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    Friday, November 13, 2009

    LeapFrog: A Rant

    In the news recently was a piece on how Baby Einstein videos are one of the greatest parenting scams of the current generation. In the article, the end piece asked "So now what? Lose the Leapfrog? Whisk away the Wii?"

    I'm a bit miffed that the fully interactive line of educational LeapFrog products were somehow thought of in anywhere near a similar light as staring dumbly at a screen as to have been mentioned in this article.

    LeapFrog products are great. Some are better than others, I'll admit, but each and every LeapFrog product is interactive, requiring the child to actually get involved in the learning and entertainment process, which aids in memorization AND true learning. There also is a marked (and positive) absence of negativity when you get an answer wrong! It only says things like "try again". Their line is expandable, and grows with your kids, allowing you to pick positive and effective teaching-assistance tools for your children.

    Now, I don't work for LeapFrog, and I don't hold stock in the company, I just love the products. Please note that I did NOT say that these items were meant to be your child's sole teacher. They aren't. They ARE, however, a fabulous addition and enhancement to your child's regular studies, that adds another dimension to their education, and thus, helps to ensure their success.

    From baby items like the LeapFrog Learn & Groove™ Musical Table, toddler toys like the phonics-self-teaching line that starts with the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set, complete educational systems to teach your child to read independently, on their own, expandable school aides such as the LeapFrog® Leapster® Learning Game System for lower grades, and the LeapFrog LeapPad Learning System for upper grade school, LeapFrog products are the best I've ever seen. Heck, they even have the FLY Fusion Pentop Computer for middle and high school! And they're constantly coming out with new neat little toys, for our increasingly tech-savvy children, like the new LeapFrog Text and Learn. We actually have, or have had, most of the products I mentioned above, and that's really saying something, coming from this picky homeschooling mom! You know the toy is great when you sneak off to play with it when the kids aren't looking! *sheepish grin* My family loves LeapFrog for all that they do, and how they bring our family together in learning and fun. Notice that I'm still talking about being together with the children...

    One of the biggest problems with families today is lack of personal interaction. With one-on-one time comes intelligence, social skills, and so much more. Too many parents seem to think that a child is simply some sort of pet that requires more expensive pet-sitters, when in reality, children are developing adults in progress, and need to be nurtured, not ignored and passed from person to person or center to center like some sort of inconvenience. Love, time, patience, attention; These are what a child needs most. Not even a beneficial product can do much good without a parent's involvement and encouragement in their child's life. You want your time fixing dinner to be good for your child's developing brain? Sit them in a high-chair or baby safety seat and sing to them while you work. Talk to them about what you are doing. Honestly, your time is what works best, even if divided amongst other tasks at times.

    Tried and true since birth for both my 15 year old and my 8yr old, LeapFrog products have helped to teach my youngest how to read (she did it by herself!), and aided my eldest a lot in her geography, mathematics and foreign language studies. The products are so fun, that I enjoy playing with them and learning from them too!

    Definitely NOT what I would expect to see mentioned, even in passing, in an article focusing on deceptive marketing, false advertising, and high hopes, dashed to the stones below. LeapFrog products are great. We don't watch television, so I have no clue if they advertise, or what their advertisements look like if they do. I DO know that when I went to the store to find a good toy that was a bit more than simply fun, I tested LeapFrog against everything else there, then purchased it for my kids. We sometimes play with the toys together, as a family.

    I have yet to be disappointed.


    valerie said...

    So far the only LeapFrog item that we really have is the 3 letter Word Whammer. I really like it and it did finally start to get my son interested in letters once the newness of learning the alphabet wore off and got him started with phonetics.

    I'm going to have to read that article about Baby Einstein, I am interested, though we don't own any of their products! I have wondered how good it really could possibly be for babies to be staring at the television, for one.

    Whimspiration said...

    The general deduction is that it's bad for babies to stare at TV at all before they are 2yrs old, and can cause ADD and other behavioral disorders in excess.

    It's a huge upset for the parents who believed the hype and bought everything tat Baby Einstein offered up for sale.