Saturday, December 10, 2011

Connecting your LeapPad to more than 1 computer.


You will need to download the LeapFrog Connect application to all computers you want to connect your LeapPad to

In order to access your child's Leaplets, rewards, and Learning Path info, you will need to sign in using the same LeapFrog Parent Account on each computer.

To change the LeapFrog Parent Account associated with your handheld:

- Click the "Parent Account" tab in the top navigation.

- Click Set Up My LeapFrog Account.

- Log in with the email address and password that redeemed the Leaplet, and then indicate who plays with each player name on the handheld.

How to remove apps to free up space


If you want to add new content to your LeapPad but you’re running out of space, remove some apps to make room. Here’s how:

1. On the LeapFrog Connect home screen, choose a player name to enter the LeapPad view.
2. Click the On This LeapPad tab.






3. Uncheck the box next to the apps you want to remove.
4. Then turn on your device and connect it to the computer with the included USB cable. Once your device has finished syncing (you will see “Sync complete” at the top of your screen), eject and unplug the USB cable.

Micromods



Micromods let your child change or enhance there favorite Leapster LeapPad games.


Micromods include new game music, character clothing, game modes, special moves, etc. 


Your child can exchange his/her LeapWorld tokens for micromods in the LeapWorld store.


LeapWorld can be found when using the LeapFrog Connect Application.

"Sneak peeks" = Nagging kids

What i am about to tell you, will save you from nagging and or disappointed children. 

When you revive your LeapPad there is a icon named "Sneak peeks" located dead center of the main menu screen.  
Your child will find this ! and when launched it will display a list of game and app trailers that your child can view. 

I have a sneaky suspicion that a good chunk of that first update download is a whole bunch of new up to date ad's to incite our kids into nagging us in till we get the new game they have just seen. 

Apart from the nagging us parents dread, there is another reason South African Parents will want to disable this feature as soon as you get the LeapPad, several of the trailers are for content we can not access in SA like the Disney Cinderella Ultra eBook 

Which my 5 year old daughter now wants "Soooooooooooo much".

I only found out after my daughter watched the "Sneak peeks" that they could be disabled after doing a Google it.  

All you need to do is access the  Parent Settings and turn off the "Sneak peeks"




More LeapPad Reviews From SA

I dug around the web and found a couple more Reviews on the LeapPad form some fellow South Africans. 





Connect yourself












Friday, December 9, 2011

LeapPad Accessories

Most cool toys have some added accessories and the LeapPad is no exception.  


You can get Gel skins to further protect them from bumps and scratches



 Best price I have found. These go for R80
at Take a lot .com


You can also get handy carrying cases to hold your LeapPad , 6 game cartridges and an extra stylus.






 Best price I have found. These go for  R160
at Take a lot .com












Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Review of the LeapPad


Like many parents,  I could not wait to get my hands on a LeapPad for my children. 

The list of impressive features including; 5" full colour touch screen, built in camera and video recorder and the promise of 100's of apps and game cartridges available, featuring our kids' most loved characters, was a slam dunk.

Even with a hefty price tag of R1o95 to R1500 -depending where you look- the LeapPad, in my opinion, is worth it. 


My first impression, when i managed to get it out of the box - no easy task!
 I will tell you. 
 I am impressed with  how well-built the LeapPad is. It feels sturdy in your hands, not cheap and plasticy like so many of today's toys.  Sturdy, not indestructible - this will not survive a beating- but will handle everyday  bumps with ease.
(my daughter has already dropped hers a couple of times and its still 100%)
It also has a couple of  nifty design elements. The stylus is magnetic so it stays in its holder on the side of the pad. The battery compartment has its own locking system which means you don't need to hunt for a screwdriver every time you need to change the batteries and that will be often. 
You will need to buy a good set of NIMH rechargeable batteries. 
The LeapPad takes 4 AA size batteries at a time and the first couple of days my kids had there LeapPads I was changing the batteries every day, they have calmed down now and the batteries last 2 to 3 days now.  
I would also advise you don't change the batteries in front of your children as it will not take them long to figure out the lock, especially if you have a child like my son who is obsessed with taking the batteries out of everything in our house.

