LeapPad - Waste of Money or Worthy Investment?

Updated on January 18, 2012
J.S. asks from Saint Paul, MN
13 answers

Hi all,
We are going to be driving to Florida (from MN) for spring break. I have 3 kids aged 3, 5 and 6. I am starting to think about things to keep them busy for 28 hours in the car.

I have two friends who bought LeapPads over the holiday, but haven't used them much yet. I'm curious if you all can give a recommendation. I saw some pretty negative reviews on Amazon.com complaints about cost of applications, difficulty with set up and support, and the fact that the games were pretty spendy.

Part of me wants to have my kids read and color and entertain themselves like we had to do when I was a kid... we never had a DVD player or Tablet to entertain us and we drove to FL every year... but we also drove in a VW bus and did not wear seatbelts :) So - we could play board games and play with each other.

Let me know what your thoughts are if you have purchased a LeapPad,.


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answers from Champaign on

I just bought my son one for Christmas (he's 4). I loved the leapster and so did he, but we had such a hard time keeping track of the cartridges and he would always drop them in the car. The leappad is wonderful, you can use cartridges or dowloand apps. I don't think they are that expensive, we got 4 apps for about $22. The variety is good. Well worth it - and they do have car adapters on Amazon too.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

If it makes you slightly less nervous... we have a "no electronics in a moving car" rule (aka no games on the phone, movies, etc.)... and I've driven all over the country with my son. We talk, listen to music, listen to audible books, stare out the window and use imaginations.

We DO stop a bunch for runaround time, and when he was little we'd leave point A at noon (just after lunch... playing in the hotel room/pool/breakfast/ etc. then get in the car and have lunch in the car), he'd sleep, we'd stop when he woke up, play/eat, drive, stop to play eat, he'd sleep, then we'd play/eat/pjs, and he'd sleep till the hotel (around midnight) be a little goofy for half an hour or hour, and sleep till morning.

Now that he's older (9) he rarely sleeps in the car for more than an hour nap maybe once a day. But we have GREAT conversations.

There's very few things I won't do with my son JUST because I didn't when I was a kid... but movies & videogames in the car is one of them (which may be kind of ironic, because we have a LOT more screentime than most people at home). There's so much to SEE out those windows!!! (Planes are boring...and you can't pull over a jet for an hour on a playground for the cost of 99 cent fries... so we do movies and laptops on planes... but the car is pure freedom).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My son (just turned 6) has a LeapPad and LOVES it. My parents bought it, so the initial cost was theirs, but I've had to buy all the games for it.

The activities are engaging and fun and have academic components that grow with the child which is very cool.

That being said... THE GAMES ARE PRICEY.

For me, it's not terrible. He has four cartridges as well as the bookmaker and pet apps. He'll play one cartridge game for a week or so, then get interested in another one and so forth.

On our end, it's worth it... but he's an only child, so often has to entertain himself. With three, it might not be as big of an issue... but that is a LONG drive.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dothan on

I don't know about the LeapPad but my son received a Leapster when he was 4 (he's now 7) and logged hours of use on it during our long car rides. One person commented about the cartridges being hard to keep up with. To prevent that problem, I bought a small zipper top cosmetic bag (it was blue so as not to look "girly") and we kept all the game cartridges in there. He has now moved on to a Nintendo DSi but the blue bag is still around with DS games in it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sheboygan on

I think they are worth the price. My daughter (3) and my son (5) both have them and play on them often. I do recommend buying rechargable batteries for them because batteries only last about 8 hours, so they get expensive. Apps cost between $5 and $25 and can be downloaded onto 2 leappads.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Leapsters have my 100% recommendation. They're like little video games, but educational.

LeapPad - no experience with, but we'll be getting one soon enough b/c of our experience w/ leapster. The games run about $25 - for either.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

My daughter got one for Xmas and has already lost interest in it. There isnt much on the initial setup, it is hard to figure out as far as adding things to it (apps) and the apps are super expensive. I wish Santa wouldnt have wasted his time on this one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am buying two for my 4 and 5 yr olds. What I like is when you buy something online you can put it on both pads. So, they can both use the game or book at the same time but you just buy it once. That's huge when you have kids that argue as much as mine. No more - it's my turn!



answers from New York on

We got one for a Christmas gift. Since my DD is only 22 months old, she doesn't know anything about applications and is just happy to press the buttons and hear the animal, music and letter sounds. I would just ignore the "blog entry, log onto..."

Personally, I loathe introducing technology so early on and would embrace coloring and "I Spy" anyday!



answers from San Francisco on

My 3yo daughter loves hers! While most of the time she does not fully understand what she is doing yet- it keeps her entertained for long periods of time and she is learning so much from it. Games can be expensive but I have done well watching sales at Toys-r-Us. Over the holidays they had buy one get one free! and I just got a rewards coupon for one free game. Also love that the games for the explorer can be used on the LeapPad. My daughter had been using my Ipad and we were afraid she would not make the switch to "her Ipad" and that it would be too slow for her (especially after reading some reviews) but she is perfectly happy to have her own Pad she is not sharing with mommy.



answers from Chicago on

My son has one and it's been awesome. He's 5...plays it constantly. It's basically an i-pad for kids. Has a camera, takes video, you can download books on it for them to read or read to them, the games are awesome. Totally worth the money. If you're the least bit tech-savvy you can figure out all it has to offer. It's pretty amazing.


answers from Chicago on

My son is 3.5, and just got it for Christmas. So far, he LOVES it.
We have videos, a couple of apps, and 1 game for it, so far.

Some of the games are expensive ($20), but the videos and apps are around $7 each.
Quite honestly, if it gives me an hour of peace, it's worth $20!



answers from Phoenix on

My sister in law sent my son (5 1/2 yrs) one for Christmas. He loves it. He has the leapster which he also loves. I like that the games are fun and educational. We are going on a long plane ride this summer. I plan on buying the headphones for it. You can get the games cheaper on amazon. I would definitely say it is worth buying.

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