Product Review: LeapFrog Scribble & Write

LeapFrog Scribble & Write

LeapFrog Scribble & Write

I had the chance to play with (sans the kiddos!) some new LeapFrog toys last week. I'm a big fan of this company, especially the award-winning Tag Reading System. My kindergartener will sit with his Cars and Ozzie and Mack books and read and play games for hours.

So I was psyched to learn that LeapFrog is releasing a bunch of new toys targeted specifically for younger toddlers ages 2-4 like my daughter, including the Tag Junior reading pen ($35).

This pen is a lot chunkier than the older version, and toddlers can pound and stamp the thing on the words in the coded board books to their heart's content and it won't break.

Then there's the Text & Learn -- the so-called "Baby Blackberry" that the media and other bloggers have hyped as "a way to get your child addicted to texting as young as possible."


All I can say is those bloggers obviously didn't put the Text & Learn ($22) through the very scientific mom-testing that I did -- or even bothered to pick it up and try it.

The toy, which lets kids identify letters and match shapes, has little to do with texting other than its PDA shape (because kids want the same things that mom have) and the "text message" greeting they receive from Scout the dog. They can pretend to push the buttons like mommy does, but no message shows up on the screen to be sent.

But my all-time favortite gadget in the new collection is the Scribble & Write ($22), pictured above.

I'm trying to fight my kids' attraction to video games as long as possible, and this toy is a great compromise. It's a learning activity that's not too high-tech, in my opinion -- it takes a fundamental concept (writing) to a fun, new level without a lot of beeps, noises and programs.

The writing tablet gives step-by-step guidance as children easily trace right over lit-up figures on the LED screen, practicing drawing simple shapes and pictures, then graduating to writing upper- and lowercase letters. Fun learning games help reinforce letter recognition and pencil control skills.

Boy, I can't wait till summer! That's when the Text & Learn, Scribble & Write and the rest of the toys in the new Scout Collection will hit shelves.


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