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My daughter received a lot of toys for her birthday, this Leapfrog Learn & Groove Animal Sounds Guitar was one of them. Leapfrog is a very well known brand of quality children's toy so I was looking forward to my daughter playing with it.
*What is it?*
The guitar is recommended for children aged between 1 and 3, in my opinion it is quite heavy and my daughter struggled to lift it up. It is very pleasing to the eye, made of brightly coloured plastic in unisex colours. The main part of the guitar is orange and red, whilst the neck is yellow and blue. There is a dial on the guitar which contains five different pictures of animals and numbers, the amount of animals on each picture are determined by the number. Most of the cover of this dial is frosted, but there is one section that is clear which allows us to see what picture is showing. There is a blue lever below the dial which makes the dial spin, and there is also a green button on the neck.
*What does it do?*
There are 3 different modes of play, the main body of the guitar contains the slide which changes the mode. These modes are numbers, animals and music. Whilst the numbers mode is selected, once the dial has been spun there is a small tune and then it counts up to the number that is stated on the picture showing.
The noises that each animal make can be heard along with a musical tune when the dial is spun in animal mode. The number of animal sounds we can hear is dependant on the number that is also on the picture, for example the ducks will sound 'quack, quack, quack, quack, quack.
The musical mode simply plays an Old McDonald song.
There is also a switch on the guitar that can change the language from English to French, we don't use this though so can't comment on how well it works. I think my daughter is too young to understand.
My daughter enjoys spinning the dial over and over again so she doesn't get the educational aspect of the toy. There isn't enough time between each spin to grasp the concept of each animal and number. Maybe with time when she has a little more patience we will be able to use the toy as an educational aid. In the mean time she doesn't spend much time playing with the guitar, it's one of the only toys she doesn't play with often. When she does play with it she finds it hard to pick up out of her toy box as it is very heavy for a toy recommended for ages 1-3.
At around £12 I wouldn't have purchased this for a child so young. I'm just hoping in a year or two she will be able to get more use out of this toy.
When friends and relatives asked me for ideas on what to get my son for Christmas last year, I often suggested musical toys as he has enjoyed music and songs from a very early age. (I do slightly regret this now as our house is full of toys which play some very annoying tunes!) Amongst the gifts he received was the Leapfrog Learn 'n' Groove Animal Sounds guitar, which I was pretty sure he'd enjoy playing with as soon as I saw it.
This little guitar is made from very brightly coloured, hard plastic and there is a lot of detail in the design. The neck is yellow, with raised blue frets and blue tuning knobs (these are purely decorative) and at the top of the neck is a large green button, which plays various guitar riffs when pressed. The main body of the guitar is orange, with a red panel on one side in which the on/off switch sits. There are three different modes in the 'on' setting, which you reach by sliding a small green circular button to the left- these modes are counting, animals and music. On the opposite side is a small blue switch with two volume settings (very useful if Mummy or Daddy has a headache!) and a red bilingual switch with an English or French setting. In the middle of the main body is a large wheel divided into five sections, rather like a 'wheel of fortune'. These sections each depict a different type of animal, alongside a number and the corresponding amount of animals.
Four of the sections sit behind slightly frosted plastic, so you can see them but not that clearly. The fifth section sits behind a separate clear window and the guitar will play the relevant animal noise or number depending on which picture appears in this window. To spin the wheel, you need to pull a little lever in the shape of a whammy bar, or as my son prefers, you can just spin the red knob in the middle. The whole of the back is encased in bright blue plastic, with the battery case sitting behind a screw on panel. The guitar takes three AA batteries, which are included. Due to the hard plastic casing of this toy, it is very durable and has withstood the normal amounts of abuse inflicted by an excitable toddler (I have actually just found the quite heavy wooden toy box lying right on top of it and it's without a scratch.)
The on switch is big enough for little fingers to operate, although unlike other similar toys there is no hidden smaller switch which adults can use to turn off the guitar if the tunes really start to grate. Once the guitar is switched on, a female voice sings a song or says a different phrase depending on which mode has been selected. Your child can then intersperse the tunes with riffs from the fret button and various animal noises and numbers by spinning the wheel.
