Review: Leapfrog Tag Junior Reading System

Toddler boy is a bit spoilt on the toy front, he tends to use things for a short period of time and then discard them for the next new bright thing. It’s my fault entirely, I try to cycle them around, however, in practice I just take a random selection upstairs and over the course of a couple of weeks, they slowly move back downstairs again. Some days I can hardly get into the living room. I find myself wishing for an even bigger house with the luxury of a playroom as well as the library (ahem).

I’ve written before about how this short attention span means that he takes only fleeting interest in most books, unless it seems, they contain scenes of graphic violence and robots or best of all both. So when I was asked to test the LeapFrog Tag Junior Reading System, I did feel a bit skeptical. However, as Fifi loves books, I thought she would get some use out of it as we do get to keep it.

The LeapFrogTag Junior Reading System for 2- 4 year olds, is one of those bits of children’s technology that you look at and really begin to think it might be magic. Of the Harry Potter kind. Its basically a little ‘reader’ that the child scans across the pages of a book (there are a few titles to choose from) and it reads the text and provides musical accompliment to the images. But how does this work? Well, I had to go and find out and this is what it says on their Website :

“This toddler-sized “book explorer” is powered by the same technology that drives the
Tag reader: a small, sophisticated infrared camera that “reads” words and pictures
printed on the special dot-patterned pages of the sturdy, child-friendly board books
in the Tag Junior collection”

At £29.99 its the sort of toy that you would get a child for a birthday or Christmas or extra-especially good behaviour. I wondered if it would be a five minute wonder, however Claire’s kids really enjoyed using it, so I I was less skeptical to start with than I normally would have been.

When the box came we ripped it open with much anticipation and excitement only to find that you needed to go to the website and download the information for the reader and locate a battery (the cardinal sin of toy manufacturers had been committed- no battery provided and one of those special small AAA batteries was required, not your bog standard ones). Luckily we had a battery, however this mummy didn’t have a very good grasp of the downloading interface as she was doing it whilst trying to placate over excited toddler. Lots and lots of swearing later and I finally managed to load it all up and get it ready to use. By this time Toddler boy had wondered off, probably to look for crisps, sweets and robots in imaginary places.

So anyway, I left it for a day and then we tried again. This time Toddler boy enjoyed it. He actually sat and used it once I had shown him and it kept him amused for a while, he particularly liked the Curious George book. From that point of view, I think its a brilliant toy for those moments when you don’t want to put the television on but you want a slow calm activity Whig doesn’t necessarily require your input. I am impressed. However, the surprise of the day was when 11 month old baby Fifi sat there using it unassisted. she must have been watching her brother. It has rapidly become one of her favourite toys. Now, I am not suggesting my child is a genius, but you have to admit that she is a bit advanced. I do have a smug look on my face. Therefore, if you also have a genius child, why not buy this system nice and early on and give it to them to see. You will then get a good amount of use out of it and it will represent real value for money.

All in all, we liked it a really good Christmas option…


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