Design flaws: Sadly, left-handed children have not been taken into consideration here. The string, that attaches the stylus to the pad, is at the top right-hand corner and kind of gets in the way if the stylus is held in the left hand. This is not much of a problem with the Art Studio app, as the app flips 360 degrees depending on your rotation of the pad, BUT Pet Pad, which is pre-installed when you get your LeapPad, does not rotate. The app is based on your child "tracing" letters on the right side of the screen to teach their pet tricks. With my son being left-handed, I noticed that with his hand resting on the screen, the trace function is useless.  Considering , approximately 10 % of the world's population is left-handed, this should have been addressed appropriately.

The set up  is not a quick undertaking so you will definitely want to do this ahead of time.  LeapPad Step by Step Set up guide. I tried to set up the Connect software on my PC first and just could not get it to work, no matter what I tried I could not get it to see adobe flash player. So after hours of trawling the LeapFrog help pages to no avail gave up and tried installing on my laptop, which worked first time, I still have not figured out why it will not install on my PC but as soon as I can get it to work I will post it in trouble shooting. 

The initial set up took me about 45 mins with the first LeapPad and only 15 mins with the second, the reason for this is there is a hefty software update that downloads to your computer when you first set it up.



Four Free Apps are included when you buy your LeapPad.  Pet Pad comes pre loaded, Art Studio and Story Studio you download when you set up your LeapPad and you get to choose one app of your choice, off a very limited list, I chose the Sugar Bugs game for my daughter and Sing Along Read Along video for my son.  I can recommend Sugar Bugs but the Sing Along Read Along video has proven to be a flop with both my kids. 

You are meant to be able to install any app on 2 LeapPads at once but I don't know if this applies to the free app you get to choose as I have yet to manage to get it installed on to both LeapPads. I have put in a support ticket to LeapPad and as soon as I have a definite answer on this I will post.



I did manage to install Free alphabet stew app on both LeapPads without any problem. 


LeapPad's easy navigation makes it a breeze for kids to find there way around even if they are too young to read , as it has built-in voice prompts for everything.  
It took my youngest (3 1/2) only about 2 mins to master getting to his his favorite app
(Art Studio)  from turning the LeapPad on. 
My daughter (5 ) had mastered using all the functions by the first day. 

The touch screen can be a a little slow at times for impatient toddlers but if they were to have used state-of-the-art processors that would most definitely have pushed the price up on the LeapPad, I'm not so sure its a bad thing for them to have to wait a half second for something to happen as it gives them a little time to take in what they are doing.

The touch screen does come pre-calibrated  but if need be, you can re-callabrate in the Parent Settings. From here you can also remove the "child-focused" marketing videos, otherwise known as "sneak peeks". Do this immediately as most are advertising content that is unavailable in SA anyway.

The Camera & Video recorder are great and very easy to use,  the image quality is not great but is good enough for young kids who tend to be snap happy and the photo editing is great fun. The only thing I think they should have incorporated was a camera facing the child as well so it would be easier to take pics of themselves. Photos and videos can be printed off, shared on Facebook etc using the Connect software.

The app center disappointed me a little as until I bought the LeapPad and set it up, I had no idea that the content, we could download in SA, would be different from that on the main LeapFrog site. 
Turns out the download cards are location-specific, and at the moment South Africa does not have any Disney/Pixar downloads available, which means if you want "known" character content  you will need to buy imported download cards or buy the cartridge games.



Yesterday (7th Dec '11)  several new apps where added to our app center but still no Disney/Pixar content and we all know that's what we were expecting to be able to access when we bought LeapPads, I have put in a request to LeapFrog asking for more information on when this content will be available for South Africa, and will post as soon as I receive an answer. 


I also think they need to display how many download cards (which do not have an easily understood monetary value) you need to buy each app instead of a Dollar amount as that does not help, when deciding what apps you want or can afford. 
I have noticed some huge differences in the price of these cards from store to store, 
I have found this box of 2 cards :
Selling from R128 (which would indicate you are getting 2 cards worth $7.50 each) all the way up to R200 (which would indicate they are worth $12.50 each) But I very much doubt that is the case.
My best guess is these cards are worth $7.50 each as they all say you can download 1 or 2 apps with these cards and the average app price in the SA app Center is $7.50.
So keep that in mind when you buy these cards. 

