LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: LeapSchool Reading
What parents need to know
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'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?
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?