Leap Frog Learn and Groove Musical Mat and Leap Start Learning System

Leap Frog Music MatLeap Frog is one of those companies that has a pretty good brand going on. You can associate the company with educational toys with a technical twist. I’m going to be reviewing two of their products today, one for the very young and one for a little older than that.

The first is the Leap Frog Learn and Groove Musical Mat, and it is a mat about 4 feet with ten buttons on it like a weird version of Dance Dance Revolution. It’s made for those ages 3 to 5, and it has lot of great play for someone of that age range.

Each of the ten spots has a number, animal, and an instrument. There are games so the kid can follow the lead and learn some beats, as well as the possibility of Free Play.

I don’t see this particular item on the Leap Frog site yet, but I found it on the Bed, Bath, and Beyond site for about $29.99.

Leap Frog Leap StartAs for the LeapStart, this is one of two that are sold from the company, and this particular model that you see in the image on the right is the one of Kindergarten and 1st Grade.

This educational toy is made for creative thinking as well as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). It has a set-up like a portable gaming system, but the “cartridges” are these books that can be placed within the Leap Start.

From there, there is this stylus on a wire that can read invisible dots on the pages. This allows for questions, challenges, and all kinds of things to help speed along learning. They are designed to teach school and life skills, with levels of Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and then First Grade.

The Leap Start itself costs $39.99 on the Leap Frog site, with the books costing $12.99 each.

Skechers’ New Interactive Shoe- Game Kicks

Skechers 2Skechers kids’ shoes are known to be very cool- especially the ones that light up.  At CES 2015, Skechers presented their new shoes called Game Kicks.  Many parents of kids probably remember playing the game of Simon.  Did any of us think that someday our kids could be playing the game on their shoes?  Well, now they can!

Skechers sent us a pair of the boys’ Damager-Game Kicks in a size for our youngest son (cue jealousy in the older two kids). The shoes are very sturdy, have great treads on the soles, and are very stylish and cool. My son likes the fact that if he is bored, he can pick his foot up, rest it on his knee and have instant entertainment wherever he goes!

SkechersSkechers also sells these shoes in two different colors for girls- one black/multi-colored, and the other silver/multi-colored. The girls’ style has flowers buttons to push, instead of the blocks that the boys’ style has. The sole of the shoe doesn’t have the cool tread that the boys’ style has, either. Skechers might consider that girls- even the little ones- are not always flowery and might like a more rugged sole, too!

These shoes recently released January 25th, are available on Skechers’ website for $65. They come in kids’ sizes 10.5 to 4. Maybe they’ll come in my size someday so I don’t have to steal my son’s shoes when they are off his feet.

The battery life is said to be about 80 hours of continuous play or 6 months- which is the life of the shoe. The sad part about this is that if these shoes are passed down to some other kid, they might not get to enjoy the interactive feature on the shoe. Good news for parents- the sound can be turned off if you can’t take any more noise in the car!

Kidz Gear Wired Headphones

Kidz Gear

Jayden likes his new headphones!

The kids always enjoy when Mark comes home from CES bearing gifts of product samples and swag from the convention. This year, we had the privilege of receiving a set of headphones for each of our three children from Kidz Gear.

Kidz Gear headphones are designed with kids in mind. The main feature is the KidzControl volume limit that maintains a safe limit of volume of up to 80% of maximum volume. There is a built-in volume knob to control the range of volume(within the safety limit). It puts a parent’s mind at ease that young eardrums are being protected.

These headphones are offered in a variety of colors, and at a great price of $19.99. They are very good quality and comfortable- even for this grown-up who sometimes steals her kids’ headphones on occasion.

Kidz Gear1There are also these headphones with the built in boom-microphone for $29.99. My daughter got a pair of these, and they are good for her on-line school since she needs to use a microphone to communicate in the virtual classrooms. The microphone can be moved out of the way when not in use.

Go check out these products at http://www.gearforkidz.com. You can get a free carry bag with the purchase of the headphones, and a free splitter when you order two- which can come in handy when you have more than one kid wanting to listen to something on the computer at the same time, and you want the peace and quiet.

The D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera (DCS-825L)

D-Link DCS-825LI haven’t been a new parent for over 10 years, but I believe that it practically a requirement to have a baby monitor with video now. The D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera is certainly all that, and more.

I’ve reviewed D-Link products before, and they are the ones that you want when you have anything Internet related. I had a chance to try out their AC-1750 Router, twice. The D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera, or DCS-825L, is able to connect to your Wi-Fi Internet connection, and then connect to your mobile phone with the free mydlink mobile app. This way, you can use the Baby Camera on the go. By the way, I am talking about when you might need to take your baby monitor on the road with you, not a situation where you are watching your baby from a far away location. D-Link and I don’t recommend the later. But one of the great features of the DCS-825L is an optional use of a battery pack (not included), so you don’t need a power cord.

Other features of the DCS-825L including motion detection, sound detection, and even temperature detection. Normally, you just get one of these and not the other, but this has push alerts and you can use the monitor even if the smartphone is locked. Another helpful feature is the night vision, which is a usually feature on baby monitors, and this one is good for 16 feet.

Another unusual feature is that this can do lullabyes, and it comes with 5 pre-programmed. There is also a two-way radio so you can communicate with the baby, assuming that doesn’t freak him or her out. Did I mention that there is a 4X pinch to zoom feature from the mobile app? Oh, it’s there.

As far as I am concerned, this D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera is the perfect gift for a couple who are about to have a baby. You should be able to get it on Amazon for about $179.99, and find out more information about it here.

Playworld Systems gives tech to the playground

Playworld ZZXX0995_PIC_A_web12If you go to any playground, whether it be in the back of a schoolyard, or public park, there is something missing. This would be technology. It really is hard to believe that swings and slides haven’t really changed all that much since I was a kid, or when my parents were kids.

This could change thanks to the NEOS 360 from Playworld. This particular piece of playground equipment is made for the electronic age. It features games where kids can run around and touch spots, encouraging play and exercise.

I saw this demonstrated at CES 2014, and I was pretty impressed. Even the adults liked running around and hitting electronic targets. In addition to this fun, Playworld has recently launched a service using “Microsoft Tag to provide 24/7 mobile access to useful information for both maintenance professionals and anyone using the equipment”.

Something tells me that we might be seeing Playworld equipment everywhere. The company has the regular type of playground equipment, sans tech, but will there be a day when every piece of playground equipment will be connected?

If you are interested in the present and/or future of Playworld, check out their site here.

Mega Man-Pram is the most masculine stroller there ever was

manliest-baby-strollerAs someone who once had to push his progeny with a stroller, I know how non-masculine it looks. This Mega Man-Pram is designed to really be the most masculine stroller that I know of.

This Mega Man-Pram is about 6.5 feet tall, and it comes with hydraulic suspension, 20-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, rear-view mirrors, an anti-stress push-bar grip, high-spec brakes, a high-beam headlight, and brake lights.

The Mega Man-Pram was created by Skoda, and the company apparently surveyed 1,000 British dads to find out what men want when it comes to strollers. Apparently, this is what 76 percent of the fathers wanted to see, and that 33 percent of the dads found to push a stroller to be “embarrassing”. Heck, 25 percent refuse to push the stroller at all, and I wonder how many of these dads would change a diaper?

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