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Toy Review:    Imagination Desk by LeapFrog

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This "smart toy" from electronic toy experts, LeapFrog, allows kids to color as they learn key concepts. Kids place one of the included coloring sheets onto the board, press "Go", choose a game mode, and begin. In Learn mode, they can simply color the images (with crayons only!) and listen to friendly voices that talk about the picture they are coloring. Game mode offers kids challenges to find specific images and letters on the page; and music mode lets kids color as they listen to playful tunes. A special overlay transforms the toy into a press-and-learn box in which kids can learn to identify numbers.

The toy is well-designed for the most part--it has a handle for easy toting, a case in the back for storing coloring books and templates, and a small compartment on the front for crayons. Volume can be set to one of two levels, and a slider allows kids to change the modes easily. The Imagination Desk is colorful and attractive, and kids will love to get feedback on their coloring (although it is sometimes confusing). The included coloring book features 26 pages, each of which is devoted to a letter of the alphabet. The name of the letter and its phonics sound is taught, the pictures are described, and a word beginning with the featured letter is spelled out. 

Feedback is sometimes too excessive--bordering on intrusive. Although positive, it grew a little old fast. 

This toy is rather educational, and attractive to preschoolers. The most powerful quality of the Imagination Desk is its promotion of play. Children do not realize they are learning as they color. Owners can buy new coloring books for the toy, and are offered unlimited replacement pages online. 

Pros:
  • Both free-play and directed modes.
  • Children develop alphabet recognition and phonics skills as they color. More books that focus on numbers, shapes, and more, can be bought separately.
  • Educational and entertaining at the same time.

 

Cons:
  • The appeal of the toy may not be long-lasting.
  • Not always responsive, which can confuse younger learners.

 

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Electronic Toy By: LeapFrog       Ages 3-6  
 

 

 

Our Rating:

B+

To Buy this Game:

Buy Imagination Desk  at Amazon.com

 
Reviewed March 2002   Comments? Email us.
 

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