Toy Test #3: Educational Toys from LeapFrog and VTech - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Toy Test #3: Educational Toys from LeapFrog and VTech

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Lauren, Jim, and Brian test out the VTech Nitro Web Notebook. Lauren, Jim, and Brian test out the VTech Nitro Web Notebook.
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By Lauren Keith - bio | email

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -This week's toy test first takes us into the kindergarten classroom of Joyce Pryor and Cecile McCarron to check out the  newest educational, teaching toys from rival companies LeapFrog and VTech.

Right away, the kindergartners try out VTech's newest educational toy called the Nitro Web Notebook. This pseudo-laptop has games that teach kids foreign languages, all major subjects, memory recall and even fine arts. We see a lot of smiling faces here, but will the kids still like playing with this after a few days? I'll let you know in just a bit, but first, two more new educational toys.

"Jump! Jump!" the teacher says to pre-kindergartners in the next classroom.

Students in Deanna Blessing's class tested the newest toys from LeapFrog. from the TV commercial, it appears the new Zippity toy combines a little exercise with some learning. It might also entertain your kids for you, but we're already seeing there's a little more parental supervision needed. Some kids get the hang of it, and others want you to play, too. This might change once the kids get accustomed to it. I'll let you know that in a moment, but first, already at this tender age, we're seeing a case of "crackberry thumb."

But, this texting is teaching!

"It shows them letters. I think it's a good concept for working on alphabet with them," says Blessing.

The kids can also interact with "Scout the teaching puppy" who sends them text messages quizzing them on the alphabet. While the kids check their inbox, let's see what toys pass our test after more than a week of testing.

"The screen was my big issue. The screen and the color. You know, with today's technology, I was expecting more than," says Joyce Pryor.

Overall, the teachers are bit unimpressed with the small screen features on the VTech notebook, but love the teaching concepts and easy assembly.

"It was really cool, I thought," says one student.

But did the kids learn anything, as promised?  Here are some of their comments.

"I learned how to really match things."

"I liked matching the big and small letters."

Still at $50 and with no color screen, Miss Pryor's not so sure this will hold the kids attention over time.

"I would probably give it a 'C.'

So,an average but not bad grade for the VTech Nitro Web Notebook.

Meantime, back in the other classroom, Deanna Blessing found the LeapFrog Text and Learn teaches and keeps the children's attention.

"I think if you got it for your child, they would learn with it," she said.

However, she also knocks it down a bit for not having a color screen.

"A grade 'B'."

Not bad for $22 either. The LeapFrog Text and Learn passes the test with a good grade 'B."

Finally, putting together the Zippity did not happen in a zip. Deanna says it took her 30 minutes.

"You need a background in technology," she admits.

She's also not a fan of the delay while a new game loads.

"It teaches a lot of good concepts, but that delay in between, I found the kids get frustrated and they don't want to play with it, unless I get them excited about it again," she said.

There is something else though that keeps the kids coming back.

"What did you like about Zippity?" I ask one child.

"Mickey Mouse!" he replies.

"What toy did you like better?" I ask a little girl.

"Zippity because it's Disney!" she says.

Hmm...parents note that while gift shopping and remember this advice.

"I would give it a 'C' because it does have good points, but it still needs adult interaction," said Blessing.

I'll stick with that. The $70 LeapFrog Zippity earns a 'C' and closes the books on this educational Does it Work Toy Test.

You'll find LeapFrog toys at Wal-Mart and Toys 'r' Us. You'll find VTech toys at Target.

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