Toy/Software Review: Leapster
Kindergarten for the Leapster
Educational Game Cartridge
By Leap Frog
Our Recommended Age: 4-6
Our Rating: A+
|Buy Leapster Software: Kindergarten
Pick. With smart features galore and the
portable appeal of the Leapster, this educational game
cartridge is exceptional. Leapster Kindergarten is
software for the revolutionary portable multimedia learning
system, Leapster. Children
use the attached pen (stylus) as well as their fingers to
touch the screen and interact with the game.
inserting the cartridge into the Leapster unit, kids are
asked to sign in so that their progress can be tracked. The
Leap kids are going to a Carnival. Children need to build
monsters by purchasing monster parts. The currency is
tickets, and these can be won by participating in
multi-level, educational carnival games.
the Fun House, kids build words by snagging letters as they
slide, jump on the trampoline, climb ladders, and hop from
platform to platform. There are three levels to this
activity. On the lowest level of challenge, kids might need
to build the word "bit", for example. The letters
are sounded out for some excellent early phonics practice.
Balloon Kaboom, children pop the balloon that doesn't belong
with the others. After a few of these, they can play Pop-a-rama,
attempting to pop as many balloons in the given time.
That! involves aiming a sprayer at specific picture words
that start with the same sound, end with the same sound, or
Candy Combos, children develop number and sequence sense as
they help Moe the hippo make candy for the carnival
customers. Children extend patterns by dragging colors,
numbers, shapes, and letters onto the shelves.
the tickets they've earned from the activities, children can
purchase monster parts at the Monster Shop. Kids select
parts they can afford and then feed the correct number of
tickets into the machine. On the first level, children work
with numbers 1 through 10. On higher levels, kids work with
sets of numbers and solve basic addition problems as they
do, and subtract sets of numbers to determine how many more
tickets they need.
Monster Theater is a hilarious reward. Children assemble the
monster parts they've purchased at the shop and then watch
as the monsters dance. Kids can change the monster's pose by
moving the stylus, effectively "teaching" the
monster dance moves. They can change the records played in
the jukebox as well. Great fun!
game is very well-designed with ample "smart"
features, a hint button, help, and a pause button. Children
can take their game with them--whether it's simply to
another place in the house or in the car. The level system
provides gentle challenge, and the educational games cover a
fair amount of Kindergarten skills such as number sense,
basic phonics, classification, logical thinking, and more.
Children won't get lessons in science, foreign language, or
geography, but they will certainly strengthen thinking
skills as they play truly fun games.
you haven't yet invested in a Leapster Multimedia Learning
System, you might want to seriously consider it. Few
toys have impressed us as much as Leapster. A fair-sized
software library is already available for the unit, and
plans for more titles (including licensed brands such as
Reader Rabbit and Dora the Explorer) are in the works.
Children love portable games, and the Leapster games are
both educational and entertaining.