Thursday, November 30, 2017

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ABC's of LeapFrog Academy

As a LeapFrog Mom Ambassador I get to try new LeapFrog products and share my opinions about them with you. Today I am truly delighted to introduce you to LeapFrog Academy!

LeapFrog Academy is a new 3-D learning world that actually covers a well-rounded curriculum in a fun and exciting online platform. Since ABC's and young children are practically synonymous I decided to introduce you to LeapFrog Academy and share my review with my own set of ABC's...and I'll admit my kids totally helped me come up with these!

ABC's of LeapFrog Academy:

A is for Avatar...and Accessories! My 4-year old daughter's favorite thing to do is dress up her avatar and change her "accessories." Not even joking! Your avatar travels through the LeapFrog world as you click or touch (on a touch-screen) the path you want to travel.

B is for Balloons! The LeapFrog world happens to be a series of really cool islands floating in the air, and you enter the world holding a bouquet of balloons! You also transition between certain islands with the same flying balloons.

C is for Collections! As you complete levels and collect rewards you have options to choose collections (like castles, dinosaurs, robots, and more!) to build. Each collection is made up of building blocks, and you earn the placement of those building blocks as you "play" the learning games. My daughter already completed a castle (which you can visit and learn cool facts about castles) and is about to start a rocket in the picture below.

D is for Device Compatability! This is truly an amazing feature. You can access the web-based LeapFrog Academy from two of LeapFrog's tablets (the Epic or the LeapFrog Academy Epic) OR from your own phone (iPhone or Android) OR from an iPAD OR an Android tablet OR any Windows or Apple computer with a Wi-Fi connection!! As far as I can tell, the only common device that does not support the Academy are Amazon tablets.  AND, if you are using a tablet with a Wi-Fi connection, your kiddo can save up to 24 activities to the device to use when they are "offline" by marking them as "favorites."

E is for Emotions and Feelings! Feelings are part of the curriculum included--they are addressed in games and stories.

F is for Frog! Frog characters lead many of the lessons where they explain concepts like rhyming, math, and more to each other. Of course, your child watches the "conversation" and learns the lesson too!

G is for Great for Families! Seriously!! I love this about LeapFrog Academy--it's perfect for homeschooling families or families who just want educational activities on their tablets when the kids want screen time. Each monthly subscription includes FIVE ACCOUNTS!! And it is EASY to switch between accounts and monitor what your kiddos are doing on them!

H is for Home Extension Learning Ideas! As you check on your children's progress in the Parent Dashboard (see T - tracking - for more details) it includes suggestions that you can do with your kiddos to "extend" the learning concepts with hands-on activities with your kiddo.

I is for Intestines! Intestines, ribs, hearth, and the lungs are just part of the Human Body lessons--some of my favorite science concepts!

J is for Just Read to Me! Okay, this might be a little bit of a stretch, but I love that LeapFrog Academy has a huge library of ebooks, and you can either read them yourself, have LeapFrog read them to you, or read along with with LeapFrog. Reading is such an important aspect of childhood, and I love the confidence that the LeapFrog library gives kiddos as they can "read" without an adult helping them!

K is for Kindergarten, PreK, and 1st Grade! LeapFrog Academy is designed for children ages 3-6 in PreK, K, and 1st grade levels. Here are some peeks at some of the skills included:

The "Intro to Preschool" level includes the following:

Exploring Numbers and Letters
Letters, Sounds, and Rhymes
Shapes, Numbers, and Letters
Critical Thinking Skills
Colors, Music, and Letters
Math and Science
and more!

The "Intro to Kindergarten" level includes the following:

Letters, Numbers, and Words
Numbers and Shapes
Letters and Letter Sounds
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Rhymes and Blending Sounds
Art and Music
Early Science Concepts
Phonics and Spelling
Coding and STEM 
and more!

L is for Learning Adventure! When your kiddos log into LeapFrog Academy, they can choose between "My Learning Adventure" and "My World."  My Learning Adventure has 32 learning paths called Learning Adventures. Each Learning Adventure has 3-8 lessons (with 6 activities per lesson) that you progress through as you move along a path on the floating islands. If you complete them all in order, you will have moved successfully through the LeapFrog Academy curriculum. If, on the other hand, your kiddos would prefer to explore and choose their own adventures, the "My World" option has learning activities organized by types throughout floating islands that you can explore at your own pleasure. My kids have done a combination of both, and they love having the choice!

