Leap Frog’s 2-in-1 Touch and Learn tablet.
I gave this colourful tablet to my granddaughter. She’s two years and two months old, can count to ten and can usually get naming the colours correctly so that’s our starting point. The tablet is quite big (fractionally over a foot long) and it is very colourful and visible through a window in the packaging so she was very excited as I opened it. Possibly the first thing to make clear is that this is not a tablet such as an iPad (obviously for the price range!). It is, as described, a Pretend Tablet. Instead of an interactive screen, it has five flippable pages attached (card material, robustly spiral-bound) to the screen. These contain five stories, for example “Lost and Found with Mona” or “On the Farm with Pepper”.
Fortunately, the tablet comes with batteries included (I nearly panicked that they weren’t as I unpacked it and expectations rose).
The controls are easy: there’s an on/off and volume control, a lock button and an LED button. It just takes a few minutes to get familiar with how they work (so possibly the adult might like to do this before handing over -– or even showing – the tablet to the child).
The two main characteristics of this educational toy are the Twist and Flip facility and the way in which the activity pages relate to the stories. Now for the stats: the core learning skills the tablet aims to teach are: Science, Maths (numbers and shapes), Literacy (words and their opposite words) and – interestingly – emotions. For two, three and even four year olds, emotions are especially important, bubbling up as they do before the child can necessarily articulate them. Every page features two activities with levelled learning. There are sound effects, catchy tunes and an animal song.
Like so many early learning toys for children, the audio (voices and tunes) can be a little wearing for adults when they are repeated. But remember, there is a volume control. And the pitch has obviously been designed to appeal to the child. The biggest advantage of this educational toy is that there are so many activities and the child can happily navigate around them all pretty much unaided after the first ten minutes or so.
Overall verdict: a versatile educational toy with very many activities. Excellent value for money.
PWT rating: ♥♥♥♥
Available from Smiths Toys and Argos