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This is our LeapPad. Well, not our ACTUAL LeapPad, But the same model – Links to Source

So 2008 pre-mom me would be just as horrified about our embracing of the LeadPad as she would have been about us nearing our one-year anniversary at Kumon.

Much like structured extra-learning programs, I placed “educational tech toys” in a similar zone of generalized distain.

My kids would not be taught by screens.

Heck! They won’t even watch much television.

Because their days will be filled with unstructured, yet organically educational experiences from which we will all learn and grow from as a family.

Please stop laughing.

And so L is for the LeapPad which is pretty much my 4-year-old’s favourite toy.

We bought it as a Christmas gift for both girls to share two Christmas’ ago when we were taking a family trip to Hawaii and figured it was a good thing to keep them busy on the plane.

It’s been with us ever since and I’ve come around to believing it has some value.

For those less familiar, LeapPad is a range of tablet computers for kids. There have been various models developed since 1999. The company first started with a device resembling a talking book before moving on to tablets.

Four of my daughter’s games.

My eldest was never too bothered with the LeapPad, but my youngest – who was three when we got it – latched on pretty immediately.

She loves that you can take pictures and make little movies on it, and she adored the drawing applications that came with the LeapPad.

You can also download games and buy cartridges. We’ve bought about 4-5 additional games and that’s been enough to keep her going.

Watching my youngest figure out the games – and the concentration she puts to doing so – has convinced me it was a good investment. If nothing else, I figured it was an improvement on passive screen time.

But I think it gives a bit more than that. I loved that it came in a French version so it could reinforce learning French. I also like that all the games are educationally focussed and so let her practice skills.

My husband likes it less come bedtime given our youngest sneaks it to bed with her.

While I know about the studies encouraging against screens in bed for a number of reasons, I let her on weekends and just make sure it’s turned off in about 10 minutes. Generally, she’s asleep by the time I check.

What are your thoughts on LeapPads and other tablets for kids?