When it comes to learning toys there are a lot of options out there. Many of them say that they can do this and that and you really aren't certain of what they can do till you get them home. Others have such mixed reviews that you are left confused and worried about whether or not your purchase is a good one. Fear not with the Leapfrog Scribble and Write.
This toy is not recommended for children under 3. The warning says that there are small parts, but nothing detaches and our 18 month old loves it. This is a preschool toy and is wonderful for 3, 4, and 5 year olds, but after that it is likely to become less exciting. Some older children might enjoy it every now and again, but not likely on a regular basis.
The Leapfrog Scribble and Write is a very inexpensive electronic learning toy. There are many out there with a lot more features, but they also come with huge price tags. For around $20 you can get the Leapfrog Scribble and Write (only $17 on Amazon right now). This is one that won't break the bank and that you don't have to cry about if your preschooler breaks it. It is a great value because while being inexpensive it also has a lot of features for your child to enjoy.
Some people say that this is an expensive Magna-doodle. It is true that it is similar to the Magna-doodle in design. You have a small screen and a pen that allows you to draw on that screen. There is a slide bar at the bottom that lets you erase what has been written or drawn. However, that is where the similarity ends. The pen is nice and chubby designed with small hands in mind. Above the screen are 27 buttons. There is one for each letter in the alphabet and a paw button that is pushed once a task has been completed. There is also a slide switch that allows you to turn it off or choose between four different modes of play.
Mode 1. Drawing.
The first mode is a drawing one. Here kids are shown how to draw shapes and simple pictures. To do this a light will appear and the voice will say, " start here and trace over the lights to here." The lights will direct the way and allow the child to successfully draw shapes, a variety of lines, and some basic pictures.
Modes 2 and 3. Letters.
In mode 2 children learn uppercase letters and in mode 3 they learn lower case letters. They can choose the letter they which to draw and the lights direct them as to how they should go. This makes it easy for them to learn their various letters and can also make it easy for parents to help them with letters they have been struggling with.
Mode 4. Games.
In mode 4 there are a couple of games. They are random and include guess the letter and draw a picture. This mode requires a firm hold on letters when playing the guess the letter game, but it can be very fun for the kids.
At this age your child needs a lot of encouragement to feel as though they are doing things right. This game does that. After each item is completed and the paw button is pressed "Scout" and the narrator are very encouraging. It doesn't really mater how you child does (this isn't a toy that is really "smart" enough to know whether or not your child really drew the correct thing or not). This toy can help build confidence and make it so that the child tries again and again and really does get it right. Some parents are disappointed in this because they want the toy to tell them they are doing it wrong, however this is for beginners and it isn't good to make them feel like they aren't getting it right. Plus the option to sit with your child and encourage them and offer feed back is always there. I don't think it is fair to make down this toy and tool because parents want it to do it all for them. But if you are looking at purchasing, be aware that this is part of it.
What Makes This a Great Toy and Tool.
There are a number of reasons that this is a great toy and a great tool. It definitely goes way beyond the price and the basic features.
- The lights make it easy and different from other toys while still teaching proper form of letters and shapes.
- Music and the dog character "Scout" makes it a lot of fun for the kids. It is also one of the toys that isn't completely annoying for the adults.
- It not only teaches, but it gets kids excited about using a pencil, making letters, making shapes, and drawing in general.
- It offers great encouragement including barking and phrases like, "Nice work!" and "Keep it up!"
- It is a fantastic tool for mom or dad to use when working with their child. Sit down and help them use the Scribble and Write and they will be even more excited, will learn even more, and can practice with you.
This toy doesn't really have any direct disadvantages. It is true that it could have more features, but for the price it is an excellent value and offers a lot as far as learning toys go. Even with a Magna-doodle my children love this toy with both of them wanting to use it at the same time. It isn't going to make sure that your child is writing correctly all by itself, but that isn't really its job anyway.
There are a few more thoughts to add before finishing it all up. This is a toy that can be used by themselves or with the parents. It is one that makes it easy for a parent to target areas where the child needs a little extra work. "Lets work on making an uppercase A today, Johnny". While kids will love playing with their parents, it is still enjoyable by themselves. It makes them feel proud to accomplish drawing and letter writing. It also has good battery life. My kids have been playing with it since July and it is now October. It is still using the batteries it came with and it comes out to play almost everyday.
Overall, this is a great value and a great gift. It has a modern look that will get any preschooler excited. It isn't something they will play with forever, but it is likely that you will be able to pass it down to another youngster after your child has finished with it. Plus any tools that you can use to improve your child's handwriting at a young age is a good thing!