Picky is my middle name when it comes to the games I allow my kids to spend a lot of time with. Now that its summer and they don’t have preschool or school to keep their brains from atrophying I’m especially vigilant about seeking out productive entertainment as part of their daily routine.
I’ve got a four year-old and I want to make sure he’s ready for all those assessments they require upon entrance to kindergarten. More importantly, I never want him to feel like he’s behind or not as smart as the other kids. If anything, I’d rather err on the side of giving him a sense of academic superiority. Since he’ll be in school for the next couple decades of his life I just want his first impressions to be a positive experience. Is that so much to ask?
In the past, I’ve been pretty public about my fondness of LeapFrog products, and I guess it paid off because LeapFrog contacted me recently to see if I would be interested in checking out Get Ready for Kindergarten, a new line of games and books they’re developing specifically with the purpose of—wait for it—getting kids ready for kindergarten. I even got to chat with some of the developers and project managers to learn about the development process.
Over all, I’m pretty dang impressed with, not only the product, but LeapFrog’s general creation process and the credentials of those involved. And since I happen to have a four year old, I have the perfect test subject to determine how well all their stages of development worked out in the end.
What is this Get Ready for Kindergarten product line?
Here is a trailer that explains it pretty well:
By way of quoting LeapFrog:
“Children who enter kindergarten with certain key competencies may be better positioned for future academic success. Get Ready for Kindergarten provides fundamental skills that prepare children for starting school. Children practice letter recognition, number sense skills and letter and number writing, and they explore daily routines and build analogical thinking skills linked to enhanced learning.”
LeapFrog relies on many people who have graduate degrees in early education as well as a decade of teaching out in the trenches to help design a curriculum that both meets these needs, and makes it appealing to kids of the target audience. They even have an extensive trial process involving kids during different development stages of the project to see what kids naturally respond to.
There are two sides to this line, the LeapReader side and the LeapPad side. You can buy the books and games as bundles, or individually.
For the LeapReader they have a bundle of three books and worksheets that help teach your child reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies. It even has a bonus sticker chart to help the kids learn about basic observations they will probably be asked to make at school.
Can I make a side note about the LeapReader technology? Sarah and I have talked about how mind bogglingly cool it is, and we’ve agreed that this little gem must be powered by magic. With LeapReader books, do not be fooled by their ordinary bookish appearance. The kids can use the LeapReader pen to sound out letters or words, have the page read to them, play games with the story and hear different characters or objects make sounds or speak from the illustrations.
And then…there’s the handwriting portion. The kids learn to write their letters, just like they do in preschool, and somehow, it still confounds me how they do it, when the kids are tracing letters without the dotted lines the pen knows when they go off course.
Do they use magic ink? Special gridlines within the paper? How? How does the pen know what you’re pointing at with so much accuracy?! Inquiring minds would like to know.
Both of my kids were all over the LeapReader like flies on…ahem. You get the picture.
Anyway, that was the LeapReader portion of the Get Ready for Kindergarten set. There is also a bundle of games for the LeapPad that feature the same characters and fulfill the same goal of prepping the kids for the big K. In the app store you can buy the bundle, or do it individually. You can also buy them as game cartridges at retailers.
My kids adored the stretchy monkey games. This portion was far and away the favorite. They solve logic puzzles, develop daily routines, do work…and the kids really enjoy it.
My son is a number aficionado, so he naturally enjoyed the Dragon Café where you get to feed the dragon sock puppets the proportions they request.
Ozzie Otter and Olive Owl word and letter recognition game: This one is reminiscent of games I have seen around the google play store, but, as always, LeapFrog has done a great job giving it a new life and making sure it’s top quality.
These are the main three games you’ll find on the self-titled debut game Get Ready for Kindergarten, but there are several more games available in the set. What I’ve seen definitely meets the high standard of quality I’ve come to expect from LeapFrog in terms of graphics and attraction for my children, in addition to well thought out skill building games and content. And after testing it on my own four year-old I think the games are spot on for the target age group.
*Another side note in closing: I was not compensated for my opinions expressed here, but I do give thanks to LeapFrog for the opportunity to try out your new stuff and get a peek into how you do what you do.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.