Obviously if you are buying imported cards to gain assess to a larger selection of apps be aware there are also huge discrepancies in the prices some sellers will charge you for these; 
Anywhere from R200 to R400 for the very same cards that will still only get you 2 $7.50 apps .

My Kids have had their LeapPads for a week now and they love them, they feel very grown up having there own tablet computers and the great thing is they think they are just playing games but they are really learning,  We only have the apps that came with the leapPad and the free Alphabet stew app at the moment and this, I think, will last them a few months before we need to add to the collection as there is so much to do, which is a good thing considering the cartridge games cost from R200 upwards and "Leaplets" (download cards) from R128 for SA downloadable games. 

The learning path is a great function for us parents to keep tabs on what games our kids are playing, how there skill sets are improving, what we need to give them more help with.

Overall this is a great educational toy and I feel I received good value for money regarding the price and I'm happy that it will last my kids several years As they are only 5 and 3 1/2  at the moment.  I would recommend this to my friends and family as a good investment toy, even with the few problems I have encountered. 

The apps that Come with your LeapPad

When you buy your LeapPad you get 4 free apps included.


Pet pad 

Create a pet
You can choose a pre-made pet ( Cat, Pig, lima, rabbit, dog, sheep, dragon or monkey) or mix and match body parts to make something wonderfully wacky, choose its color and what sounds you want it to make.


Feed your pet
You need to feed your pet regularly to keep it happy (thankfully this pet is a lot less demanding than a tamagotchi)


Wash your Pet
You need to keep your pet clean as well by soaping, scrubbing, rinsing and drying it


Play Flingo with your pet
This is a cute little game where you have to launch your pet across a body of water and pop passing balloons.


Practice writing your alphabet 
If you want your pet to learn new tricks you need to write the letters of the alphabet correctly by tracing the dotted line on the screen, for each letter mastered your pet will preform a trick starting with that letter.
You can practice your upper and lower case alphabet while your pet gives you lots of encouragement, and praise for getting it right.


When you run out of shampoo and food  you need to connect your LeapPad to the computer to download more supplies, don't worry this does not cost anything your children earn tokens from playing the games and apps so you just trade the tokens for supplies.


Story studio - all about me


You create your own story books using a selection of themed template's; choose from 

  • My birthday (2 templates), 
  • My family (3 templates) 
  • My Favorite things (4 templates) 
  • My expressions (3 templates) 
  • When I grow up (6 templates) 
  • My friends (3 templates) 
  • My imagination (3 templates). 

You can add as many pages as you want to each story.
The templates incorporate photos, drawings and sound recordings
You can also share these story books with family on Facebook or print them out. using the Connect software.


Art studio

With art studio you can create masterpieces using a variety of drawing tools and stamps.
Then you can share with family on Facebook, by email or print them out and display around the house using the Connect software


Your 4th app is one of your choice from the list provided in the app center.


 Note : Sadly, left-handed children have not been taken into consideration . The string, that attaches the stylus to the pad, is at the top right-hand corner and kind of gets in the way if the stylus is held in the left hand. This is not much of a problem with the Art Studio app, as the app flips 360 degrees depending on your rotation of the pad, BUT Pet Pad, which is pre-installed when you get your LeapPad, does not rotate. The app is based on your child "tracing" letters on the right side of the screen to teach their pet tricks. With my son being left-handed, I noticed that with his hand resting on the screen, the trace function is useless.  Considering , approximately 10 % of the world's population is left-handed, this should have been addressed appropriately.


I have put in a support ticket regarding the left handed issue and will let you know if there is a fix as soon as i know.


Update : After receiving a response  from LeapFrog there is no fix to the Pet Pad issue.
This is so far the only App i have discovered with this problem but will update if i find more. 









Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Free alphabet stew app download code for LeapPad


Free alphabet stew download 
code: 5813-0790-4610-4973 

This is a new code supplied by one of our readers.
I've checked it today 16th Dec 2012 and is working !


