LeapPad3 review: Putting it to the test

Will the LeapPad3 pass this mom & tech-savvy-teacher's "triple-threat" standard?

Learning Stages


By Sheena Portrait

MA, Early Childhood & Elementary Education, teaching endorsement in Special Education

As a former Elementary Educator, Sheena's passion for children and technology integration fueled her seven year teaching career. You can now find Sheena strolling around Portland, Oregon with her 19-month-old twins and 4-year-old pigtailed daughter. Read more about the Portraits’ adventures on her blog sheenaportrait.com

Let me just start by saying this… LeapFrog, you’ve nailed it. The LeapPad3 is everything I want in a tablet for my preschooler and more! Our household is pretty tech-savvy. We’ve had different tablets and learning tools, each of which have served an educational purpose to a degree but the LeapPad3 takes learning to the next level. First, the setup with LeapPad3 took only 10 minutes from start to finish including registration, user setup, selection of a free age-targeted app, and accessing the Learning Path, for my four-year-old daughter Wren. This kid’s tablet device walked me through 5 screens and just like that, setup was complete. As a mom with three kids it’s hard to find extra time to do things like sleep, let alone maneuver through new tech gadgets. If I am investing time in to something, I need it to be fast, easy and purposeful… it’s my “triple-threat” standard. This tablet passed with flying colors!

The big show-stopper is the kid safe browser LeapSearch, a navigation tool located on the home screen. It’s the most simple and safe introduction to Internet browsing I have ever seen. It’s completely kid-focused content, using pictures to identify the content options. With categories to explore, stories to read, games to play and the web to browse kid-friendly sites, it is the perfect learning tool to begin practicing the important life-long skill of information gathering. And if for some reason you don’t want your kid exploring the web, at any time you can turn the Wi-Fi off in the parent settings using your parent lock code.

Another fantastic feature that I love is the App Center, which is also accessible from the home screen. I am able to browse by age, skill, games, category and best-sellers to find activities, songs and videos that are perfect for Wren based on what she likes and skills she needs practice with. It took me very little time to find apps to purchase because searching was extremely easy. Also, many of the apps have video trailers so I know exactly what the app has to offer prior to buying.

It has become part of my daily routine to have Wren begging me to use her new LeapPad3. We’ve played on it the past three days for about 45 minutes each time, exploring games, using LeapSearch, taking pictures of her twin brother & and sister and listening to educational songs. As a former teacher, the song Punc Punc Punctuation really got me in the dance party mood and I wish I had that song back in my teaching days! With all of this exploration and fun, we haven’t had to charge the battery yet. This baby is definitely making its way into the car for our road trip to the Oregon coast in September!

This device is stocked full of resources and tools making it easy to find activities and content that are “just right” for my gal’s specific educational needs. Its safe LeapSearch tool and simple navigation means she can take the LeapPad3 and explore independently. The overall outcome is little guidance from me with a huge academic and confidence boost for her. Win-win!