LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: LeapSchool Reading

Common Sense Media says

Great early-reading mini-games with fun characters.

Age(i)

2
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5
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8
9
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12
13
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The characters work together, share, and treat each other with kindness. 

Positive role models

The characters are, for the most part, friendly, helpful, and supportive. There is a general theme throughout that they have borrowed objects from other characters and haven't returned them. There are also a couple of characters who are "snarky."

Ease of play

Controls are easy to learn and instructions are ample. The mini-games gently redirect kids when they make mistakes. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Very safe: Parents can connect the device to the LeapFrog Learning Path to get statistics for their child's use of the game, including how they have done with a particular skill. Kids can also connect to LeapWorld online (a virtual world with no social interaction) to purchase Micromods with tokens they earn from the game. These add additional content, themes, etc., to the game.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: LeapSchool Reading (for Leapster Explorer or LeapPad Explorer) is a collection of mini-games, each attached to a different character in the "school." The compilation includes some reading games, sorting activities, and games that encourage fine motor control and hand-eye coordination. The reading games are varied and some are certainly easier than others. Since the mini-games are designed so kids won't be completely stuck, parents should know that completing the game is not an indication that your children can read. Parents can connect the device to the LeapFrog Learning Path to get statistics for their child's use of the game, including how they have done with a particular skill. Kids can also connect to LeapWorld online (a virtual world with no social interaction) to purchase Micromods with tokens they earn from the game. These add additional content, themes, etc., to the game.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • phonics
  • spelling
  • letter or word recognition

Science

  • astronomy
  • chemistry

Hobbies

  • building
  • collecting
  • cooking

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • respecting other viewpoints

Responsibility & Ethics

  • integrity
  • respect for others

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids will enjoy meeting all 26 characters in the school and exploring their hobbies. Some of the games are more engaging than others, but with so many choices, kids will find many to enjoy.

Learning Approach

The characters reflect a diversity of gender and ethnicity, as well as hobbies and interests. Kids get plenty of direction and feedback on their work.

Support

Parents can track their child's progress using the LeapFrog Learning Path and can also access support materials and resources on the LeapFrog website.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • phonics
  • spelling
  • letter or word recognition

Science

  • astronomy
  • chemistry

Hobbies

  • building
  • collecting
  • cooking

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • respecting other viewpoints

Responsibility & Ethics

  • integrity
  • respect for others

Kids can learn word recognition and concepts such as rhyming and homonyms. They'll also be introduced to basic ideas in chemistry (molecules), astronomy, baking, pet care, and more. Each of the 26 children in the game has a different hobby, and elements of those hobbies are introduced in their related mini-games. 

This Learning Rating review was written by Christy Matte

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What's it about?

LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: LeapSchool Reading introduces kids to 26 characters (whose names each start with a different letter of the alphabet), all of whom are students in the school. Each character in the game has a particular passion, whether it is carpentry, baking, magic tricks, or racing. The mini-game that goes with the character matches their skill or interest. Kids are introduced to these characters in groups of three through a series of quests. In each quest, a character is trying to accomplish something, but needs some sort of help from the other two. Once kids have unlocked a particular character, they can play that mini-game through the Friend section of the menu. There are also challenges that ask you to look for certain objects throughout the game. Kids also unlock pictures, which can be revealed by rubbing away a blue film. They can then "tag" the picture with the names of the characters in the scene. 

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Leapfrog Reading is definitely a strong game. The 26 different mini-games have plenty of repetition in terms of the general activity, but there is still enough variety to keep kids engaged and to appeal to a range of interests. There are also a lot of things to unlock and do. The characters are diverse and interesting -- kids will look forward to "meeting" them all. The reading games are also varied and help kids learn by presenting reading challenges from a variety of different angles.

Some of the games in LeapSchool Reading get a little repetitive. Some involve slicing a line through objects as they float across the screen. They're technically different activities (saw a board, shred a paper, hatch an egg, break up a molecule), but the gameplay is basically the same. Another set involve quickly tapping on an object in a whack-a-mole-type style. And a third set asks kids to flick objects toward a goal (feeding a horse, feeding a dolphin). This is a game that will definitely entertain and educate. Kids will love exploring.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about loaning and borrowing objects. When is it OK to loan or borrow something? How long should you keep something you borrow? What if the item you have borrowed gets broken?

  • Talk about skills and hobbies. What are the things you can do that are special? How are those the same or different from the things your friends can do? How do the friends in the game use their special skills and interests to work together?

  • Do you like playing reading games for fun? Why?

Game details

Platforms:LeapPad Explorer, Leapster Explorer
Price:$24.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:LeapFrog
Release date:September 28, 2011
Genre:Edutainment
ESRB rating:NR for (LeapPad Explorer, Leapster Explorer)

This review of LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: LeapSchool Reading was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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