M is for Math! Each level covers a huge variety of math skills! I've seen everything from patterns to mathematical thinking and coding!

N is for Numbers! This might seem a little redundant, but kids learn how to identify numbers, manipulate them, and predict them!

O is for Over 1,000 Learning Activities!! AND....LeapFrog intends to keep adding to this massive collection!

P is for Puzzles! When your kiddo logs into LeapFrog Academy, below the options for My Learning Adventure and My World are small icons so you can jump to the following choices: Books, Games, Puzzles, Videos, Music, Art, and Favorites. There are over 120 puzzles in so many subjects--math, science, and more!

Q is for Quality! I have tested A LOT of online learning programs, and this is hands-down my favorite! Everything in LeapFrog Academy, from the graphics to the curriculum to the design of the world, is engaging, exciting, and educational. My preschoolers are constantly engaged when they log on.

R is for Rewards! My kids love collecting the marbles as they complete learning activities...and finding the "hidden" marbles as they travel the learning paths! When the marbles "fill up" the flower gauge on the screen, they get to exchange them for prizes, like new clothes or accessories for their avatar! (See 4-year old LOVES this!!)

S is for Science! Science is one of the subjects that both has its own lessons and is integrated into lots of other lessons. Remember how I'm in love with the Human Body activities?! There are also activities for Space, Dinosaurs, Geology, Food, Engineering, and more!

T is for Tracking! Tracking your students progress is SO EASY! I have been frustrated with the parent portals of other online learning websites, but I truly find the Parent Dashboard a pleasure to use. It is fun to see what your child has done, the progress they make, and even get to choose what they will work on next! You can adjust levels or even add specific activities to My Learning Lab. Each child's work shows up in a screen where you simply scroll from one child to the next. I have used a PC every time I log into the Parent Dashboard, so I'm not sure how it would look on a tablet, but it is extremely user-friendly on a computer.

U is for Unicorn! Yep, there are unicorns in LeapFrog Academy. Short story: I was watching my daughter "play" recently, when she came to a letter-learning station. The letter popped up on the screen, and she exclaimed, "Oh, yes! I love these!!" The screen showed the proper way to write the letter, and gave her a chance to trace it in sequence. As she traced it correctly, it filled with clouds. When she finished tracing it, an airplane flew along the path. Other times the letters filled with different things...cheese that was traced by a mouse, rocks traced by a bulldozer, roads traced by cars, and more...even a rainbow traced by a unicorn!  In fact, after using LeapFrog Academy for a couple weeks, my 4-year old started writing letters spontaneously on her paper drawings too!

V is for Videos! Last time I counted there were over 60 educational videos on the system...covering topics as wide and varied as letters, engineering, and music! And they keep adding more videos!

W is for Writing and Words!  I already mentioned how my daughter is now writing letters, but let me tell you a little about my son. Even though is a few months older than the intended age range, I made him an account to let him practice the phonics included in the system. The 1st grade curriculum includes things like reading, sight word identification, vowel and consonant blends, digraphs, and lots of other reading and writing skills. It has been perfect for him as he's still working on a lot of these skills, and I have loved watching his reading confidence grow during the last couple months!

X is for X-tremely Fun Games! I know "extremely" actually starts with an "e," but I needed to emphasize how fun these activities are! Seriously, sometimes my 10-year old will ask for a turn to play!!

Y is for Yellow! Not only are colors covered in the PreK level, but my kids love the Banzai Beans games. They include skills in patterns, math, literacy, and more...and they include *yellow* lanterns in the game! My kids especially like the bonus levels where you design catapults to launch bean characters around!

Z is for Zoo! Lots of popular zoo animals are included in different games and activities, like monkeys in the Stretchy Monkey game, where kiddos practice matching uppercase and lowercase letters!

So now that I've introduced you to LeapFrog Academy, I'm going to finish this review up by letting you know that both I and my kiddos absolutely love it! LeapFrog Academy is one of the few "screen" activities that I am perfectly happy, without reservation, to let my kids use. It is engaging, educational, and safe--everything I want in an electronic activity!

And to make it even more accessible, LeapFrog offers a month-long free trial. You can try it out and see how you like it!

Have you seen LeapFrog Academy? Do you have any questions? I would love to answer them! Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment!

Disclosure: We were given a subscription to LeapFrog Academy to facilitate this review. All opinions are mine and I only recommend products I love!

Happy Educating,

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