Pros: Headphone jack, voice prompts, wide array of available books.
Cons: Cord & pen tricky for small hands to put away. Only comes with a demo.
O.K. I'll admit it, I'm typically a Mom who grins and bares it when it's time to play a game with my son. The Leap Pad by LeapFrog is the exception to that rule. My son received this last Christmas when he was 4 1/2 and is still playing with it. Now my daughter who is 2 1/2 enjoys it as well (with a little help).
The Leap Pad is about the size of a laptop computer and opens like a book. It has an attached "magic" pencil that causes the Leap Pad books to respond to it's touches. The book comes only with a demo book (that did hold my sons attention until we got some real books).
The wire bound books sit on the Leap Pad, and play when activated by the pencil. The book gently reminds the user to touch the green go circle to prompt the pages to either read or play games.
It has some nifty features I have found invaluable. Namely a volume control (handy when my son likes to play the instruments in one of his books). There is also a headphone jack to completely mute the Leap Pad (headphones not included). The only thing I have found to be a bit difficult is the cord and pen attachment, that have to be put away just so or the Pad won't close properly.My son is nearly 5 and still can't manage it, and frankly it gives me a hard time.
The array of available add on books is impressive, they feature everything from the familiar characters of Winnie The Pooh and Richard Scarry to learning books for the older set. Some books also feature Leap's own cute characters Little Leap and Lily, cute boy and girl frogs. The cost of the books may be off-putting at first ($12.00-$15.00), however when I considered how much use we've gotten out of them with 2 children I find it to be an overall good investment.
This product is as versatile and entertaining as you'd like it to be based on what you buy for it. I get a kick myself out of the neat things it does. For example you can touch a space on the U.S. map and find out about a state, or click on pictures of different instruments and they will play.
I am also impressed with the fact that despite the length of time we've had this toy, I've yet to have to replace the batteries. It takes 4 AA's. Very different from most electronic toys that guzzle batteries.
It is a great learning toy to play together, yet easy enough for a child to entertain them on a car trip. At only 2.5 pounds and with it's book-like design it sits nicely on a lap. I have heard there are accessories like a travel case for the books and Pad available, yet I've never seen them for sale anywhere. I have also found that despite the wide array of books Leap Pad makes, they can be hard to find as well.