Leap Pad vs. iPad

by Natalie

Leappad I remember when we got our first home computer when I was a kid. It made all those clicking and grumbling noises as it booted up, and I thought it was, quite possibly, the coolest thing. Ever. I’m pretty sure if a kid today was given the same machine, he’d think it must have been an artifact from the time of cave men and dinosaurs. Because today, kids have iPads.

It seems, however, that iPad isn’t the only choice when parents decide to purchase a tablet. LeapFrog, a leader in the development of children’s educational toys, has introduced the Leap Pad, which will be available for pre-order in late June.

Sure, the Leap Pad doesn’t give you access to iTunes, or FaceTime, but is that what you want in a “toy” for your child anyways?

The Leap Pad:
Designed solely for use by children, the LeapPad incorporates many of the features of the iPad in a kid-friendly format. Some of the most extensive options include:

-Built-in camera
-Built-in video camera

Sounds like an iPad, right? Well, yes. But, this one comes pre-loaded with apps that mimic some of the best iPad apps. For instance, children can learn to write by tracing letters on the screen, and sound out letters as they read interactive books. Some apps appear to come pre-loaded on the Leap Pad, while others can be downloaded for $7.99, or bought in cartridge form for $24.99.

Another benefit? Durability. LeapFrog knows that kids drop stuff. It’s in the children’s handbook: they must drop at least one food item and one expensive item daily. That said, the Leap Pad is designed for durability.

Safety is also less of a concern, as children are not given access to the internet or an app store with potentially inappropriate content.

The iPad:

While the Leap Pad may be an ideal option for younger children who are seeking the thrills of an iPad, homes with children on the brink of graduating from “kids tech toys” may still find the iPad to be a better investment.

Although the iPad is more fragile, it is also more useful for the entire family. Mom, Dad and the kids can use the iPad for education, watching movies on trips and staying connected with family. The availability of apps is also greatly expanded, as the iPad allows access to the ever-expanding iTunes App Store. With an iPad you can learn, or play air hockey.

The Leap Pad is expected to retail for $99.99.

The iPad starts at $499.00. It’s a major cost difference. However, there’s also a major difference in function and intended purpose.

As a parent, what are your thoughts? Would you rather purchase an iPad for the whole family, and long term use, or try out the Leap Pad for a lesser investment that was developed specifically for kids?