The age range for this toy is suggested from 1-3 years and Elliot received it at 16 months, however safety wise, I would have been happy for him to play with it from the point at which he could sit up unaided. There are no small pieces which could come off, but it would be fairly heavy for younger babies so you'd need to supervise them in case they attempt to clonk themselves on the head with it. In terms of play and learning, I consider this quite a complicated and busy toy for children at the lower end of the age range and Elliot at 18 months tends to play with it more for the musical entertainment it provides.
To get the most out of the educational features of the guitar, you really need to play alongside your child and talk to them about the different numbers and animal sounds, however with this toy, it's not actually very easy to do in practice. Rather than spinning the wheel and sitting patiently whilst I explain to Elliot how many sheep there are in the window and how they go 'baaa', he much prefers to spin the wheel and keep spinning it, with a few riffs thrown in for good measure. This results in a cacophony of guitar sounds, annoying tunes and various random 'woofs' and 'oinks' so that I barely have time to say 'ducks go quack' before the thing is meowing at me. Whilst I'm sure that Elliot will get more from this toy as he gets older, in the meantime I think of it more as something secondary that might help reinforce what he learns from feeding the ducks in the park, or from looking at pictures and story books together. There are also many possibilities for using this toy for role play- we often play in our own little family band with Daddy on guitar, Mummy on trumpet and Elliot on drums (The neighbours must love us!)
I don't really have enough experience to be able to comment in depth on how the guitar fares with children at the older end of the suggested age range, however we've had a few visitors of around 2 and a half and just over 3 recently who both ignored this toy completely, so it may be just a little too young for some children heading for the three year mark.
One final point I'd like to make about the guitar is that some of words to the songs are not very clear at all. I've only recently figured out that one of them is 'I play my guitar, who will sing in my band?' This is rather disappointing for an educational toy, as I would expect all the words to be crystal clear to enable very young children to learn and understand them. Other than that, this toy makes a nice addition to my son's collection of musical 'instruments' and it certainly encourages his musical imagination!
The Leapfrog Learn & Groove Animal Sounds Guitar is available from Leapfrog or Sainburys at £14.99, Tesco currently has them on offer for £11.97.
It's widely accepted that children have their own world. They have their own dreams, logics and interests, different ways of doing things and getting things done as well. There is a big difference in their conception of the world compared to the adults. Childhood is a crucial phase of life. This is the time when simple actions leave a life long impact on their future. It is highly impractical to impose your opinion on children. During this developmental period learning plays an important role. During the period of childhood they indulge in activities which may seem insane to adults.
It's the natural instinct of a child to enjoy themselves by indulging in various sorts of games and pranks. The best way to impart basic education to them is to do it their way, so that it never becomes a burden for the children, its best for them to learn while playing which most kids enjoy. The first thing they learn is to understand birds, animals, flowers and so on. It is always easier and fun for them if education and learning could be imparted to by various permutation and combination of sound and visuals. What could be best if they learn while playing! But this is not easy. Expert training programs have been built to do this most effectively and easily.
Leapfrog has been contributing to this part of child development with a success rate which even the parents enjoy. For instance this particular toy, it's better to say educational toy, has yielded fantastic results, at least, for my cousin sister. She is now around two and half years old. I brought her this Learn and Groove Animal Sounds Guitar device when she was just 11 months old. I realized when she got this toy, she had problems getting accustomed to it only except fondling it with her small hands. But as she grew up it became her play met and started spending lot of time with the toy and questions started to rise in her mind. While providing her with answers nobody realized she was learning to understand and recognize number, animals and the sound an individual animal makes. She started identifying animals with the sort of sound they make. It was wonderful. As she grew up little darling was starting to play the guitar and make beautiful sounds.
It's a simple toy for learning through rhythm, songs with which children can learn by rhyming and sing along with them. It is very attractively designed with attractive color and even more attractive options.
THE BASIC IDEA:
This is chiefly designed to exploit certain natural traits of children
It is widely accepted that children or infants has an uncanny trait of imitating language and this they do by stringing sounds together. They use these sound strings to represent alphabets, numbers in the world and toddlers as they are, children learn to build up their vocabulary and slowly begins to learn the principle of word order.
Toddlers are very keen observers and that's the reason why they are fast learners. From simple observations and later by correlation they understand the basic principle of action and reaction which leads them to delve into the mystery of cause and effect.
