Toy Review:    My First LeapPad

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Toy Review: My First Leap Pad

Electronic Toy

By Leap Frog

Our Recommended Age: 3-5

Our Rating: A-





Buy My First LeapPad






My First LeapPad, based on the very popular LeapPad interactive book system, is designed for even younger kids than the well-known LeapPad. The books are a little smaller, and they open up and down rather than left to right. The unit is cute, but should parents buy this system, or should they skip right to the LeapPad?

Children use the magic touch pen to activate hotspots on each of the book's pages. The basic unit comes with one book, Leap's Big Day, but there are already a number of extra books available and sold separately. Each page of the books offer things like songs, words that are read aloud when pressed on (an excellent pre-reading exercise), find-it games, and so forth. 

Very young users will need time to understand that they must press the Go button each time they want to activate a new page. If they don't the pen "reads" the previous page! Once kids know that they have to "tell" the toy they are on a new page, the learning and fun begins. 

The toy also comes with a panel that fits on instead of a book. This is designed to teach kids basic concepts. Most children will tire of that soon enough, and will of course have much more fun with the book. The down side to this toy is that inevitably, parents will want to purchase more books, and this can be rather expensive. On the up side, it is a portable interactive toy, and while it certainly doesn't compare to many interactive software games, its portability makes it rather attractive. 

I'm unsure whether I would buy the unit for my preschooler. I would probably save money and jump right up to the LeapPad which has more longevity. Still, this toy is probably better suited to toddlers and younger preschoolers for its size and age-appropriate activities. 

There are a number of books available for the unit, including these recommended ones:

My First LeapPad Book: I Know My ABC's

My First LeapPad Book: Dora the Explorer... (favorite characters from the Dora the Explorer show -- games, music).

My First LeapPad Book: Once Upon a Rhyme (lots of fun games with nursery rhymes).

My First Leappad: Tad & Dora Book Bundle (two books for a lower price).

For those who are certain that they'll want more books upfront, a gift set that includes the My First LeapPad plus extra books and a handy backpack to store the toy and the books is available:

My First LeapPad Gift Set: My 1st...


  • Both free-play and directed modes.
  • Children develop alphabet recognition, phonics, and word-building skills.
  • Educational and entertaining at the same time.

  • Parents should consider skipping right to the LeapPad--My First LeapPad may be an expensive and somewhat unnecessary step.


Our Rating:


For more information, user reviews, or to buy: My First LeapPad - Blue
Reviewed January 2003
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