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

Toy Test #3: Educational toys from Leap Frog and VTech

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By Lauren Keith and Stephanie Byars - bio | email

(KFVS) - Toy Test #3 features the most expensive toys in our toy bag and the most high-tech.  We've taken the newest electronic learning toys from competing toy companies Leap Frog and Vtech and compared them. Here's what kids and educators think belongs in your child's hands.

Little learners in Nancy Greenwood's kindergarten class have a whole toy bag full of learning devices are for kids ages 3 to 8, so these five and six year olds from Anna should be just fine.

First, we have the Leap Frog TAG reading system. It's a toy that's fared really well on previous toy tests. It has some new functions, but we also wanted to see how it compares to the other brand new learning devices.

For instance, VTech says its new V.Reader also makes "reading come to life." We also have two handheld gaming systems: Leap Frog's Leapster Explorer and VTech's MobiGo.

The kids played with these toys for more than a week, but the lesson is for all of us. What the kids like and what the teacher says is best are a bit different.  "As an educator, I loved the V.Reader.  It has so many reading-readiness skills," said Mrs. Greenwood.

The kids didn't exactly share the love.

"They got bored with it. They didn't understand."

"There's only one game. It was so hard. We only found three words," said one student.

We did see signs of this early on, and many times,  we had to help the kids use V.Reader. Still, Mrs. Greenwood says the $55 reading system offers so much potential.

"It'd be great for them to play. Wonderful toy, but there just weren't interested in it."

Our advice? Buy this for an older child. Or, if you're willing to put down your similar "e-book" and instead, help your child with the V.Reader, Mrs. Greenwood says the reading games could be a great learning tool. The V.Reader earns a 'B' on our toy test.

The kindergartners have certainly heard of our next device, but playing with it is a different story.

"It was kind of hard the first time. I kept trying," said one student.

"It didn't have much games," said another.

That's not entirely true. Here's the deal. Leap Frog's Leapster Explorer allows you to download apps, games, eBooks, flash cards and more, all the while playing some games on this device. That may be too advanced for most kindergartners, even though we're in the suggested age range.

"If the child is Internet savvy, the Leapster would be great. There are so many things a child can do. There's Leap World where they can go and cash in their badges for tokens. There's Leap Frog videos they can download and the Learning and Letter factory," said Mrs. Greenwood.

So, spend the $60 now and it sounds like your child can learn and grow with this toy, which prompts this teacher and us to give the $60 Leapster Explorer an 'A'.

So what one would the kids like for Christmas?  We ask one child who responded, "MobiGo because it had the cool keyboard and the adventure game."

The kindergartners loved getting their hands on VTech's MobiGo.

"Mobigo. I liked the games on it."

"My friend, Jess, liked the MobiGo."

"Very user friendly. They were learning. They had fun."

This $60 educational gaming device MobiGo easily types out an excellent grade 'A', as all these smiles indicate it should.

"I loved the Tag reading system. The kids loved it. They enjoy reading so much."

"I did like everything about it," said one student.

"It was reading the story to you. that's what I liked," said another.

We do, too. For the third year in a row, the talking, reading pen earns top honors on Toy Testers. Leap Frog's TAG reading system allows your child to simply scroll the electronic pen over words, listening or reading along to the story, all the while playing memory and quiz games that help a child learn to read. This year, the pen allows you to store up to 10 electronic books, essentially creating a little library at your fingertips.

"The TAG just brought the books to life."

Just like it promises, the $40 Leap Frog Tag reading system moves to the top of the class again with an A+.

Oh, and good luck Santa Claus.  There was not a bad thing to report in this toy bag, and the little cuties noticed.  "I want all of the toys!" said one excited boy.  You can find most of these toys at Target, Wal-mart and Kmart stores, among other sites online. 

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