"Playing LeapPad" felt-tip pen on marker paper

My now 6 year old daughter watched the demo video for the LeapFrog LeapPad a few times this past summer and she promptly put it at the top of her birthday wish list.  My husband and I debated a bit about whether it was just an intro into video games which we wanted to avoid (and have avoided so far).  Leapfrog is familiar to us because my daughter has the Tag Reader and several books. Even after a full year she is still reading with them.  In fact my 3 year old son enjoys “reading” with the Tag Reader too.  He likes to point to different pictures and hear the sound effects.  My daughter is also a very early reader and we can’t say Tag didn’t contribute.  So the positive experiences with the Tag reader lead us to consider LeapPad.


While a lot of the content for the LeapPad comes in the form of apps you have to purchase it does have some included content that is appealing.  It has a built in video and still camera (including Photo Lab which lets you edit and sketch on photos), Story Studio, Art Studio, and Pet Pad where you can play with and care for a customizable pet and also learn and form letters with the tethered stylus, plus a couple downloadable apps – Sugar bugs (a game of teeth brushing) and Alphabet Stew (a word search game).  “My Stuff” is the file system that lets you save your projects and with a USB cable sync these files to your computer.  Each app has a video tutorial.  Art studio is a draw and paint program with object stamps, a pattern brush, and a zoom feature.  And with Story Studio you can create your autobiography!  You can have up to 3 users or separate profiles.  LeapPad really works like a grown up tablet with touch screen and clever interactions like blowing on the screen to dry your pet in “Pet Pad”.  My daughter also has the Mr. Pencil app which teaches about art and has several art projects including a cool and easy to use animation feature!

Pros and Cons…

LeapPad is a quality made durable product but it does not have a built-in battery like a grown-up tablet.  You must buy rechargeable AAA’s and charge them separately.  I consider this to be a major design flaw especially since it doesn’t hold a charge very long (this is most noticeable when it’s new and you are using it a lot)!  The battery door is also not very intuitive to open and the batteries can be a little tricky to remove.  LeadFrog does offer an AC adapter for $10.

The verdict?

Leapfrog has many apps for sale some downloadable and some cartridge including learning games, videos, and reading apps ranging in price from $5 to $25.  Overall we are happy with the purchase and plan on adding a couple apps for Christmas.  The apps we are considering are Globe: Earth Adventures, The Flashcard Land Animals app, and maybe a book app.  Overall I would recommend the LeapFrog LeapPad.  It is a fun, portable learning oriented tech gadget for kids 4-9 but keep in mind you will want to add apps and currently there are no free ones!

If interested in buying click on my hyper-links (to go to Amazon) or check out my ads in the side-bar for great deals!

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Update: This caught my eye!  A new app for learning Spanish – check it out here!


I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! doodlesandjots@hotmail.com. If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


  1. I am having the same “gateway to video games” fear right now. I think my Sister-in-law is getting my son (who is only 1 and a half!) a little leapster laptop thingy for Christmas. I am worried about it being a)a breakable thing for such a little guy, and b) an addiction that totally techs him out at a young age.

    • My kids and I took a Waldorf class together a couple years ago; they have great toys all natural materials and a much calmer imaginative environment – that kind of thing is my favorite but I have a hard time being strict about flat-out saying no to TV, etc; so far I don’t see the LeapPad as having that addictive nature of the video-games at least not for my daughter…

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