Leaping Letters from Leapfrog is an alphabet game that is aimed at the 3 – 6 age group. The product has been designed to cover the core learning skills of the Alphabet, matching skills and fine motor skills. The Leaping Letters product consists of 29 game pieces.
Central to this game, based on alphabet letters, is a plastic 3D tray element. Decked out with a colour scheme that includes purple, green, grey and red, this tray has dimensions of 281 x 222 x 71 mm (W x H x D). Running across the top of the tray are various static gear decorations, an image of the Leapfrog character and a timing mechanism for use when playing the different forms of game play. This timing mechanism includes a stop / start switch.
The main tray table area, which is coloured purple with a green trim, features outline depressions of the alphabet letters. This tray table surface can be pushed downwards so that it locks into place until it is automatically released when the timer mechanism runs out thus causing any letters positioned on the tray table to leap into the air. The letters only leap an inch or two in the air so there should be no danger of a young child being hit in the face by a letter.
Included in the box, with the tray, is a set of 26 3D letters. These letters are coloured blue, green, yellow or red with the latter colour being reserved for the vowels. Each letter has a small grip that is meant to be used to help the child pick up the chosen letter. Completing the kit are a word building card, word building list showing possible three-letter words that can be created using different two-colour combinations plus a brief Parental Guide folded booklet.
When setting up the main alphabet game, you have a choice of three Challenge levels. The child can select from a choice of Great, Good or Fun levels by adjusting the time pointer towards the appropriate challenge. With the tray table element depressed and the timer started, the child will need to position all, or as many as possible, of the 3D letters in their correct position within the alphabet arrangement display. If the task can be completed within the chosen time limit then the timer can be manually stopped otherwise the tray table will be unlocked causing those letters already placed in position to leap off the tray.
Leaping Letters also has a second form of game play which involves using the word building card with its three boxes into which letters can be placed to make a word. The word building card is positioned on the tray table using guide markers alongside the h, l, n and r letters. Using a combination of blue / red, yellow / red or green / red letters, the child will need to try and create three-letter words before the timer runs out. As there is also a single example of each letter, words with a double letter can not be created.
The supplied word building list card provides many possible examples of three-letter words which can be made. However the supplied list is not comprehensive and I would suggest that the parent or other adult should create a supplementary list covering words not included on the word building list card. Options are available to play the word creating aspect of Leaping Letters in either single or two-player mode.
Leaping Letters does come with a warning regarding the size of the 3D letters. This product should not be used by children under the age of three years. I also felt some disappointment that no bag was provided for storing the set of letters. Loosing even just one of these letters would affect the use of this product. Currently Leaping Letters is listed on Amazon.co.uk priced at £14.24.
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