It’s late, I know, for anymore holiday recommendations, but this one is totally worth mentioning.
And I’m not the biggest fan of electronic toys, as I’ve said, but the learning that’s shoved into the Leapfrog electronics is really incredible. In my most humble opinion, it’s money well-spent.
Here’s the skinny
- Leapster Explorer Camera & Video Recorder: We were afforded the opportunity to try out the Camera & Video Recorder this month, and although we haven’t had it too long, what we’ve learned–what we’ve created, played, and shared–is really fabulous.
The Camera & Video Recorder is a small attachment that literally turns the Explorer from gaming device to camera and video recorder! The camera piece just clicks it in, connected the device to our computer, and the software was downloaded onto our Explorer.
Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I huddled around the Explorer the first time I turned it on after attaching the camera and downloading the software. I appreciated how clearly the instructions were given before the camera launched. And the instructions are given the first time each player tries the camera–so we heard them three times in like 45 minutes.
Repeated instructions for a 7, 5, and 3 year old? Not a bad thing.
The Camera and Video Recorder doesn’t just take pictures or videos, either. It’s able to:
- take, store, and edit up to 1,000 photos;
- stretch, stamp, and draw on pictures to personalize them;
- create photos or puzzles to tell a story;
- turn photos into characters to zap letters or numbers in fun activities.
I’ll admit it, my kids have quickly grown thicker skin and no longer take it personally when someone draws a mustache on their face or gives them football hair. They’ve skewed faces and giggled hard at long noses or flat faces. They’ve given me a pumpkin head and flower eyes.
I relaxed with Cora for a long time on her bed today and listened to her play a video that Owen made about 100 times. I think I actually fell asleep and dreamed about it.
Owen has loved putting his picture in the ‘good guy’ ship and Maddy’s in the ‘bad guy’ ship for the math fact game, and he’ll yell, Mommy! What is 10 minus 3 again? Quick! to me across the house. I’m sure he’ll commit the facts to memory eventually, and honestly, I’ll take him screaming math questions to me instead of his screaming at Maddy or Cora any day.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised about how easy it is for the kids to take a picture, create a masterpiece, and then print it out. Sure, I have to connect the Explorer to our computer–they haven’t learned that yet–but it takes only minutes from start to finish, and the kids are really proud of what they’ve done. I love this device, and we haven’t even really figured it all out yet.
Overall, here’s the skinny on the Leapster Explorer Camera & Video Recorder:
- that it is a teeny attachment that totally ups the cool factor of this device;
- the clarity of the pictures and videos;
- that the viewfinder is relatively large so they can see their subjects;
- the ease with which pictures and videos can be shot, saved, and edited;
- that soooo many photos (1,000!) can be saved on the device before it’s maxed out;
- the wide range of editing tools–stretching, drawing, stamping–you want it, it’s there;
- that every player has access to every photo on the device–not just the ones that he or she took;
- that math and reading skills are practiced;
- that our kids can be a part of the games (F-U-N!);
- the wide range of children who can use and enjoy this–ages 4-9 (but Cora’s only 3, and she loves it!);
- that our kids are learning how to merge technology and creativity using a device they’re already familiar with and pictures or videos of people they love.
- that there was one more step–perhaps a double click–before a video was recorded. It took a while for the kids to get the hang of the ‘A’ button recording and the top left and right buttons taking photos;
- that LeapFrog gave us an extra Explorer Camera & Video Recorder so that we could give it away to one (or a few!) readers to try. (I’ll keep hoping!)
And that’s it–just one more super-cool something added to the teach mama holiday gift guide and one more (awesome) toy to add to your shopping list!
Many thanks to our friends at LeapFrog who gave us a Camera & Video Recorder to try out for ourselves. This is an unsponsored post, and the opinions and ideas are influenced only by my three photographers/ directors/ doodlers/ masterpiece-creators.