As a former teacher, I understand how important it is for students to master their math facts. I clearly remember lecturing the parents of my 4th grade students about how much easier the advanced math concepts would be when the students didn’t need to stop and figure out the answers to basic math equations. It’s all true and I know that my own son needs to master his facts better than he has, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you are the parent and not the teacher. As the teacher, I didn’t have to listen to the whining.
My goal for the summer was to have my son practice his math facts in one form or another at least several times a week. I started off by trying to fine some fun ways for him to practice. I put out a call to all of my teacher friends for fun iPad apps that might help. There were a few suggestions, but they only kept him entertained for a bit. Some others were fun but he figured out how to “game the system” quickly and wasn’t really getting any educational benefit out of them.
Then a LeapPad 3 arrived for us to review and I breathed a sigh of relief. I had just about the whole LeapFrog catalog in our house when Josh was a toddler. We had everything from the Tad doll to the learning table (a personal favorite). As he got older, we purchased some of the reading tools like the LeapReader system and his Leapster pretty much came with us everywhere we went. I was always impressed with the LeapFrog brands and felt confident that anything I purchased would be both high quality and educational.
I unboxed it and had it up and running within minutes. It easily connected with our home wifi system and gave me the opportunity to customize the parental controls so that I was comfortable with the amount of access my son had to the internet. He had a blast checking out the apps that came pre-installed and I was thrilled with how many there were. He spent a while playing with the camera and took lots of picture of both me and the dog and had fun aging us as well as adding some interesting accessories!
It wasn’t too long before I though we should get down to business with some math fact mastery. As a huge SpongeBob Squarepants fan, he was thrilled to see that there was a math game featuring his favorite cartoon character. The game can be purchased either by downloading it (I love the ease of that option!!) or in cartridge form. Downloading the game was quick and easy and the game held his attention for over an hour. If he hadn’t gotten hungry, I think he would have kept going longer than that!!
Some of the features that I feel set the LeapPad 3 Learning Tablet apart from the rest are:
- Super fast performance. So often, kids’ electronic toys are frustratingly slow. Not this one! Lightning fast is pretty accurate here.
- Rechargeable battery. I hate the amount of AA batteries so many toys burn through. The LeapPad 3 charges with an enclosed cord and each charge gave hours of playtime.
- Durability. I used to cringe every time I handed over my iPad. The LeapPad 3 is easy to grip and hold onto, but it’s also not a big deal if it get dropped. It can take it!
- Parental Controls. I want to be the one who decides what my son sees online, and tight parental controls allow that.
- Personalized learning. Games automatically adapt to each child’s learning level and draw from 2,600 educator approved skills across reading, math, writing and more.
- Variety. There are over 1,000 games and apps in the learning library of educational games, eBooks, videos and more—designed or approved by learning experts.
I’d love to hear from you – what do you do to help make some of the more mundane learning tasks fun??
We received a LeapPad 3 to facilitate our review as part of a promotional program with LeapFrog. All thoughts and opinions are our own.