Enter the 16 digit code into your app centers redeem bonus code box.



Downloaded this for my kids, great little game.



Disney•Pixar Cars 2



Description:

Explore mathematics in The World Grand Prix with Mater and Lightning McQueen!

  • Cartridge game works with the Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™ Explorer systems (sold separately). 
  • Measure the correct distance to make a fantastic jump. 
  • Complete patterns to find clues or escape traps. 
  • Race as Lightning McQueen and see who's the fastest car. 
  • Teaches measurement, patterns, graphs, sequencing and problem-solving skills. Appropriate for children ages 4 to 7 years. 

Teaches:

Problem solving

Children use logical reasoning skills and investigate multiple possibilities to develop creative problem-solving strategies.

Measurement

There are many different types of measurement that children need to learn: time, distance, temperature, volume and so on. Measurement has applications in many subjects, especially science.

Patterns

Children learn to identify, compare and extend patterns such as those made from shapes, colors, numbers, or sounds.

Tables, charts and graphs

The ability to use graphical representation, such as tables, graphs, charts and grids, is important in solving and enjoying real-life math problems.



Best Price i have found this game for in SA is R219 Cars 2 - takealot.com

Disney•Pixar Pixar Pals




Description:

Complete science and logic challenges, solve puzzles, unlock mini-games and more with WALL-E and EVE, Nemo and Dory or Woody and Buzz!

  • Cartridge game works with the Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad Explorer™ systems (sold separately).
  • Sort trash and recycling with WALL-E.
  • Use logic skills to help Woody and Buzz.
  • Explore Dory's ocean habitat and help find her friends.
  • Appropriate for children ages 4 to 7 years (grades pre-K to 1) 

Teaches:

Sorting and classifying

Sorting and classifying objects based on size, function, or weight involves logical reasoning skills essential for learning.

Environmental Awareness

Encouraging children to play outdoors, to explore their surroundings and take an interest in plants, insects and animals will help them learn about their enviroment. In time they will learn about how our planet works and make responsible decisions.

Logic and reasoning skills

Logic and reasoning skills begin to develop at an early age and are used to solve problems and draw conclusions.

Science facts

Children learn to consider scientific facts within the domains of life science, physical science, and earth science.

Sea animals

Children learn to categorize animals by species, imitate their sounds and learn interesting facts



Best price ive found this game for in SA is R219 Pixar Pals - takealot.com

Wolverine and the X-Men



Description: 

Customize the learning with over 12,000 spelling words, then help Wolverine on his mission to reunite the X-Men team and save mutant-kind!

  • Cartridge game works with the Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™ Explorer systems (sold separately). 
  • Create your own spelling list with the words you need for school. 
  • As you play, earn tokens to download new gear for Wolverine. 
  • Use letter skills and vowel know-how to battle your way through eight action-packed levels that take you to four locations. 
  • Teaches letters, word building, phonics skills and spelling. Appropriate for children ages 5 to 9 years (grades K to 3). 

Teaches:

Letters

Children who can recognize letters with confidence have an easier time learning letter sounds and word spellings.

Word building

As children put together letters to make words, they learn how even small changes (changing mat to man to can) result in completely new words.

Phonics skills

To read independently, children must understand the relationship between the sounds in spoken words and the letters that represent those sounds.

Spelling As understanding of the spelling system grows, children move from using 1-2 letter spellings (D for dog, or CT for cat), to adding vowel sounds, and eventually spelling words with less predictable patterns.



Best Price I've found this game for in SA is R229 Wolverine-and-the-x-men - takealot.com

Star Wars: The Clone Wars




Description:

Use your mathematics skills to save the Republic as you battle your way to a final confrontation with the Ultra Droideka!

  • Cartridge game works with the Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™ Explorer systems (sold separately). 
  • Dodge asteroids and other dangers as you solve geometry problems and more in four exciting locations in the Star Wars universe. 
  • Use the Force—and your knowledge of fractions—on your mission to maintain the galactic balance of power. 
  • Use your knowledge of place value to fight the Separatists and their secret droid factory. 
  • Teaches geometry, fractions and place value. Appropriate for children ages 6 to 9 years (grades 1 to 3). 

