The LeapFrog Leapster 2 is a Fun & Educational Gaming Console for Kids!
The LeapFrog Leapster 2 is a handheld, portable learning and gaming console from LeapFrog for kids ages 4 to 8. Though it comes preloaded with a couple of learning games, it requires additional gaming and educational cartridges to expand its capabilities.
Geared for the preschool and early school crowd, the LeapFrog Leapster 2's main goal is to teach children a range of school subjects such as math, science, art and reading through a library of over 30 gaming cartridges. The included CD Rom and USB cord allow parents to connect the LeapFrog Leapster 2 to a PC and to the Learning Path website to track their child’s progress and to print out rewards for that primarily include a free game and printouts of characters for actual crayon drawing.
My wife initially purchased the original LeapFrog Leapster Learning Game System which was advertised as new but arrived as a non-functional unit which appeared to have been refurbished. We were not at all happy with the vendor, but we went through amazon.com to resolve the problem. They quickly complied and refunded our money. I also was unhappy at discovering the Leapster’s cost, over $63 at the time. Since we were already upset with the experience and the price, we went with the less expensive and newer version, the LeapFrog Leapster 2.
The original Leapster came with some interesting features like being able to connect the console to the television, and many amazon.com reviewers seem to really love the original over the Leapster2, but at $39.99 with the free super saver, we were more than happy with the purchase.
She purchased this for our three year old son just as he was about to begin preschool. He’d never attended a day care before and she wanted to prepare him a little, so she also got the Leapster Learning Game 1st Grade. At three years old I felt it may have been too advanced for him, but a couple of weeks into it, he was adding numbers and playing all four games in the cartridge.
I read that you need an SD card for added memory, and that may have been for an earlier model since the one we have is capable of saving a few items on its internal memory, not much though, and the SD card slot is there. My wife also connected the Leapster 2 to the website and claims that you can see how much he plays per week, what his progress has been and was able to download a free game. That was just once though, the rewards they offer for level completion are printouts of characters for old school crayon drawings. Since our printer is in the garage without ink, we haven’t claimed the rewards.
Our son’s experience with the LeapFrog Leapster 2 has been amazing. He really loves this gaming device and wants to take it everywhere with him. One of his favorite games, the one that comes in the internal memory, is the Creativity Castle Art Studio, in which he loves to draw letters, words, numbers, animals, shapes, and especially rainbows! He fell in love with rainbows after learning to sign colors with the Coleman’s sign language videos. Every once in a while he’ll come up to me and say, “I drew a rainbow.” It is so cute!!! What’s funny about it is that he has all of his available memory slots filled with a portrait of a rainbow, and when storage runs out, he just replaces it with his newer rainbow. He also really likes the Dragons to the Rescue game, also in the system’s memory.
Now that he’s familiar with the 1st Grade game, we’re also waiting for the Leapster Leapfrog game Go Diego Go, which helps children learn mathematics by rescuing animals through correctly calculated problems.
There are some interesting disadvantages to the Leapster 2. On a practical level, the required 4 AA batteries run out almost daily - a bit longer, maybe a day and a half. But this thing goes through batteries! My wife’s solution was getting Duracell Pre Charged Rechargeable Nimh Batteries Combo, one charger, 4 AA and 4 AAA batteries for about $32. LeapFrog does offer a Leapster 2 recharging station for the same price, but my wife figured that the 4 AA and the 4 AAA rechargeable batteries would come in handy now with other toys and in the future when the kids have outgrown the Leapster.
After reading through the amazon.com reviews for the LeapFrog Leapster 2, there are some interesting things that come up. First of all, it launched at around $70 and is currently selling for under $40.00. Complaints that the website functionality was not up and that the screen froze often are prevalent in the reviews. Since we received an original Leapster with the same freezing and non-functioning problems, I completely understand their frustrations.
At $40 with all the initial website and functional problems apparently resolved, it is a much better value than the original $70.00. I’ve mentioned this before, but it appears to me that LeapFrog has some difficulties when they introduce a new product line, perhaps bringing it to market too early and dealing with the technical problems as customers complain. Their newly introduced products aren’t as reliable as the same product six months to a year after the bugs have been worked out, and in some cases, the price lowered.