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The Gift of Learning!

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Are you unsure of what to get for your kids or grandkids? Then keep reading! My favorite gifts for my kids are toys that are educational. Kids love to play, and they learn best through play, especially in their early years. LeapFrog® products were developed with this in mind, so they have the best educational toys.

The tricky part is picking out which LeapFrog® toys to get, depending on the age and interest of your little ones. Some focus on language, math, handwriting or geography for older kids. This holiday gift guide has toys for toddlers to elementary school age (7 years old). My 3 boys and I love all the products we tried, and I'll break down each one for you below.

No matter the occasion everyone loves to receive gifts but it’s exciting to know that by giving a LeapFrog® product as a gift, you’re helping little ones learn important life lessons and develop critical skills!

LeapFrog® Speak & Learn Puppy™- (ages 1 – 3 years old)

Rhys is my youngest son, and he is 20 months. He instantly fell in love with the LeapFrog® Speak & Learn Puppy™. He would run to it and envelop Bailey into a huge hug. The sweetest thing ever. If your child loves animals and soft objects, this toy is the perfect gift.

And better than just a stuffed dog, you can talk and play with Bailey, the plush puppy. The dog talks back and teaches numbers, letters, and emotions with cute, flapping ears. Rhys found the ears delightful! The puppy flaps his ears and moves his head with real life responses.

As the youngest of 3, Rhys is still learning to talk. Many things are said for him through his older brothers. The puppy encourages him to talk though, as he repeats what he says and asks him questions that keeps Rhys interacting with him.

The Speak & Learn Puppy™ also encourages lots of learning through songs, and in addition to letters and numbers, he teaches about animal facts and sounds, food, and feelings.

LeapFrog® 100 Animals Book™- (ages 18 – 48 months)

LeapFrog® has a variety of different early learning books, but as Rhys is a lover of animals- we chose the LeapFrog® 100 Animals Book™ for him. We started with the animal noises because sounding like animals is one of the most exciting things to do for young toddlers! It is great for early speech development as well.

There are 100 animals in the book and each page is touch-sensitive. The LeapFrog® 100 Animals Book™ has animals from 12 habitats and environments. After we played with the setting of animal sounds, we switched to a different mode to hear the names of each animal and fun facts about each one. This is great for animal lovers and early science enthusiasm.

As someone who is speaking to her kids in Spanish, I LOVE how many LeapFrog® toys have a Spanish setting. You can immerse them in all these different animal names and facts in Spanish, which is such a great introduction into bilingual play and the language.

LeapFrog® My First Learning Tablet™ - (ages 1 - 3 years old)

Rhys always wants to grab and touch my tablet. It's so intriguing to him, even though he just ends up closing everything out. Now when I or his older brothers have their tablets out, Rhys has his own! The LeapFrog® My First Learning Tablet™ is so cool. It has tons of features and covers a range of subjects. There are 20 app icons that explore letters, numbers, shapes, colors, weather, fun facts, counting, stories and foreign languages.

Miles is such a great big brother and demonstrated to Rhys how to use all the different features. He said it out loud and then touched each icon including touching the phone, clock, Scout camera, and the music player. Rhys started to respond to the greetings and dance to the songs - it was adorable. You have to treasure these moments, especially to remember later in life during sibling disagreements. :-)

The learning tablet has three modes: explore, learn and music. There are melodies, counting, animals noises and different facts that go along with each icon.

For example, the rainbow icon plays a very catchy song about the colors of the rainbow. Simultaneously, it displays the colors in a cascading light pattern. Rhys played it at least 5 times in a row. Another favorite is the heart button that flashes at the rate of a heartbeat and gives facts about maintaining a healthy heart.

This will definitely be growing with Rhys as there is more and more that he will be able to figure out as he gets older.

LeapStart® Preschool Success – (ages 2 – 7 years old)

My exuberant middle son is Ellis. He is 4 years old and loves all games. The LeapStart® Preschool Success interactive learning system has books and different activity levels on each page. The first game he played had him "popping" balloons with specific numbers on them. That peaked his curiosity into exploring what the other games would be like in the rest of the book.

He was reinforcing what he knew about numbers, without realizing he was actively learning. If he did, he would be asking me if we were doing more "homeschool". As I'm sure parents have realized this past year during the pandemic, teaching preschoolers at home isn't always easy. Especially energetic ones! Having toys like the LeapStart® Preschool Success helps engage them in learning, but in a really fun and interactive way.

It includes a LeapStart® stylus that Ellis uses to navigate the icon choices and complete the activities. He taps on pictures and words to explore reading, counting, problem-solving and more.

One thing I regularly look for in toys is longevity. I love having a quality toy that will last for years. It's almost like LeapFrog® knows this and makes sure their products can age with kids. I'm excited to explore more books as he gets older. There is a huge library of books in different subjects that you can add on to the system making it a great toy for kids up to first grade.

When we all went into quarantine in March and the boys' school went remote, I printed SO MANY worksheets for Ellis. He was finishing his first year of preschool and I did a sheet for each letter. He would have to trace and then write them himself.

Mr. Pencil’s Scribble & Write™ does an excellent job showing kids how to write letters and numbers. I've been so impressed with it and wish I had it in March to save on all that paper I wasted!

There are six activities that introduce writing, drawing, and spelling with the help of Mr. Pencil. It shows them where to start and what steps to take in a very clear way. Ellis uses the stylus on the touch screen to learn stroke order, trace uppercase and lowercase letters, trace numbers 1-10 as well as draw shapes and watch as they transform into objects.

LeapFrog® Magic Adventures Globe™ - (ages 5 – 7 years old)

Our oldest son, Miles, is 6 years old and in first grade. We have found that the concept of geography is really tough to teach! He gets math facts and reading skills quickly, but he would easily forget the difference between states and countries. In talking to our friends, we realized this is a common theme with young kids. We have a regular globe and would talk about different countries and point them out, but the concepts wouldn’t easily stick.

The LeapFrog® Magic Adventures Globe™ is everything you need in a toy about our world. It makes geography and culture so approachable. You need to run and buy this toy! My entire family is completely obsessed with it. My husband has been asking Miles to play the quiz show with him as he wants to see how much he knows about other countries. We love how Miles started retaining facts instantly about animals, people and the world in general. The globe has a screen of interactive BBC videos that match different subjects for each country and continent.

It includes a stylus that you use to tap the interactive globe. Depending on the subject or mode he chooses, he’ll learn about new places, languages, cultures, animals, geography, habitats and more. He can tap around the globe randomly and learn, or he can participate in different games and quizzes to test his knowledge or use deduction skills from the hints given. I’ve been recommending it to all my friends with kindergartners up to 2nd grade!

About the Author

Shantall Bond is a mother of 3 boys, so she’s always on the move! She blogs at Urban Mom Tales. Her 10 year background in education and counseling started from a genuine passion for people, writing and helping others. After becoming a mom, that passion for creating communities turned into Urban Mom Tales. She lives with her husband and boys in the heart of Chicago.


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