Teaches:

Geometry

Children learn about the properties and relationships of points, lines, angles, surfaces and solids, and to recognize shapes such as quadrilaterals.

Fractions

Children learn to think of parts of a whole, or parts of a set, and then learn fractional representations.

Place value

Children learn about our base 10 number system and how to identify digits of numbers including the ones, tens, and hundreds places.



Best Price I've found this game for in SA is R229 Star wars clone wars - takealot.com

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Clam Prix



Description: 

Read, spell and race to the finish in a wild kart racing adventure with SpongeBob!

  • Choose a character and get ready to race on 12 tracks.
  • Get practice with spelling as you speed toward the flag.
  • Show off phonics skills as you dodge obstacles and navigate hairpin turns.
  • Teaches letters, spelling, phonics, word-building, word recognition and matching skills. Appropriate for children ages 4 to 7 years. 

Teaches:

Letters

Children who can recognize letters with confidence have an easier time learning letter sounds and word spellings.

Spelling

As understanding of the spelling system grows, children move from using 1-2 letter spellings (D for dog, or CT for cat), to adding vowel sounds, and eventually spelling words with less predictable patterns.

Word recognition

With repeated exposure to commonly used words, word recognition grows and becomes more automatic.

Word-building and phonics skills

As children put together letters to make words, they learn how even small changes (changing mat to man to can) result in completely new words.

Matching

Matching like objects develops logic and reasoning skills that foster early math and literacy development.


Best Price I've found this game for in SA is R219 SpongeBob -The Clam Prix - takealot.com

LeapSchool™ Reading




Description: 

Meet the kids from the coolest school in the world in this fun reading adventure!

  • Complete quests and treasure hunts while building reading skills in 26 games.
  • Guide characters to the word with the correct spelling.
  • Help each of your friends build a yearbook page.
  • Teaches early reading skills, spelling and logic skills. Appropriate for children ages 4 to 7 years (grades pre-K to 1).
  • Cartridge game works with Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad Explorer™ (systems sold separately) 

Teaches:

Reading skills

Reading is a process that involves decoding series of letters into words to understand meaning.

Spelling

As understanding of the spelling system grows, children move from using 1-2 letter spellings (D for dog, or CT for cat), to adding vowel sounds, and eventually spelling words with less predictable patterns.

Logic

Logic and reasoning skills begin to develop at an early age and are used to solve problems and draw


Best Price I've found this game for in SA is R199 Leap school reading - takealot.com

Globe: Earth Adventures




Description:

Get ready for an interactive adventure as you take your airplane around the globe to complete missions, find treasure and learn about geography, cultures and more!

  • Cartridge game works with the Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™ Explorer systems (sold separately). 
  • Expand your knowledge of animals, geography, cultural facts, map skills and more. 
  • Play games that use actual photos of locations, animals and landmarks around the world. 
  • Collect Adventure Cards to unlock new, more difficult missions. 
  • Teaches geography, world culture, map skills and animal facts. Appropriate for children ages 4 to 7 years (grades pre-K to 1). 

Teaches:

Geography

Children may begin by learning about people and animals from different regions and eventually use geography as a tool to understand places, cultures, and the world in spatial terms.

Map skills

Children develop map skills by reading and drawing maps of familiar places and then using maps to locate places, measure distances, and compare regions.

World culture

Learning about the people and places in our world helps children to become global citizens.

Animal facts

Even very young children can begin to categorize animals by species, imitate their sounds and learn interesting facts about them.


Best price Ive found this game for in SA is R199 Globe Earth Adventures - takealot.com

Pet Pals 2: Best of Friends




Description:

Explore emotions and responsibility as you adopt and take care of your very own puppy!

  • Cartridge game works with the Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™ Explorer systems (sold separately). 
  • Give your furry friend treats, toys and teach it tricks. 
  • Use mathematics skills to win the dog show. 
  • Explore a town full of fun surprises. 
  • Teaches emotions, responsibility, numbers, counting, addition and subtraction. Appropriate for children ages 4 to 7 years (grades pre-K to 1). 

