Mellow Mummy: Leapfrog Read With Me Scout & Violet Review : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday 1 August 2013

Leapfrog Read With Me Scout & Violet Review

Holly and Lara are both massive Scout and Violet fans, having been brought up with them around the house since more or less day one!  Read With Me Violet from Leapfrog is the latest new arrival and she is suitable for both Holly and Lara because she has a good age range of appeal.

Read With Me Violet (and her friend Read With Me Scout) are really interactive toys with 5 different interactive spots (not just buttons) on their body.  Press one paw to hear songs (very catchy tunes that I keep hearing Mr. B. hum at work!!!) and press the other paw for more fun interactions.  Pat her and pet her to hear how she feels.

But Read With Me Violet isn't all about the cuddles and kisses - this toy is primarily a fun reading toy to help get your preschoolers enthusiastic about reading which learning along the way.  I quite often feel that preschool learning toys are more fun than educational; I totally agree with this balance but usually I think that toys aimed at learning sometimes miss the mark.  However, I really think that Read With Me Violet has got the balance right.

Violet comes with 5 board books.  Choose a colour or number from her collar to represent the book and then she will describe which book you need to find.  Once you've found the right book you have to pat her on the head to continue... then she will read the story with you.

On each page of the books, the dog will ask your child a comprehension question about what they have just heard or seen.  To me, this is the most valuable feature of the toy - the questions are varied and they do require your child to actually stop and think about the books they are reading with their fluffy friend.  It encourages listening, reasoning and engagement.  Once you've started the conversation with Violet or Scout, you can ask them other questions of your own.

I think the books are fab.  They are only four or 5 pages long but they all have key learning messages which introduce first numbers, words, sounds and learning concepts to my toddler while really engaging and pushing my preschooler.  Demonstrable learning techniques such as rhyme and repetition are used very effectively and both of my girls will sit patiently and listen while Violet reads to them.

I was overwhelmed when I first started to watch my two girls play with Leapfrog's Read With Me Violet to see how well they interacted with her.  We already own My Pal Violet and I was expecting this toy to be something similar but actually, I think Read With Me Violet is in a whole different class.  Holly listens and responds.  She is 15 months old and yet, when Violet asks her to pat her head, or her back, Holly will do so obediently!  Holly absolutely loves to pet her dog because Violet responds... she laughs and giggles and tells Holly how much she is enjoying it.  This level of interaction really works to make them relax and enjoy their reading experience.

My two girls both read stories with me regularly and reading is integral to our day and to the time we spend together as a family.  But I've learned recently that this isn't true for all families and that many people seek ways in which to try and encourage their child to try and engage with a book and to me, Read With Me Scout and Read With Me Violet are great ways to start a child's reading journey with Leapfrog.

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