Introduced in 2006, Leapfrog’s My First LeapPad was an almost instant success. It was introduced at the same time as the original book Leappad designed for older children. This unit is designed for toddler and preschool aged kids to help them with basic educational needs, such as math and reading. At the same time, the Little Touch LeapPad was also introduced for babies aged nine months and up. It gained popularity in part because there was a unit for every child’s age range.
The unit originally came in a dark blue and a medium shade of pink. Later special color editions, such as bright orange, were introduced. These extra colors added excitement for children and allowed parents with multiple kids to have a different color for each child. The Alphabet Bus is also a special limited edition. Shaped like a school bus, this unit offers an alphabet that, when pressed, talks to the child. There were a couple protective cases made for the unit. The most common is a small backpack that is primarily red and blue with yellow and green accents. It holds the unit as well as several games.
Each unit comes with one book cartridge “Leap’s Big Day” built into the system. However, a book is still needed to follow along. Additional book sets are sold separately. A book set contains both the book to follow along as well as a small cartridge which is inserted into the My First LeapPad system; the cartridge will tell the story as well as narrate the extra interactive features and games. Along the sides of each page, is a green circle with “GO” written inside it. By pressing this button the system knows where to start narrating. The circle is in a slightly different place on each page.
There are dozens upon dozens of extra cartridges and book combos available for the system. Some feature Leapfrog’s characters, such as Tad and Lilly the frogs. The majority, however, are licensed character games. Disney games, such as Cars and Princess, are available. Dr. Seuss, Bob the Builder, Dora the Explorer, and SpongeBob Squarepants are just a few of many other options available.
One of the big downsides that parents disliked was having to purchase additional cartridges. However, since this is an older unit, games are now very inexpensive. Used games for the My First LeapPad system are typically only a few dollars. New games range from the $10.00-$20.00 price range. There are also options available to purchase either just the book or the cartridge; this is in the case one happens to be lost or damaged.
The unit has been replaced by other units, such as the L-Max followed by the Leapster systems. However, this is still a good quality educational system. Leapfrog makes affordable products that are made to last for quite a long time. With great product reviews and an affordable price, it is a great first unit with a large game selection for a toddler or young preschool age child. If you're interested in buying one for the little one in your life, then click here for a blue system and here for pink system.