Kids seem more and more comfortable with technology nowadays. As a child, if I had a toy that played music and lit up I am pretty sure I’d have been pretty chuffed, but now it seems that kids are just so on top of technology – instructing our Alexa, pinching my phone off me to watch their favourite videos and downloading new episodes of Paw Patrol on Sky!
As you will have noted, all my examples above are basically my kids taking over MY technology, it’s nice for them to have their own for a sense of ownership and just to free up my own stuff. There are a lot of tablets out there so when it comes to purchasing one for your child, it can be confusing.
There’s plenty of family friendly tablets, but for one based solely on children between the ages of three and seven, LeapPad has launched it’s latest offering to the market, the Ultimate.
Many parents will be familiar with Leap Frog, the makers behind LeapPad tablets. They produce popular baby toys, all with an educational element. As you go through the years, they enhance the technology in their products to stand little ones in good stead for the technological world ahead of them.
The Ultimate is a chunky tablet with nice big shatterproof 7” screen, complete with vital bumper to protect from those guaranteed drops and bashes.
Setting it up is a step-by-step process done over the Internet whereby you insert some key details about the child and regionalise it. The tablet can be set with different profiles, a good feature for siblings.
Content is in the form of downloadable apps and preloaded features. The content is similar to that you’d find on your average notebook but with more of a kid-friendly element camera, photo editor, calculator, calendar and a couple of games.
Switching it on, it’s easy to navigate around and very intuitive, even more for a pre-schooler. It’s amazing how they don’t even need the skill to read to manoeuvre around the tablet. Familiar crosses, ticks and arrows allow the user to select and move around the tablet. Even 2-year-old Marley was keen to have a turn and happily copied the options her older siblings had selected.
One of the most reassuring elements to the LeapPad Ultimate is its ability to safely protect children from everything out there that we just don’t want our children exposed to. The tablet can be connected to the Internet via WiFi and they can search on the Leap Search but it features a very tight filter and only the most child-friendly of content will be available.
I’ve reviewed one of the LeapPad tablets before so you may recall some of the great features, but as a refresher all of LeapPad’s tablets come with access to the Leap Store - a bank of over 1,000 games, e-books and apps that are carefully designed by their very own LeapFrog in-house creation team. Most of them appear as general fun for kids, but they each age appropriate and designed to challenge children of different abilities. Some of the apps are on the pricier side (more of the branded ones), but you don’t need to rush into any purchases at the start, as there’s more than enough to keep children occupied. These include arty photo editor, art studio, video camera and voice memo.
As Grace and Noah were sharing the tablet, I liked that under each profile, progress on the apps is monitored and tracked so when you switch profile or turn it off, it retains the information and can continue to develop the user’s learning.
LeapPad has developed a number of other tablets so setting it apart other than the size, this one has improved core processing for a quicker user experience and it comes in to its own with its new Imagicard technology which is fairly similar to QR technology. The camera picks up on the games and apps from small flash cards that come included with the tablet. Further cards can be purchased in the same way as the apps can be added. It won’t blow your mind, but children love the novelty of accessing content in a new way and I guess it’s a reflection of the modern world we live in. It also features an instant chat platform, however don’t start panicking – it needs to be linked with another LeapPad tablet and the child needs to be in the room.
Overall I think it’s a good kids’ tablet, easy to use, intuitive, a little less clunky in functioning that our LeapPad3 and I love that the range in the Leap Store continues to increase just when you thought they’d covered everything off! The increased screen size is a probably my favourite feature, and one I could tell my kids appreciated – maybe bigger is better!