Wild Card winner: LeapPad Explorer
Not ready to hand over your iPad - or yikes, buy one? Our 2011 Golden Apple Wild Card winner - nominated by our staff - may be the next best thing for your early reader.
By GreatSchools Staff
Appeals to ages: 3-9
What it teaches: early reading skills such as letter and word recognition and storytelling; early math skills like simple addition, groupings, and patterns; as well as emotional and social skills
This nicely diminutive, kid-focused touchscreen tablet with more than 100 games and activities seems to do it all: Teach early math, reading, logic, and even emotional and social skills — all under the guise of games, puzzles, and other smart forms of play. (It's also designed to withstand a youngster's inevitable wear and tear that would quickly do in a grown-up’s tablet, like an iPad.)
We were thrilled that stories can be personalized with a child's photos, artwork, writing, and voice recording. Said one mom tester: "My child loved that it spoke his name." Plus, she added, "It's well designed, easy to handle and maneuver for young kids. My 4-year-old son and even his baby sister learned and laughed a lot from it."
Bottom line: A smart, high-tech learning toy that will keep young kids busy learning — from A to Z and 1,2,3.
Where to buy it: LeapPad
Check out last year’s winner: FlashMaster