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We’ve been working with LeapFrog for a few months now as part of our Play Panel role, and are constantly impressed with their range of electronic learning toys. The boys all love the LeapPad tablet, and the LeapStart 3D they had at the end of last year. I’m really impressed because not only are they educational, but they are good quality and robust toys.
This time, we were sent a Mr Pencil’s Alphabet Backpack (RRP £33), and it has been a real hit with Benjamin. He has just started to form letters and write basic CVC words, so it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The backpack – which can actually be worn on the back – opens up like a book. It was a little bit tough at first for Ben to open by himself, but once it had loosened up a bit, he could manage. On the left-hand side of the toy are lower case letters, that can be taken out of their slots, and on the right-hand side is a magnetic drawing board with a pencil ( attached with a short cord). There are various activity buttons, and along the magnetic board are the printed letters of the alphabet.
Ben loved taking the letters out of the slot and practising writing them on the magnetic board. What I really liked is that you can press the pad under the letters and it said not only the name of the letter but the phonetic sound it makes as well. So often, electronic learning toys focus on the letter name, when children start off with the phonetic sound, which can be a little confusing for them. There are seven different games/activities, although Ben generally prefers practising his writing on the magnetic board and identifying the letters.
As with all of the products we have tried so far, we were very impressed with the LeapFrog Mr Pencil’s Alphabet Backpack. My only worry is that eventually, some of the plastic letters will disappear, as they’re really quite tricky for little fingers to get them back into the slots. However, seeing it help Ben practise his letters and sounds and encourage him to develop a love of writing while having fun is great, and I would definitely recommend it for preschoolers.
You can purchase the LeapFrog Mr Pencil’s Alphabet Backpack from Amazon for around £33.
*We were sent this product free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and thoughts are our own and have not been influenced in any way.