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Toy/Software Review:    Leapster Kindergarten (Educational Game Cartridge for the Leapster)

 
 

 

 
Toy/Software Review: Leapster Kindergarten for the Leapster


Educational Game Cartridge

By Leap Frog

Our Recommended Age: 4-6

Our Rating: A+

 

 

Leapster Kindergarten cartridge

 

 

Buy Leapster Software: Kindergarten

 

 


Leapster Kindergarten game

Top Pick. With smart features galore and the portable appeal of the Leapster, this educational game cartridge is exceptional. Leapster Kindergarten is software for the revolutionary portable multimedia learning system, Leapster. Children use the attached pen (stylus) as well as their fingers to touch the screen and interact with the game.

 

After inserting the cartridge into the Leapster unit, kids are asked to sign in so that their progress can be tracked. The Leap kids are going to a Carnival. Children need to build monsters by purchasing monster parts. The currency is tickets, and these can be won by participating in multi-level, educational  carnival games. 

 

In the Fun House, kids build words by snagging letters as they slide, jump on the trampoline, climb ladders, and hop from platform to platform. There are three levels to this activity. On the lowest level of challenge, kids might need to build the word "bit", for example. The letters are sounded out for some excellent early phonics practice.

 

In Balloon Kaboom, children pop the balloon that doesn't belong with the others. After a few of these, they can play Pop-a-rama, attempting to pop as many balloons in the given time. 

 

Splat That! involves aiming a sprayer at specific picture words that start with the same sound, end with the same sound, or rhyme. 

 

In Candy Combos, children develop number and sequence sense as they help Moe the hippo make candy for the carnival customers. Children extend patterns by dragging colors, numbers, shapes, and letters onto the shelves. 

 

Using the tickets they've earned from the activities, children can purchase monster parts at the Monster Shop. Kids select parts they can afford and then feed the correct number of tickets into the machine. On the first level, children work with numbers 1 through 10. On higher levels, kids work with sets of numbers and solve basic addition problems as they do, and subtract sets of numbers to determine how many more tickets they need. 

 

The Monster Theater is a hilarious reward. Children assemble the monster parts they've purchased at the shop and then watch as the monsters dance. Kids can change the monster's pose by moving the stylus, effectively "teaching" the monster dance moves. They can change the records played in the jukebox as well. Great fun!

 

The game is very well-designed with ample "smart" features, a hint button, help, and a pause button. Children can take their game with them--whether it's simply to another place in the house or in the car. The level system provides gentle challenge, and the educational games cover a fair amount of Kindergarten skills such as number sense, basic phonics, classification, logical thinking, and more. Children won't get lessons in science, foreign language, or geography, but they will certainly strengthen thinking skills as they play truly fun games.

 

If you haven't yet invested in a Leapster Multimedia Learning System, you might want to seriously consider it. Few toys have impressed us as much as Leapster. A fair-sized software library is already available for the unit, and plans for more titles (including licensed brands such as Reader Rabbit and Dora the Explorer) are in the works. Children love portable games, and the Leapster games are both educational and entertaining.

 

 

Pros:


  • Finally, a handheld that offers educationally valuable games without subtracting from the fun.
  • Loaded with superior design features -- the care taken in the development of the game is evident.
  • Educationally valuable.
  • Extremely appealing.
  • Adorable animations.
Cons:


  • The software is missing subjects like science and geography.
 

 

Our Rating:


 

A+

For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Leapster Software: Kindergarten
Reviewed June 2004
Comments? Email us.
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