Leapster GS Review

The Leapster GS

The Leapster GS

If you’d asked me before I had children if I’d be happy for them to use hand held gaming devices I’d probably have said no; because in my idealistic projection of life with children they wouldn’t be needed, wanted or tolerated.

We’d all be constantly making things with old loo rolls and merrily creating hand prints and leaf rubbings. But five years on, with reality firmly checked and an iPad and an iPhone that bear the scars of two enthusiastic little ones I’m changing my mind.  Not just because I’d like my devices back thanks kids, but because I think there’s genuine value in educational technology.

What I like about Leapfrog products is that they are designed with the help of educational experts to help children learn. I think with all these things the key is to be clear about time limits up front and use them wisely.  Car journeys and pockets of quiet time can benefit from the Leapster GS, but it’s not a substitute for sitting quietly with their mum to learn letters, practice reading or just have a chat about nothing in particular.

The Leapster GS is designed for children from 3 to 9 years, comes in green or pink and has a bunch of great features.  It comes with a built in camera/video recorder & photo lab (to morph pictures, it’s fun believe me). It also has a built in motion sensor (which is crucial for the children of a Temple Run geek).  It includes 3 apps including the Pet Pad Writing App and 2 others that you can get from the Leapfrog App Centre (included in the price). It has a stylus and also a touch screen which is handy because my children expect every thing that has a screen to be a touch screen.

It also includes a USB cable, a parent guide with handy tips and a CD for getting started.

For me it’s all about helping my children develop their abilities as they grow and develop their skills from letters to numbers to decision making. This device delivers that, in a fun and engaging way depending on the apps you buy.  And there’s the thing. The apps are not cheap. A quick glance through the App Centre showed me that £5 is about the minimum.  This is hard to justify in the face of all the free educational children’s apps available elsewhere on the internet.  I’m sure there’s a quality argument to be had here considering the Leapfrog apps are glossy and feature characters your kids will know, but it’s something to consider.

Overall we found this device a lot of fun. The camera was a big hit and the photo lab even more so. The pre-loaded Pet Pad app also proved popular and I’m sure that will be played with many times over. Certainly it’s one to consider for Christmas if you are looking at a handheld device for your 3-9 year old. Although I’d say 5 years is about as young as you’d want to go to get real value from it.

A quick scout on the internet suggests the best place to buy would be Amazon. Being the considerate person I am I’ve included the link here.

Have fun!

*The Leapster GS was sent to us to trial in exchange for an honest appraisal.*

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