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.
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?
Barbara In Caneyhead said:
I bought my youngest a Leap Pad right after they came out. He never got into it like I thought he would.. Then again he was doing long division on a chalkboard in 1st grade and reading out of the King James bible by second grade. Too little, too late? By seventh grade he was bored with all things school related. Until he got to high school, were he ran the ASE certified mechanic shop as a freshman. All that smarts and he’s welding & pipelining for a living and loving it.
Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead
Yes – maybe LeapPad a bit late in your son’s case 🙂 It sounds like he is pretty brilliant. My eldest is in Grade Two and really struggles with reading, so I figure everything little thing helps. Of course, it’s the youngest that has taken to the LeapPad, so we’re still trying to figure out something for my eldest aside from tutoring and just practice. It also sounds like your son has found something he loves doing – which is – I think – one of the most important pieces of the puzzle in life.
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Cheryl Wright said:
I read somewhere that the light from devices such as this one stimulates the brain and makes it difficult to sleep. Although I can understand how it might, it’s never affected me that way or any of my grandchildren.
Plucking Of My Heartstrings
I’ve read similar articles and – like you – I haven’t seen it being an issue yet. That said, I’ll keep watch and if I really think it’s starting to impact sleep – we’ll be stopping the practice of a few minutes in bed on weekends.
Weekends in Maine said:
We loved LeapPads in our house. We had the talking book versions. Both my girls used them as they were learning to read. They were great for road trips. I was sad when I finally sold them on eBay once they had outgrown them. It sounds like LeapPads have added a lot in functionality since we owned them. My girls would have loved the move making and drawing options. WeekendsInMaine
I think they’ve lost a bit of that early reading aspect that was the focus with the books – but I know we can find that elsewhere. And yes – the drawing option is a winner!
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Sreesha Divakaran said:
This sounds both educational and fun! Although I wonder if it has any of the bad effects of screen time?
There’s quite a bit written on that – generally no screen is better than screen. Screen before bed can impact sleep as well. However, “active” screen time is better than passive screen time. So “less evil” than just watching TV. I’m not really sold on it being the best educational tool – but it gives me a break and still makes them think.
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