August 16, 2010

LeapFrog ClickStart review

Annie has been playing with her new LeapFrog ClickStart computer ever since it arrived in the mail. It's a great learning tool ... and it's fun, too! CSN Stores sent it to me to review:

The ClickStart is easy to use. Just plug it into your TV, turn it on, and it's ready to go. There are other games that you can buy, but it comes pre-loaded with 5 games that help develop keyboard and mouse skills. They are supposed to help develop some alphabet skills, too, but these are pretty easy for Annie. She's sort of above the level of the pre-loaded games. She has not spent much time with a mouse, though, and although she loves to type on my computer, she doesn't get as much access to the keyboard as she would like. Within just a few hours of her using the ClickStart, I saw huge improvements in her ability to use a mouse and her typing confidence!

The games are really fun for her. She asks to play them all the time. She hasn't gotten bored with the toy, yet, and I don't think she will for a while. There is a lot of variety in just the pre-loaded games, and if I add in some extra games, she will have a lot to choose from.

I also love that Annie can actually set up the game herself. She has learned how to plug it into the TV, turn it on, and start it. Extra bonus!

There are a few drawbacks to the system. First, the mouse pad area is quite small. She does sometimes get frustrated that the mouse is too difficult to maneuver on such a small space. Second, the game does tend to freeze up quite frequently and we need to restart it to fix it. Luckily, Annie has learned how to do that on her own so she doesn't get TOO frustrated with it, but it may be an issue if it continues to freeze.

Overall, I am very glad we own this new machine. It has all the fun of a video game, but actually teaches useful computer skills. She will be able to grow into it, as well, as we buy more advanced games for her to practice her reading and math skills.