Teaches:

Emotions

Children learn to notice and communicate their feelings and gradually become aware of others' emotions.

Responsibility and following directions

Children learn to comprehend and follow multiple-step directions.

Numbers

Children learn to count and compare sets of objects and identify numbers as standing for specific quantities.

Counting

Children learn to count and compare sets of objects.

Addition

Children learn to add, sometimes with objects, and sometimes with symbolic equations such as 4 + 3 = __.

Subtraction

Children learn to subtract quantities from each other - with objects or symbols such as            4 - 3 = __.



Best price Ive found this game for in SA is R219 Pet Pals 2 - takealot.com 

Disney - Pixar Toy Story 3




Description: 

Get in on the game! Play as Buzz or Woody as you use your phonics skills to move your way around this interactive board game and compete in 16 challenging missions!

  • Cartridge game works with the Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™ Explorer systems (sold separately). 
  • Play 16 educational mini-games to save the toys from the Caterpillar Room. 
  • Move around the game board by counting the sounds in words. 
  • Learn about force as you launch Buzz from a cannon. 
  • Teaches letters, phonics skills, spelling and physical science. Appropriate for children ages 4 to 7 years (grades pre-K to 1). 

Teaches:

Phonics skills

To read independently, children must understand the relationship between the sounds in spoken words and the letters that represent those sounds.

Spelling

As understanding of the spelling system grows, children move from using 1-2 letter spellings (D for dog, or CT for cat), to adding vowel sounds, and eventually spelling words with less predictable patterns.

Physical science

Children learn about the properties of matter, forms of energy and nature of technology through observation and experimentation.

Letters

Children who can recognize letters with confidence have an easier time learning letter sounds and word spellings.



Best price Ive found this game for in SA is R199 Toy Story 3 - takealot.com

Disney Princesses: Pop-Up Story Adventures




Description:

Learn about music and get practice with phonics and early reading skills as you unlock the stories of Belle and Cinderella in this magical pop-up book adventure!

  • Cartridge game works with the Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™ Explorer systems (sold separately). 
  • Enjoy 7 mini-games that teach about music and early reading. 
  • Build words as you prepare Cinderella for the ball. 
  • Turn gameplay into reading fun with innovative art that simulates a real pop-up book. 
  • Teaches story comprehension, musical rhythm & pitch, phonics skills and letters. Appropriate for children ages 4 to 7 years (grades pre-K to 1). 

Teaches:

Phonics skills

To read independently, children must understand the relationship between the sounds in spoken words and the letters that represent those sounds.

Story comprehension

Children begin to make sense of spoken and written language as it relates to a story.

Letters

Children who can recognize letters with confidence have an easier time learning letter sounds and word spellings.

Musical rhythm & pitch

Children learn to play along with--or repeat--songs focusing on rhythm and pitch.



Best price Ive found this game for in SA is R199 Disney Princesses -Pop up story adventuers- takealot.com

Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure



Description: 

Customize the learning by choosing from 20 different mathematics skills, then help Tinker Bell finish the scepter in time for the Autumn Revelry!

  • Cartridge game works with the Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™ Explorer systems (sold separately). 
  • Choose the mathematics skills you need to study and download them to your game. 
  • Solve multiplication problems as you travel to eight different places in Never Land, including Pixie Hollow, Havendish Stream and a sunken pirate ship. 
  • Join Tinker Bell, Terence and Blaze as you pilot the Pixie Dust Express. 
  • Teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication and early Algebra. Appropriate for children ages 5 to 9 years (grades K to 3). 

Teaches:

Early algebra

Children learn about relationships between numbers (such as 5 + 1 = 3 + 3), and detect patterns in their world.

Multiplication

Children begin to understand multiplication as repeated addition, and memorize multiplication facts to allow quick solutions to complex problems.

Subtraction

Children learn to subtract quantities from each other - with objects or symbols such 

as 4 - 3 = __.

Addition

Children learn to add, sometimes with objects, and sometimes with symbolic equations such as 4 + 3 = __.



Best price Ive found this game for in SA is R199 Disney Fairies -Tinker bell and the lost treasure - takealot.com
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