More often than not these kids perform action driven by curiosity and their sense of exploration. This curiosity leads them to simple logical reasoning skills by trial and error method by investigating all sorts of possibilities until they stumble on the unexpected solution introducing them to more complex strategies of solving problems. These in turn make them creative.
Music is something to which toddler are easily attracted to and this occupies a very special place in their heart. They can more easily relate to music than speech. Music has amazing qualities. It makes everybody enjoy it. This toy has exploited it to make children associate themselves with their problems. As a direct consequence they develop their language, memory (associating a certain action with a certain piece they like), improve physical conditions and to certain extent learn problem solving skills.
With the development of muscle movements children learn to coordinate and use their thumbs and forefingers to grasp, paint and eventually leading them to learn how to write.
These toddlers begin to start the concept of numbers as early as at 6 months. This toy helps children to develop the sense of numbers helping them to count in progression, skipping counts and counting backwards.
As they row older they learn to enjoy this toy much more exploring more options and possibilities. Animal Sounds Guitar has three functions modes for learning and they can be used in Spanish and English.
1) The Number Mode: In this mode children are introduced to counting by whimsical songs.
2) Animal Mode: Here they can relate animals and the sounds they make
3) Music Play Mode: This is for them as they grow up playing freely along with tunes; they can activate a chorus wacky animal sound.
It measures 14.2inch x 8.9inch x 3.0 inches, weighing 1.6 pounds and easily powered by 3 "AA" batteries which are easily available.
Amount Paid (GBP £): 12.06
Age Range of Child: 12 to 36 Months
Type of Toy: Educational
The Leapfrog Learn and Groove Guitar is by far my little boy's current favourite toy. It was given to him as a gift at Christmas by his Nan and although he was not initially taken by it, as the last few months have passed it has become very beloved to him.
This little guitar is just the right size for a toddler and is suitable for children of 12 months plus. It has a chunky and curvy appearance, though its colours are rather garish and uncoordinated. It is also a little on the heavy side and my son sometimes finds it difficult to grasp.
On the main section of the guitar is a dial. Beneath the deal are five sections, each with a number and a number of animal characters correlating with that number. For instance the number one has one dog and the number five has five ducks. One section of the dial is translucent and the remainder is opaque, therefore only one section at a time is visible whilst the rest are obscured.
At the centre of the dial is a red knob which spins the dial and at the bottom is a blue lever which when depressed also spins the dial. The lever gives a random selection whereas the knob at the centre means that sections can be specifically selected.
To the right hand side of the dial is a circular button which enables the user to select a setting. The first is to switch the toy off, the second is for numbers, third is for animals and fourth is for music.
On the numbers setting the guitar plays a jingle and asks the user to "count it out". We are informed of the number and animal, depending on the section selected after using the knob or lever. For example "Three Pigs". The number is then counted out "1, 2, 3". This encourages the recognition of numbers and animals and teaches the ability to count.
On the animals setting we are played a song and at intervals during the song, the animal selected is stated followed by the sound of the animal. For example "I play my guitar who will be in my band? ..... Dog.... woof, woof, woof!" This is ideal for younger children as it teaches the simple recognition of animals and the sounds that they make.
Finally the music setting plays Old MacDonald. This setting is probably aimed at the youngest of users.
At the bottom, right hand side we have a choice of two volume settings and two language settings, English or French. On the handle there is a large green button which interrupts the current music with a little added jingle.
What impresses me so much about this particular toy is the way that it has encouraged my little boy's speech. His vocabulary has been quite good from a rather early age and now at 16 months he is learning new words by the bucket full. Although he already knew the word "cat", he instantly says it when is selected on the guitar. He will also say "duck" or "quack" when the duck is selected, "gig" when the pig is selected and "shhhh" when the sheep is selected; all new words learned through the use of this toy. He also claps at the end of the jingle when the guitar sounds a round of applause.
Though the jingles are sometimes rather annoying and repetitive, the educational qualities of this toy make it all worthwhile. This is one that I would whole heartedly recommend.
The Leapfrog Learn and Groove Guitar is currently available from Amazon at just £14.65 with free delivery, a great price for such a fun and educational toy.
The Learn & Groove Bilingual Animal Sounds Guitar helps baby learn numbers and counting in both English and French. Spin the wheel or strum the whammy bar to explore numbers and animals. Pressing the fret button activates guitar riffs and sound effects.