October 13, 2013

Kindergarten Prep Party with LeapReader

This week I checked out the new LeapReader from LeapFrog.  To facilitate a LeapReader review I received products from LeapFrog to host a LeapReader MommyParty.

This is Kayla's last year before Kindergarten, the true Pre-K year and one thing I have noticed is that kids her age are all over the map as far as where they stand with reading and writing. There are kids just learning to write their names and others who are writing sentences.  There are kids learning to identify individual words and others reading books on their own.  

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At this stage in the game I think it's fair to say that the largest influence on whether a child goes into Kindergarten with a solid grasp of these skills is what their parents do with them at home.  Call me a helicopter mom, a tiger mom or whatever else you want, but this is so important to me. Mostly because I know that when our child hits the public school system, in which class sizes are creeping closer to 30 kids every year I want her to be as ready as possible to thrive independently.

Which is why I was very excited to see the new LeapReader products from Leapfrog.  What I love is that they go beyond just learning how to read and there are now more products for learning how to write and do math and of course if you like, there are plenty of items created around your child's favorite characters.  Because I love myself a party setup it seemed perfectly appropriate to create a little LeapReader party.

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These Monsters University 3D glasses bring home the fun of the movie theater and transfer it over to a book...which is always a good thing in my opinion!  And of course I couldn't possibly have a party and not have some sort of easy craft.

How about some frog spoon bookmarks?  These are the most basic of crafts that exist. I just picked up some green plastic spoons and stick on googly eyes.  It's easy for kids to stick them on themselves and then just draw on a little smile with a permanent marker.  The thin handle of the spoon makes it function really well as a bookmark.

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And I mentioned the writing. One of my favorite products is the Learn to Write Letters with Mr. Pencil book.   We were familiar with Mr. Pencil, but the new LeapFrog Read & Write Series takes the writing aspect to the next level.  There are traditional pages that allow your child to hear clips from the Talking Letter and Talking Word Factory products as well as practice writing uppercase and lowercase letters.

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You see the paper sheets above?  Here is where the magic happens.  If you have a fiercely independent child like I do, then they don't want to have mom or dad showing them how to make each letter over and over again.  They want to do it by themselves.  Or at least feel like they are.  The book instructs them to start at the little red x's and gives hints on properly forming the letters.  Basically it says the things Kayla refuses to let me tell her.

What's different here from the former Mr. Pencil products is that as your child writes, the pressure sensitive paper responds to the tip on the LeapReader and it shows up looking like regular writing.  Now you and your child can see their letters and work on improving letter formation.

Kayla does pretty well with most letters but she definitely needs practice on ones with lots of curves, like lowercase G.  So this is an awesome tool for practicing those harder to write letters and some really nice kindergarten prep.

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Which leads me to my other favorite product.  The Get Ready for Kindergarten book.  It's got a little bit of everything.  Reading, some fun basic math games and even things like months and seasons.  Sure you can teach you child the months and seasons yourself.  However as a bonified tone deaf parent I would not have thought to add the little song that the LeapReader does which had Kayla reciting the months of the year in perfect order in about 15 minutes.  And she thought it was just about the best thing ever.

I'm definitely a parent who is leery of electronics for kids.  There are so many companies out there who try to take something that's truly junk and put an educational spin on it so they can stamp it educational. I'm not falling for it.  But I will say that If you're picky and cautious like I am there are gems to be found out there, like some of the LeapReader products.  Next on our list for the holidays are the Human Body Discovery Set and the Solar System Discovery Set
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