www.leapfrogstore.co.uk.