What It Is
The LeapPad Explorer was a huge hit when it came out last year. But this year, LeapFrog has revamped the LeapPad Explorer to give it more memory, better battery life, and more features.
The LeapPad2 Explorer has a sleek new look (in either green or pink) and a growing library of more than 325 games, apps, music, videos, and more that will all be available by year's end. Just like the original LeapPad, it works with all LeapFrog Explorer cartridges and apps and LeapPad learning apps. But unlike the original LeapPad, the new LeapPad2 has two built-in cameras: one in the back so kids can take traditional photos and video and one in the front so kids can take photos and videos of themselves. There is also a built-in microphone. And LeapFrog has doubled the amount of storage in the LeapPad2 to 4 GB and given it a faster processor (550 MHz compared to 393 MHz).
Play on the LeapPad2 is very much the same as using an adult tablet. Touch the five-inch color screen with a finger to bring characters and words to life. Tap, draw, and write with the child-sized stylus or turn, twist, and shake the tablet for motion-based play thanks to the built-in accelerometer. With the Pet Pad app, kids can create and take care of their own pet. The LeapFrog Learning Songs app is a music player with five songs. The Cartoon Director app lets kids create animated cartoons, and the Art Studio app lets kids edit pictures. LeapPad Ultra eBooks are interactive reading experiences written at three reading levels. The stories progress from simple text to more complex words and sentences. LeapPad2 remembers progress from game to game and book to book to keep the content challenging and engaging. Each experience offers multiple levels of play, and games auto-adjust so kids can learn at the right pace.
The LeapPad2 comes with five learning apps. Pet Pad and LeapFrog Learning Songs are built into the device. The other three you'll need to download from www.leapfrog.com/connect. To do this, just go to the website, connect the tablet to your computer using the included USB cable, and follow the on-screen prompts to install the LeapFrog Connect Application. Complete the registration and go to the App Center where the Cartoon Director and Art Studio apps will automatically download. For the fifth app, you can go to the App Center and choose whatever game, eBook, or video you would like.
When using batteries in the LeapPad2, the battery life is about nine hours. But, for parents who don't want to use batteries, there is a LeapPad2 Recharger Pack, sold separately, that replaces the need to use batteries with LeapPad2.
Why It’s Fun
The LeapPad2 Explorer takes the original LeapPad to a whole new level. We love the new look of the device. Even though it's a tablet for kids, it doesn't look like a toy. Kids still get the same great LeapFrog play that remembers and adjusts to each child's individual progress. Each of the different activities available on the LeapPad2 engages kids in fun ways to build skills in reading, math, science, vocabulary, and more. The LeapPad2 is faster, has upgraded features, and lots more LeapFrog learning content. Plus it still lets young kids have their own tablet device, just like mom and dad.
Who It’s For
The LeapPad2 Explorer is for ages 3–9.
What To Be Aware Of
Four AA batteries are required but not included.
The Connect Application and the Cartoon Creativity and Art Studio apps may take 30-40 minutes to download with a high-speed internet connection.
The LeapPad2 Recharger Pack retails for $39.99.
Any app you previously purchased in the LeapFrog App Center for the LeapPad will work on the LeapPad2.
Accessories such as carrying cases, gel skins, car adapters, video display cases, and child-friendly headphones will also be available and sold separately.
Our Special Needs contributor Emily Vanek shares her thoughts on how this product might be a good choice for a Special Needs child.
LeapFrog has always made great quality toys that can be used in various therapies. The new version of the LeapPad continues that and is outstanding for special needs. It has a built-in camera for pictures and videos, and to help with social skills you can take pictures of kids displaying various emotions. You can take video of actions to help with motor planning. There are matching games, spelling games, and many more to help with academics. This is a well-rounded toy to assist both typical and special needs kids.