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Toy Review:    The Letter Factory Game by Leapfrog

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Toy Review: The Letter Factory Game


Board Games

By Leapfrog

Our Recommended Age: 3-6

Our Rating: A

 

 

The Letter Factory Game

 

 

 


Children often need some hand-holding when it comes to working through board games, simply because they need to learn about turn-taking and develop some patience. The Letter Factory Game by Leapfrog features electronic hand-holding in the form of Professor Quigley, a talking guide who lets them know whose turn it is, how many spaces to move, and which cards to find.

This board game has an educational agenda, but it certainly doesn't detract from the fun. In fact, The Letter Factory Game features little ditties that can be downright silly about each letter of the alphabet.  

There are two modes of play to choose from: Level 1 is Counting, Colors and Letters mode, best for ages 3-4; and Level 2 is Letter Match mode, best for children who have had some exposure to letters (approximately ages 4-5). 

In both modes, kids are asked to find a card on the board that matches the spoken criteria, place it in the electronic card reader (pictured below), and move their game pieces along colored squares accordingly.

In the Counting, Colors, and Letters mode, kids need only find a card that is either orange, yellow, red, blue, or purple and place it in the card reader. If they are correct, they move their game piece a specified number of squares, and the voice actually counts with players. The color of the square that the game piece lands on is then named. Finally, the letter on the card is announced through a song that identifies both the name of the letter and its phonics sound! As you can see, reinforcement of each educational element (counting, colors, and letters) is given every step of the way.

The second mode of play, Letter Match, plays similarly, except that kids are asked to find specific letters, identified by their names, phonics sound, or alphabetic position. For example, children might be asked to "find the letter H for 'hot'" or "find the letter that makes the sound 'puh' as in 'pop'", or "find the letter that comes after R".

No matter which mode of play selected, letters on each card are introduced through songs, some of which are silly. For example, the lyrics for one of the songs for the letter P are: "p-p-p-please make some p-p-p-popcorn". Letters with multiple phonics sounds are also incorporated (for example, A is for "ape" and "ant").

Little surprises are weaved into gameplay, such as the prompt for everyone to do a silly dance! When kids place the incorrect letter card into the card reader, they are told, "We were looking for a different letter". They are given another chance to find the correct letter before losing a turn.

The board game requires 3 AA batteries which, of course, are not included. The Letter Factory board game is based on Leapfrog's DVD/video of the same name. (See our review of The Letter Factory DVD/Video for more information).

Our kid testers thoroughly enjoyed the game. At times, the audio prompts added a rushed element to the game, but these were also appealing because children enjoyed the instructions and the prompts kept the game rolling. We like the fact that setting up the game involves placing alphabet cards on the matching spaces on the board, so that game set-up is an educational activity in and of itself! 

 

Our Rating:


 

A

For more information, user reviews, or to buy: The Letter Factory Game

 

Reviewed December 2004
Comments? Email us.

 

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