A New Toy in the House

I don’t like my childen playing computer games. I have my reasons, all hypocrital as I was once the Donkey Kong Junior master.

But with a flight from London to Sydney imminent, I’m relaxing my stance. OK, I am actively encouraging it.

My son has a Leapster Explorer and he loves it. Now that I’m paying more attention to it, I’ve got to say I’m impressed.

I’m not the only one who has been paying more attention.  His little sister has too. And the fights have been something else. “My turn!” “My turn!” “My turn!” “My turn!” (Repeat x 1,000.) Pass the ear plugs. And the bottle.  Actually, some Pringles would be good too.

A few weeks ago, my little girl asked for one for her 4th birthday. It would have been the perfect present – less fights and a great form of entertainment for the flight. But we said no because of the price.

The very next day I got an email asking if I’d like to review the Leapster GS Explorer by LeapFrog which is described as “the ultimate learning game system.” What was that? What great timing? Why yes, clever kitten, it was.

Now, this is an upgrade from the Explorer. Like the Explorer, the children can sign in with their names and we adjust the settings so the learning is age appropriate. It’s super sleek, and this is from someone who, until recently, thought an i-pad was an i-pod. It has an in-built camera and video recorder, and the kids love decorating the pictures they have taken and making their own albums.  I predict we’ll have a lengthy and very unique series of mementoes of our last few days in London.

But what my kids really, really love about the GS is the motion sensor. So rather than just using the controls to play a game, you also shake the whole thing about. This was quite the discovery in our house. I imagine Mrs Einstein felt much the same as I did.

What do I like about the Leapster GS Explorer?
My kids love it. I asked each of them why, several times in fact, and I haven’t got beyond “I just LOVE IT!” and “it’s the BEST!” but I’ll keep trying.

It’s one of those educational toys that’s entertaining and fun. There are games to do with problem solving, science, reading, and then there are things on there just for a giggle.  I can even input specific words into spelling games.

I have come around to computer games for my children, in the same way that I am happy for them to watch TV. Both are good in moderation. Have a play on your Leapster GS, then put it down and go kick a ball.

What don’t I like about the Leapster GS Explorer? 
The voice it uses. You know how some car GPSs give you the option of choosing the voice / accent you like? I wish this had it.

Also I don’t like that it tells the child to ask your parents to download things for it. Kids take that literally and think it has to be done immediately.  So I’ll be cleaning the oven (or pretending to clean the oven) and one of the kids will run in, GS aloft, telling me to download more apps now!  NOW! NOW!!!The answer is no!  NO!  NO!!!

Would I buy the Leapster GS Explorer?
At over £60, this is historically more than we would pay for a new toy.   But it is suitable for children aged 4 – 9, giving it a longer shelf life than most toys.

Also, as your child develops new interests, there will most likely be an app or game for it.  For example, my son is really into geography at the moment, so his aunt bought him the Globe Earth Adventures game.  This is right up his street (although I have an issue with the teeny tiny fact that it says “everyone” in Australia lives on the coast.  Ummmmm?).

This new toy has proved to be a real hit.  They still fight though – they might have one Leapster each, but of course they want what the other one has.

What about you?  Do your kids play computer games?

Sponsored post – I received the Leapster GS Explorer in return for an honest review.

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