Toy of the year that is fun and educational!

I never taught my second and third child the letter sounds. I am for real! When they were beginning kindergarten, I started to do more formal school using Hooked on Phonics Beginning Reading and Explode the Code and guess what? I quickly realized my kids knew all their letter sounds and even many additional phonics skills without any teaching from me. It was like a miracle! I was completely shocked as I spent hours each week teaching my oldest son phonics the good old-fashioned way with phonics programs.

So what was different this time around? First of all, my boys were hooked on LeapFrog: Letter Factory They watched it over and over and knew the songs backwards and forwards. I love using music to teach kids. It really makes learning stick!

But I believe the main teaching tool was their LeapFrog Leapster. They played it on car rides, waiting in restaurants or for appointments, in their beds at night if they couldn't fall asleep, and so on. They did not have any video games at that time so this was their favorite toy.
LeapFrog's latest edition is the LeapPad2 which resembles more of an iphone or ipad. Boy, is it nice! In fact, it is so nice that it's voted toy of the year!

My two-year-old is addicted to using my iphone ever since she was 10 months old. I did not like her sneaking my iphone when I wasn't looking using my iphone because she would accidentally drop it so I picked up a LeapPad2 since it was more cost efficient than replacing my phone. I was quickly reminded of the educational value of these toys! My two and three-year-olds are already learning their letter names and sounds, again with no instruction from me. How awesome is that!

If you are looking for a toy from Santa that will get used for years and is fun and educational, then this may be the one. Enjoy!