Today our topic is the LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum Learning Tablet, and I must say, this one is yet another of LeapFrog’s great children’s educational products. This system provides access to over 1000 learning games, videos, and e-books that will stimulate your child’s imagination. Most of these are, of course, sold separately. (Note as well that the LeapPad Platinum I’ve linked to above is the GREEN version, but there’s also a PURPLE model available.) Let’s jump right in with a look at the LeapPad Platinum’s key specs:
LeapPad Platinum Specs
* 7″ 1024×600 High Resolution, Shatter-Safe Screen
* 1.0GHz Processing Speed
* 8GB Memory
* Two Cameras & Video Recorders (Records in 480p)
* Rechargeable Built-in Lithium Ion Battery
* 1 AC Adapter & USB Cord
* Wi-Fi Connectivity (Home Internet Connection Required)
* 10 Apps Included (9 Pre-Installed & 1 Download Option – Your choice!)
The LeapPad Platinum comes with many of the same exciting features we’ve seen in previous LeapPad models. This includes the all-important Parental Controls feature, as well as the popular Kid-Safe Web feature (a special built-in browser that gives your child access to tons of kid-appropriate content—and only kid-appropriate content). These LeapFrog features have been around for a while now, and they only get better with time. For example, Kid-Safe Web currently offers a wide variety of educational web pages and videos that have been reviewed for quality and kid-friendliness by LeapFrog’s dedicated team of learning experts. It’s an ever growing library of first rate content, and you can rest assured that it will provide a productive use of your child’s time!
Another faithful feature of the Platinum tablet is it’s blunt ended stylus. This stylus, which is attached to the tablet by a string (meaning no worries about your child losing it), unlocks all of the LeapPad’s fun and interactive content. I personally spent quite a bit of time using the stylus to play a food truck operator taking customer orders, selecting ingredients, and following recipes that use counting and shape recognition to create fun and healthy meals. Not only was this an educational experience (considering I’m not much of a cook), but the stylus worked great at moving, selecting, and unlocking aspects of the game, and it felt about as safe as any pen shaped object could ever feel with its soft, rounded tip with cloth-like covering on it. Overall I feel very confident about the general safety of this product for children in the specified age range (which happens to be from 3 to 9 years of age).
One of the most fun and interesting aspects of the new LeapPad Platinum is its inclusion of 7 interactive cards called Imagicards. These cards (which you’ll soon be able to buy multiple different sets of, separately) work with the LeapPad Platinum’s camera to unlock the most interactive LeapPad experience yet. By allowing your child to take a picture of whichever card he or she likes, Imagicards combine digital and physical play in a fun and exciting way (this play pattern happens to be very trendy at the moment). Once your child photographs a card, the LeapPad recognizes that card and unlocks additional features & content that extend your child’s play from the physical realm into the digital. For example, some cards feature characters (like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) that, once photographed, come to life and interact with your child in ways that promote learning. Very cool! Individual Imagicard sets will soon be available to purchase with 33 unique cards per pack. This will open a multitude of new play & learn options to your child.
As great as the LeapFrog LeapPad Platinum is, it wouldn’t be quite complete without at least one or two cartridge based games to play on it. The games I’ve recently been testing have not yet become available at Best Buy. For this reason, I’ll simply link to Best Buy’s complete selection of LeapFrog Games & Software.
There is one other point that certainly bears mentioning here. The games I’ve been testing do not appear quite as sharp on the screen as I expected or remembered from previously testing earlier LeapPad models. The games that are built into the system look fine, but I suspect that some of the LeapFrog cartridges, having appeared well ahead of the LeapPad Platinum, were made with graphics quality that can’t quite live up to the Platinum’s HD capabilities. I don’t recall feeling that the graphics on any of the earlier LeapPads I tested were lacking in any way, so it probably just means that the LeapPad Platinum’s graphics have moved beyond awesome!
The first game I tested was the Mathematics Learning Game – Nickelodeon TEAM UMIZOOMI Umi City Heroes! This interactive game teaches 3-5 year olds their numbers, patterns, shapes, & measurement.
The game tells the story of the Umis & the Trouble Makers! While it may not be a classic fairytale, it does feature the classic good vs. evil theme. It combines bright, vibrant colours with positive characters that are sure to make it one of your child’s favourite games. As your child helps the Umis to clean up after the unfortunate antics of the Trouble Makers, they will learn mathematics & shape recognition (both identifying and drawing shapes). They will also learn to differentiate between letters and numbers, and there’s positive encouragement when the wrong answer is picked. Counting, identifying size differences, and selecting among various items are also included. There’s even pattern repetition (such as practice writing numbers), and all the while the difficulty level increases as one makes his or her way through the game. There’s actually much more than this going on in this game as well, and it’s all specifically designed to provide your child with hours upon hours of serious learning fun!
Another excellent learning game for your really small child is the Kindergarten Learning Game – Get Ready for Kindergarten. This game teaches your 3-5 year old child phonics, counting, letter & number recognition, and important daily routines.
The game starts out with a fun song that includes positive messaging suggestive of kindergarten being cool and providing fun adventures “everyday”. I’m no expert, but this may well provide some reassurance for any child having a few nervous thoughts about the first day of school… In any case, within this game there are essentially 3 mini games:
Counting at the Dragon Cafe: Help Pillar and Daniel at their Dragon Cafe by tracing numbers found on a cheque (focusing on staying inside the lines of the number), identifying exact numbers as well as most vs. least. This is a great starter game for learning numbers and math.
Ozzie & Mack ABCs: Help the children with their reading skills by tracing letters, identifying the correct letter from a group, identifying letters according to the sound they make, distinguishing upper case from lower case letters, and finding mini books to read on the shelves. There are also many fun things hidden around the room to be discovered when clicked on with the stylus. Obviously, this one is a great alphabet learning & reading game.
Stretchy Monkey’s Super Day: Help Stretchy the Monkey to do some simple daily chores (such as making his bed, brushing his teeth, choosing among healthy & junk food items, and packing his bag for the day). Next, move on to other fun tasks like collecting bananas (which plays more like a typical video game). At the end of the day, you’ll repeat the same games by unpacking Stretchy’s bag and putting his things away, as well as choosing healthy foods and again brushing his teeth. This game definitely helps to promote healthy behaviours—things like being tidy, practicing good eating habits, and being helpful to others. At the very end of the game, there’s an opportunity to read two fun books and then head to bed! Good stuff for any little monkey!
There are a whole host of games for the LeapPad Platinum tablet (again, these may be found HERE, at Best Buy), and the tablet itself allows your child to move up the learning ladder with more and more advanced games as they grow and develop. As for the LeapPad Platinum itself, I cannot help but recommend this tablet. It is yet another great product from LeapFrog and an excellent step forward in their system development. If your child doesn’t already have a LeapFrog tablet, this is the one to pick up. If your child does have an earlier model, you may want to get them this one anyway!