H.L. asks from Saint John, IN on November 03, 2010
Which Learning Game System Do You like Best for a 4 Year Old?
We have an almost 4 year old daughter at home who is expecting a baby sister in the next week. We want to have the new baby get her a learning game system that my daughter has been asking for. The question is... we have looked at 3 different systems. They all have good points and ones that I am not so excited about. I want to know which system you like best. The 3 we have looked at are Fisher Price iXL 6-in-1, vTech MobiGo, or Leapster2 system. If you have one or more of these systems, which do you like best and why? Are there regrets after buying a system that you wish you hadn't bought or gotten a different one? Thanks in advance for your help.
So What Happened?™
We went with the Leapster Explorer and she really likes it. Thanks for your help!
S.A. answers from Chicago on November 04, 2010
A.D. answers from Chicago on November 06, 2010
We have the Leapster2, got it this summer. We like the wide variety of games available (seems like more than for the other two systems, probably because the Leapster device has been around longer and they just updated some of the games to go with the additional "2" functionality). We like that you can get games featuring almost all the characters my kids like, including Thomas the Train and Diego, as well as the widely available Dora and Disney characters, plus non-licensed character games. They have a lot of movie-tie-in Disney games, which I didn't see with the other two systems (other than Toy Story). The Learning Path you can check online shows you which specific skills your child has been working on, and you can print out more activities and coloring pages that "unlock" as your child plays with the system more and more. You can also get online "rewards," though this takes a little more parent involvement. The available case holds the game cartridges UNDER the handheld system, so they're not falling out while the kid plays. An A/C adapter is available, which is great if you're using it at home and don't want to blow through batteries. They also offer a rechargable battery pack, although I didn't get that because it makes the handheld heavier and harder for little hands to hold.
We started out with an order for an Explorer, which had just come out over the summer, and found it very hard to locate places to buy the game download cards at that point. Perhaps they've corrected that by now; the big difference with the Explorer is it's all game (or book) downloads, no cartridges. Good in that there's nothing to lose. Bad in that mom or dad has to keep the device loaded with games and switch them around periodically. We chose to go with the cartridge device so the kids could switch them themselves to their heart's delight. We also have a Tag Junior book reader and the device memory can only hold a certain number of books at a time - we saw this as a potential downfall of an all digital device.
That said, for Christmas, we are buying some more Leapster2 games AND considering also buying the iXL, because of the e-book feature (it has choices for different books than the Tag Junior) and mp3 player feature (please stop grabbing mommy's iPod!). But we're not regretting our decision to start with the Leapster2 AT ALL, both our 4 and 2 year olds love it. It wasn't supposed to be for the 2 year old but with a little help from the older child the first week, she caught on just fine. The 4 year old is in heaven when he gets to play it. The 2 year old tends to actually touch the screen where the 4 year old uses the stylus more, so it's nice that the screen can handle that.
The only thing that seemed different and cool about the MobiGo to me was the qwerty keyboard, and frankly I didn't want my kid to start grabbing my phone and texting away to random addresses (it looks very much like a big slider phone). I think my kids get enough keyboard familiarity by just playing the occasional game on the real computer. But I certainly could have missed some exciting feature when doing the research.
Hope that helps, good luck with the new baby!
BTW, great move to bring a fun gift from the baby, my 4 year old still refers to his tool bench as his "tools from (sister's name)." They remember!
1 mom found this helpful
K.N. answers from Chicago on November 04, 2010
I just got my daughter the Leapster Explorer for her 4th birthday and she loves it. She figures things out on her own and is very independent with it. We haven't bought any games for it yet, for now she is entertained by the stuff that comes on it.
I researched a little and the Explorer was highly reviewed by other parents.
Good Luck and congrats on the growing family :)
S.G. answers from Oklahoma City on November 03, 2010
my daughter played the vsmile when she was little, she LOVED it..you can buy a keyboard accessory to teach them typing....need to get her a new one
E.S. answers from Chicago on November 04, 2010
We got my son (3.5 at the time) the Leapster & he LOVES it! Still plays it a lot 1 year later. We are looking at the Leapster Explorer for Chrsitmas this year & handing down the Leapster to his 2.5 year old sister. It has even more educational games & activities that will grow with him. My 6 year old nephew always asks to play the Leapster! We looked at the Fisher Price one, but, in our opinion, LeapFrog has cornered the market in the educational electronics! He has played the VTech and enjoys it, but the Leapster was much easier for him to handle & use the controls.
FYI: there is also the JumpStart computer software (I know Toys R Us carries it) that my son will play for hours if we let him! The Pre-K he is in also uses it.
S.T. answers from Kansas City on November 03, 2010
my daughter who will be 4 is getting the mobigo
J.K. answers from Chicago on November 03, 2010
Go with the Leapster Explorer rather than the Leapster 2 (if you go the Leapster route).
S.A. answers from Chicago on November 04, 2010
We have the Leapster2 and wish we wouldn't have wasted the money. The graphics are terrible. I don't know anything about the Fisher Price or V Tech systems, but I would not recommend the Leapster.
A.F. answers from Columbus on November 03, 2010
My 4 year old got a Leapster 2 last year for Christmas and he's outgrown it, it's to "babyish" for him now. We just got him a Nintendo DS for his birthday. He loves it and it can grow with him.