Last year, as a testing family for Today’s Parent magazine, we had a chance to review the original Tag reading system by Leapfrog (for 4 to 8 year olds). My oldest two loved it. So when I heard that Leapfrog had brought out a version for the toddler/preschool group (age 2 to 4) I was eager to give it a try with my youngest.
Leapfrog‘s Canadian public relations agency very generously sent us a Tag Junior along with two additional books to review. And the timing was perfect, arriving just before school started. My daughter was so excited when she saw the box. Most things we’ve reviewed have been for her brother and sister; this was just for her and she made everyone aware of that. Now my daughter had a fun learning tool to use while her siblings were at school.
Easy to use
After a little struggle with the batteries, the Tag Junior was ready for use. And since it comes with a book already loaded, If I Were…, my youngest was able to sit and use the Tag Junior right away. And she did. I was expecting to have to demonstrate how to use the reader to my daughter, but she discovered how to use it all on her own. There are only two buttons on Junior (what we started calling the Tag Junior), volume high/low and on/off. It didn’t take my daughter long to figure it out.
Encourages interactivity and exploration
My daughter loved all three books, If I Were…, The Backyardigans Opposites, and Dr. Suess’s Mr Brown can Moo! Can you?, but her favourite was Mr Brown. We own this book, but the interactivity of the Tag Junior adds a whole new level of fun and learning to the book. My daughter loved mimicking the sounds and answering the questions. Using the Tag Junior, we could listen to the story, but the books are designed to do so much more; each area of the page offer some interactivity either in the form of a song, question, or just hearing the characters talk. And there were multiple responses making each time with a book a new and exciting experience.
But don’t just take my word for it, take a peek at my daughter using the Tag Junior:
The books are sturdy board books that can also be enjoyed without the Tag Junior reading system. I love that my daughter can use this on her own. It’s not uncommon to hear my daughter laughing and talking and singing along to one of the books all on her own in the living room. I love the independence the Tag Junior has given her. And when my daughter is old enough to transition to the older Tag reading system, the Tag Junior books she enjoys now can also be enjoyed with the Tag pen.
Leapfrog’s Learning Path: discover what your child is learning
A new feature Leapfrog has been incorporating into some of it’s newer toys, is the ability to connect to an online version of the Leapfrog Learning Path. The Tag Junior is one of these toys. By connecting the Tag Junior to my computer with the provided USB cable, I’m able to see what books and sections my daughter enjoys most; it even tells me what questions and activities she’s done. I’ll also get an idea what skills my daughter is working on along the Learning Path designed for her age group. Connecting regularly allows me to see how she’s improving or changing, plus I’m able to unlock some printables related to the book she’s using.
Connecting the Tag Junior to your computer also enables you to download the audio for additional books you purchase as well as personalize the Tag Junior with your child’s name. I was surprised to find my daughter’s name in their database and downloaded it onto the Tag Junior. The next time my daughter turned Junior on to use it, it greeted her with her name. She thought this was great. She actually spent five minutes turning Junior on and off just to here it say Hi and Bye to her. If your child’s name isn’t in the database or you plan to use the reader with more than one child, they do have a list of generic nicknames like Princess and Champ that could be used instead.
A great interactive learning tool for instilling a love of books with young kids
We’re big fans of interactive learning in our house and Leapfrog has developed a number of products we enjoy. The Tag Junior is another great addition. It’s easy for my young daughter to learn and use on her own, which is important for continued use. It’s a fun way to promote the love of books and independent learning. The personalization and online updates are an added benefit too.
Age: 2 to 4
MSRP ($Cdn): $39.99, includes reader, USB connection cable and one pre-loaded book
Additional Books ($Cdn): $9.97