LeapFrog has a lot of wonderful products that let kids learn while they're having fun. One of their newest products is the Zippity High-Energy Learning System.
This is a video game system that connects to your television and lets kids play learning games by jumping around on the mat and moving the "bopper" controller.
It's a cute game and I like the idea behind it—that the kids stand up and actively play a video game instead of sitting on a couch exercising their thumbs.
The game system comes with eight included games featuring Mickey Mouse characters, Tigger and Pooh, Handy Manny, and the Little Einsteins. Additionally, there are more games available for purchase.
While I do think the Zippity is a fun idea, I have to admit that it didn't work in my household. My kids have a Wii, which I believe to be the best example of an active video game* currently out there. Not to mention that if your child has already been exposed to something such as an Xbox or a PlayStation, the Zippity might be too basic for him or her.
With this is mind, I decided to pass my Zippity along to a friend of mine who has a two-year-old and an almost five-year-old. It definitely fared better at her house. Her two-year-old wasn't able to follow the directions yet, but her older child enjoyed playing the game. I do not believe that they have any other gaming systems, so this was her son's first exposure.
She tells me that he liked it and that the Level Two questions were very appropriate for his age level, asking things such as which object begins with a certain letter and having him count objects. (Each game has one or two levels that the child can choose, based on their abilities.)
She did say that her son did get a little bored after a while and that the game might be better targeted to the 3-4 year old age range. She mentioned that at almost five her son was probably on the very upper edge of kids who might enjoy the game. Also, she wished that the system had come with more games installed to keep her son interested. (Additional games retail for $24.99)
I'm a little torn about this. On one hand, this is a very cute, age-appropriate learning game. But I feel like the Wii has done it better. A very casual search for Wii learning games came up with a few, such as Jumpstart Pet Rescue (which we have, and my kids love), but I can't think of any active learning Wii games. I think the Zippity is unique there.
The Zippity sells for $79.99, which is substantially less expensive than the Wii, so it may be a good option if you're looking for a gaming system solely for young children and you're comfortable with them outgrowing it within a couple of years. Plus, if you want to keep them moving and learning at the same time, this might be your best option.
Honesty Clause: LeapFrog sent the Zippity Learning System to me at no charge. I have since given it to my friend to keep.
* I am a "Nintendo Brand Enthusiast." My family did, however, purchase our Wii—and fall in love with it—prior to my becoming an enthusiast.