REVIEW: Leapster Explorer

{ disclosure : was provided a leapster explorer and disney princess game but the opinions expressed here are always my own }

Always trying to keep at bay the days of mindless video game playing, I was so excited to try out Leapfrog’s all new Leapster Explorer.  The husband and I are huge fans of the Leapfrog brand and eagerly purchase their products as gifts for our nephew and friend’s children.  I mean what parent would scoff at educational toys?!  I think at some point we have to reconcile that our children are growing up in the digital age. My daughter knew how to operate our DVD player before she could even tell us what DVD’s she was watching.  Seeing mommy on the computer all the time probably doesn’t help keep her at bay either.  In fact, she’s always trying to play with my computer, much to my chagrin!  It’s all around them, and whether or not we want to face it, we have to embrace it at some point.  The more you deny them something, the more they want it.

The nephew has had a Nintendo DS since he was 3 or 4 and the toddler is always trying to play with it even if she can’t even begin to grasp the complications of the games.  Ever since we opened the Leapster Explorer, the fighting has ceased.  He’s got his DS and she’s got her Explorer.  In fact, as usual, since she’s got the newer toy, he wants in on it too.  Isn’t that funny?  The Leapster Explorer is practically an iPad for kids with options like Games, e-Books, downloadable Apps and Video capabilities. The graphics are amazing.  Way better than I expected considering the quality of other hand held educational toys out on the market.

Since this product has a recommended age range of 4-9, I wasn’t sure if the toddler was mature enough to use it.  But sure enough, within seconds she was tapping away figuring things out on her own.  She loves the Pet game where she gets to have her own virtual pet.  I was thrilled to find the bevy of apps and e-books available to download, over 20 of them.  You get one free leaplet download card and can purchase additional Leaplet download cards for $14.99 for a set of 2 making them a great stocking stuffer gift come Christmas time.  I could go on and on about the many features of the Leapster Explorer , but I have neither the time or the room.  One of the standout points I have to say is their integration with Leapfrog’s Learning Path where parent’s can see their child’s progress as well as their interactions on LeapWorld.  Along with the bevy of Leapfrog products, you can really create a customized learning plan for your child.

The Leapster Explorer is available in both their signature green and purple, retails for a very reasonable $69.99 and requires 4 “AA” batteries which are not included.  We’re also anxiously awaiting the debut of the Leapster Explorer Camera which is an attachment that turns the Explorer into both a camera and video recorder.