The undisputed heavyweight champion of children’s learning, LeapFrog, has a new lightweight contender in their corner. Lightweight? Oh yes, but I mean that only in the most literal sense in that the new LeapPad3 is the lightest of all LeapPads, weighing in at 0.85lbs. Every other aspect of this little learning machine is as much the heavyweight you’d expect and more because it has several new inspired updates to enhance learning and engagement.
With that in mind, I was recently given the opportunity to review the new LeapPad3 and I have to say that we’ve had the best time with it! My daughter has been working with it for the last few weeks and she loves it. It has enhanced her word recognition as an early reader, as well as engaged her more in math. I’ve been having a lot of trouble in that area with her, in particular, so I’m thrilled to see her taking an interest in that subject. And thanks to my perspective as a homeschooling Mom (and previous version LeapPad owner), I’m going to give you the scoop on all the new features the LeapPad3 has to offer. So, let’s get started!
This isn’t a new feature, but it’s one of the most important and definitely worth noting. The LeapPad3, along with all LeapFrog tablets, is extremely durable. We take it with us on our way to the store all the time and, as expected, it fell off my daughter’s lap once, out of the sliding van door, and onto the asphalt. While I certainly don’t recommend trying this out yourself, it did withstand the drop. Gosh, this is so crucial, as kids are just naturally forgetful and clumsy. My daughter forgot she had it on her lap! It happens, you know. Thankfully, it wasn’t a crisis.
Interest Integrated Learning
From an educational perspective, I love the vast selection of over 1,000 educator approved games and apps that take advantage of a child’s interest in various TV shows and movies. My daughter LOVES My Little Pony (Math), Disney’s Brave (Science) and Tangled (Reading), so convincing her to play these learning games wasn’t necessary. She wants to play them, and she’s learning along the way. Plus, she can use all of her old cartridges with the new LeapPad3, so it’s a seamless transition to the new one without having to sacrifice her favorite old games.
Safe Web Browsing
My favorite feature, however, is absolutely the Kid-Safe Wi-Fi and Web Experience using LeapSearch. Children have access to a web browser if Wi-Fi is enabled and they can search for videos to watch. I readily admit that I’m all too familiar with the YouTube minefield. It doesn’t much matter how restrictive you set it to be, controlling content shown to your 5 year old is challenging. I love that I don’t have to pre-screen everything she watches with the LeapPad. It has already been done for me by LeapFrog’s own experts, so she can watch all sorts of animal videos, look at pictures, and visit websites without worry.
The games available to use on the LeapPad3 are intuitively geared to your child’s learning level for a frustration free experience. This is the most instrumental aspect of learning, hands down, because children can become so easily discouraged. I have yet to see my daughter struggle with any of the games she has played to this point, and I don’t have to hover to help her understand what she’s doing. It’s all explained as if I’m telling her what she needs to do – step-by-step.
For me, this is another huge upgrade over our original LeapPad! I don’t have to buy batteries anymore. The new LeapPad3 has a USB or AC rechargeable battery that stays charged through 6+ hours of continuous use.
Stylus Not Necessary
My daughter is so used to using the old LeapPad that when she began, she immediately used the stylus. This is not necessary as the screen is now capacitive and highly touch responsive. It didn’t take her long to figure that out, but she also liked the idea of feeling that she was using a pen and had good control of it.
Finally, I want to point out another feature that we did NOT use – the Peer-to-Peer Play. Kids can connect with other friends using the LeapPad3 to play the Pet Chat and Pet Pad Party apps. Both are available for independent use, but it’s nice to have that shareable feature.
In summary, the integration of kid safe Wi-Fi, improved touchscreen, and rechargeable battery are what set this LeapPad3 apart from its predecessors and make it a necessary upgrade, in my opinion. If I hadn’t received this for review, I’d have absolutely purchased it on my own. The expansive library of games and apps support, enhance, and reinforce ideas to solidify concepts and bridge gaps in understanding using kid friendly vehicles. And it does so in a much more intuitive way than before. It’s seamless and that is huge around here.
Disclosure While I received no financial compensation for this review, I received the LeapPad3 from LeapFrog and MomSelect as part of a promotional program to assist me in this review. The thoughts and opinions here are completely my own.