Educational Tech For Tots Grows Up With LeapFrog’s Summer Releases

Two years after LeapFrog launched its first kid-friendly learning tablet, the educational toy company in August will release the third iteration of the LeapPad: LeapPad Ultra. Hold on to your tiny plastic seats, kids. This one has Wi-Fi.

Yes, things are bigger and better than last summer’s LeapPad2: 8GB of memory instead of 4, a 7″ high res screen rather than a measly 5″, a “Pet Chat” app that enables kids to chat between tablets with pre-programmed phrases, and access to web pages and images approved by LeapFrog.

It is sweet to be a six-year-old in 2013.

LeapFrog prides itself on mixing fun with education. My theory is that the LeapPad Ultra is mixing education with gadget one-upmanship for the preschool set. Just kidding. This is all about fun!

There is also a price bump, from $99 to $149.99.

LeapFrog is also parlaying the success of its popular Tag Reading System into the July release of its new LeapReader, a pen tricked out with touch technology to help kids sound out words, practice writing letters, and play games. At $49.99, the LeapReader puts Tag to shame with its library of 150 books and audio storage for 40 books — or 175 songs. Good news for Kidz Bop!

And finally for the littlest of LeapFroggers (ages 2-5): purple and green plushie dogs named Violet and Scout that read books to their wee friends. The point is to encourage active reading, by asking kids questions along the way. You can deactivate the pups’ voice boxes at bedtime, because they’re meant to transition from learning friends to stuffed animal friends, aka formative childhood memories of LeapFrog products.

But this is education, so it’s all good.