Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Leap Frog Tag Junior

Leap Frog make so many cool things for kids!  We have been introduced to another of their products, thanks to being Toyologists. Freddy has been sent the Tag Junior and I am officially impressed! Using amazing optical technology, it encourages toddlers' to develop a love of books and introduces pre-school skills through playful book-based activities.

Designed for kids aged 2-4, the Tag Junior reading system brings board books magically to life with fun sounds and activities.  The 'Book Pal' is a cute, little character, which is chunky and easy to hold in little hands.  As it is placed on the specially printed pages of the Tag Junior books, the words on the page are spoken aloud, and characters speak to your little one.  It works on both words and pictures which is great for inquisitive toddlers, encouraging them to explore. You can even program it to say your child's name (from a list of 1900 names online).  Freddy has started talking back to his book pal when it speaks to him!

Each book focuses on an early learning skill such as counting, social play or letter recognition.  The talking pal allows the toddler to take charge of the experience, to hear the sounds from the characters and objects on the pages. Some pictures lead to open ended questions making the Tag Junior really interactive. It works using a tiny optical scanner... I haven't got a clue how it does it. but it is very clever!

Perfect for little hands.
Up to five books can be stored on the book pal so children can go from one downloaded book to another.  One book is included "If I Were..." which is about animals and has a lovely rhyming text that Freddy really enjoyed.  We were also sent four other titles Cars 2 World Adventure, Thomas and Friends Best Friends, Toy Story 3 To Imagination and Beyond and ABC Animal Orchestra.  It's good to see so many favourite children's characters in the choices of book available. Each one has lots of different sound effects and audio responses.  They are a lot of fun!

Plenty of favourite characters.
To use Tag Junior you need a PC with the internet to download the audio to the book pal. Connecting cable is included.  It was very straightforward to do with clear online instructions.  The book pal requires 2 AAA batteries which aren't included.

I really liked the fact that the reading voice had a British accent, rather than an American one which means that Freddy won't be picking up an L.A. twang from playing with his Tag Junior.

Overall, I am really impressed with this educational toy.  It has awakened Freddy's interest in books and has really engaged him.  The audio responses and learning activities are really extensive.  Freddy particularly likes the Toy Story 3 book which is a lovely story about Bonnie and her toys. I love that it talks to Freddy by name, it is a nice touch personalising the experience. Although at the moment he still makes the book pal repeat one sound over and over again, reminding me of a stuck record, he is beginning to understand the interactive elements of the toy and is choosing to play with it regularly.  For a toddler who would rather be throwing or kicking balls around the garden, this interest in books is really encouraging.  He has given the Tag Junior a thorough toddler testing and it is withstanding his playing perfectly!

This is not a replacement for parents reading stories to their children.  Nothing beats snuggling up at bedtime with a favourite storybook.  Instead, it is a really fun way for pre-schoolers to enjoy books independently with the help of their Tag Junior Book Pal. Priced at £29.99 for the Tag Junior and £9.99 for the software from Toys R Us, it is a great way to introduce reading and electronic learning to toddlers.  I personally think it is a nice blend, combining the traditional with the ultra modern.  I will definitely be adding to his software library!

Leap Frog Tag Junior
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