I was lucky to receive a sample Leapster Explorer Learning Game System recently for my young “product testers” to review. Since 7-year-old R. recently got a DS for her birthday (another story for another time), 4-year-old S. got to try out the new Leapster Explorer, which is designed for children ages 4-9. I wasn’t sure how he’d take to it. These products promise the moon…the company calls the new Explorer an “extraordinary new learning experience that encourages children to discover something new every day with endless ways to play and learn.” Supposedly there are 40+ games and activities including a camera/video recorder (we haven’t quite figured that one out yet). We *have* figured out some of the basic included games (of course, the extra games you have to purchase cost a fortune and I am terrible at figuring out how to download the online games). And the thing seems to eat up batteries fairly quickly. Those are the downsides. The upside? My kid loves it. He is happy and triumphant when he succesfully completes a game (“I winned!!!”). While I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an “extraordinary new learning experience,” I do think he is actually is getting something out of the phonics and numbers games. And, he has something to play while his sister plugs away at her new DS. So if you are already desensitized to the concept (and high cost) of these handheld video games, then go ahead and check out the new Leapster Explorer ($64.99 at Amazon). Just buy some spare batteries while you’re at it, and a few extra games. Have fun!
I received a product sample for this review, but the views expressed are entirely my own (and my children’s!)