It is no secret that I am a huge advocate for allowing children access to tech. I have blogged and shared on social media how much progress my toddlers have made, thanks to their iPad Minis. When LeapFrog asked me to review the LeapPad3, I almost bit their hands off – (Metaphorically speaking, of course)!

When it arrived, I was surprised to find it was Pink. One of the things I love about LeapFrog is their neutral Green branding, so I was a little shocked to receive a Pink one. We received the LeapPad3 with WiFi – this allows you to download games and ebooks right to the device, via the app store. You can also access previews of games, films and videos via the LeapSearch tab.

The LeapPad3 is aimed at children aged 3-9 years. It is charged via a mini USB cable which connects to your laptop or desktop computer, or can be plugged into the mains directly. Great news for parents who get fed up of replacing disposable batteries. The LeapPad3 with wifi has 2 inbuilt cameras, which can record images (2MP) and video. The device has 4GB internal memory and an RRP of ¬£90. The device has a stylus connected to it, and it has a headphone jack. It has a 5 inch screen and so far, it’s passed the toddler test! Syd’s accidentally dropped the LeapPad3 several times already, and so far, no damage has been done. It has a battery life of up to 6 hours per charge. We’ve found this to be correct, unless you use the camera a lot. You don’t get quite as much time between charges if you’re as snap-happy as Sydney is.

I chose to disable the wifi on our LeapPad3, as I didn’t want the kids using the tablet for watching videos – I wanted it to be a learning tool. It was a bit frustrating that I couldn’t remove the internet and app store icons from the LeapPad3 screen, as it did frustrate the children not being able to access these features.¬†Another WiFi feature is Pet Chat – This allows LeapPad3 users to send messages to each other (like texting) via wifi. Personally, this isn’t something I wanted my children to use, so it is another reason why I opted to disable wifi via the parental controls settings.

The LeapPad 3 comes pre-loaded with several cool features and activities. The Pet game is similar to Tamagotchi from back in the day. You create a pet, look after it and interact with it. You can also furnish your pet’s home and unlock new features as you progress through the levels.

The Music icon allows your child to access a selection of fun, educational songs and some classic tunes as well. The LeapPad 3 comes with several game Demo’s pre-installed. These frustrated me as they couldn’t be removed and took up valuable memory. When you register your Leap Pad 3, you are given one free game download. There were 3 to choose from, and I opted for Sammy Submariner. Sys’s played this several times and seems to enjoy it.

The Art Studio is one of Syd’s favourite features on the Leap Pad3 – she has spent a lot of time drawing pictures. You can opt for a plain background, or select a background image to draw onto. The drawing tools are easy for small people to navigate. There is a good range of tools available to use. Pencils, paint brushes, felt tip style pens and chalk being just a selection. The eraser works really well, as does the undo option. Once you’ve drawn a picture, you can save it and then access it from your image gallery on the LeapPad3 home screen, and you can easily import them to your computer when you connect your LeapPad3.

Photo Fun is probably our favourite app on the LeapPad3. It allows you to play around with the photos you take on the device. You can add your face to some cool images too (Check me out being an Eagle and a Cat in the photos above)! We were talking about getting Syd a Child camera for her birthday, but the LeapPad3 has the ability to take just as good quality photos, and you can upload them to your computer to print them off as well – 2 products for the price of one! Winner!

Here’s a few images of activities we’ve done on the LeapPad3 – The Top-Left image is a drawing I did, and Syd coloured in.

There is a clock icon, which displays an analogue and a digital clock when it is tapped. The time is also read out. This will be really helpful when I am teaching the kids to tell the time. It also has a stopwatch feature.

The Calendar is really clear to read, and today’s date is read out to you upon opening. You can tap on a date and add a note. There are also stickers you can use for quick, visual reminders. This is a great tool for getting children organised.

The Voice Memo feature allows you to record upto 16 voice clips – each can be unto approximately 30 seconds long. Syd loves finding new ones I’ve left for her in there. The notepad is exactly what you’d expect. It allows you to type letters or stories using a very small qwerty keyboard. I found this fiddle to use, but I guess my fingers are bigger than their target market!

Sneak Peek is like one big advert. It contains short preview videos for new downloads. I was frustrated I couldn’t remove this from the device, as Syd kept getting drawn into watching the previews and asking me to buy the content. (Great for LeapFrog, but not my bank balance)!

The Minnie’s Bow-Tique game which we were also sent is aimed at children aged 3-5. The game is based in Minnie’s new Bow-Tique store. You complete various mini tasks to help other characters prepare for the surprise party they are throwing for Minnie. You can design bows, answer the phone and put up decorations. Syd found the game a bit boring, as it is so repetitive. It teaches letter recognition, memory, logic and colours, but you complete the same type of challenge over and over again, just with different colour options. New colours are unlocked as you progress, but this wasn’t enough to hold Syd’s interest. I probably wouldn’t recommend this as a starter game. It’s worth buying if you find it at a total bargain price, but I wouldn’t recommend paying the full RRP of ¬£20 for it.

The LeapPad3 itself is available at a bargain price at the moment if you shop around – It is well worth buying as a starter tablet, if you’re not comfortable with getting an iPad Mini instead. I’d give the LeapPad3 a rating of 4/5 – losing 1 mark because you can’t remove certain items from the device’s menu which is frustrating for little people. Would I recommend it? YES. Would I rate it above an iPad or iPad Mini for a 3-9 year old? No.

This is not a sponsored post. I was sent the items to review, but all words and opinions are my own.

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