LeapTV 2It’s nothing new that little ones want to mimic what their parents, older siblings, etc. are doing. This is a strong trend in kids’ tech, with the introduction of kid-friendly Android tablets that look just like Mom and Dad’s, pretend play smartphones with working buttons, and activity bands and smart watches redesigned to suite the needs of young kids. However, only a fraction of a percent of the video games out there on the market is designed with kids under age 6 in mind.

Enter LeapTV, the new active video gaming system from LeapFrog, that is designed for kids ages 3 to 8. LeapTV combines activity and movement with games that contain aspects of the LeapFrog educator-approved curriculum. The interface of the game is simple and intuitive, perfect for younger kids who tend to get impatient when something is hard or slow. They simply scroll through a carousel of games, and as they hover over each one, the name of the game is read allowed. They are only able to see three games at a time, so the choices seem less overwhelming, and it’s easy to find exactly what they are looking for.

LeapTVThe Controller

The really unique part of LeapTV is the controller—which gives kids three different ways to play.

Classic Control: This mode features the control in traditional video game mode, with two handles, multiple buttons, and a joystick. The A and B buttons are used for fast-faced gaming, or kids can tilt and shake the control for sledding games or racing games. This mode will remind kids of the classic Xbox, GameCube, etc., controllers that they’ve seen older siblings use.

Pointer Play: With the simple push of a button, the classic controller quickly transforms into a pointer. This pointer play is reminiscent of using a Wii controller. It allows kids to take pretend play to a new level, letting them snap jungle vines, slice through coconuts, swing from buildings, and more.

Body Motion: My favorite mode of the three is Body Motion. By using the included motion-sensing camera, kids can jump right into the game. The best part is that they’ll see themselves on the screen inside the games, as opposed to an avatar that they control. It makes the game a little easier for kids; they don’t have to spend time figuring out the cause-and-effect process of an avatar, but can instead immediately know which arm to move since they see themselves. In this mode, they can explore activities such as dancing and martial arts. The karate game is super fun, allowing you to get your whole body involved. They can kick, punch, or even use their head as they try to break the boards with a specific shape. (And trust me, it’s quite the workout!)

The Games

The games, as per usual with LeapFrog products, allow kids to have fun while teaching core skills across reading, mathematics, science, and problem solving. The console gives kids a way to play age-appropriate games in a way that is easy and fun for kids. With a Learning Library with more than 100 game cartridges, game downloads, and videos all designed and approved by LeapFrog’s experts, LeapTV can set parents’ minds to ease a bit when it comes to young ones playing video games.

The games also feature licensed characters, so that kids’ favorite friends from their entertainment worlds can play along, including Sofia the First, whose game asks players to help her prepare for a party by completely different tasks via mini games. The games feature audio prompts that help kids navigate through them as well as provide curricular tutorials, so no subject seems too daunting.

Overall, if you’re a little wary about letting your young ones play video games, turn to LeapTV. It give parents the educational and play values they’re looking for in a product, while giving kids the chance to play games designed just for them and satisfy their desire to be like the big kids.

You can see a quick demo of the controller from LeapFrog at The Big Toy Book‘s Sweet Suite event this summer below: