Thursday, March 10, 2011

Taking the Leap(ster)

We've been going back and forth about getting the boys hand held gaming systems.  When I was a kid, I was always jealous of the kids who had Gameboys.  But, I always told myself I would never buy them for my kids.  

Such a time waster.  
 And anyway we wouldn't have time for such nonsense what with all the talking and instrument practicing and board game playing and poetry memorizing we'd be doing.  HA! 

But, that was then and now it seems everyone we know, including the adults has a Gameboy-esque device.  And the games these days are much more educational than Donkey Kong and Gyromite.  

Plus, let's be honest, they are great for long trips, you know, like the kind we're ALWAYS taking.  This summer, in fact, we've got two BIG trips planned, one by car and one by plane.  I suspect those hours and hours strapped into car seats will be much more pleasant for everyone with electronic diversions along for the ride.  

But, even with all that in mind, I'm still worried about them becoming addicted.  I mentioned my dilemma to a friend and she offered to lend me her much older boys' Leapsters, just to see if my boys might be interested.  

I think "interested" might be putting it mildly.

  So, friends, what do you think?  
Should we take the Leap(ster)?  Have you?


Kate said...

It's a slippery slope! My kids had Leapsters, then moved on to Nintendo DSi, and now onto Sony PSP. The rules are, they can only play them when we are in a waiting room or on a trip lasting more than one hour. If you are going to be on a long plane ride, they will be WORTH EVERY STINKING PENNY. We drove from Seattle to Virginia in September with four kids and not a peep (we also had a dvd player). I bought them each a new game, too, which helped. They aren't allowed to use them on weekdays, and may use them for an hour on the weekends.

Anne said...

I would recommend not getting Leapsters. We own a Leapster L-Max and about 8 games. Each game is usually around $15. The Leapster is $60-90 I think. They will like it at first, but quickly outgrow it and wish they had some other gaming system that is trendy with their friends, like the DS or something. I think the Leapster is best for the 4-6 age range, but gets boring fast.

That said, if you want/need something, even to use as a last resort, I love love love the iTouch. Yes it is expensive, and easily broken if dropped or washed. Get the Apple Care protection plan, and dunk it in dry rice for 2-3 days if it gets wet. Buy some heavy duty cases, and screen protectors ( is a good source).

The games are all free or $1-5 each, and you can fit at least 100 different choices on before you run out of space. They can also watch movies or listen to music, and when they are not using them, YOU might enjoy the distraction too. We have LOVED the quality and educational level of the apps we find.

And get some good kid headphones if you haven't yet. We like the KidzGear headphones on Amazon.

We have a CRAZY road trip this summer too (from San Francisco to Virginia), and feel zero guilt planning electronic entertainment as part of our sanity-saving strategy. Good luck!

Jen said...

I was anti-hand held games until Kelsey's eye doctor prescribed (yes, you read that correctly) one for her. We bought a Nintendo DS and it really helped her vision (lazy eye issues, among other things). The added bonus? Trips overseas and back were a lot easier!

It also came in handy when we drove from San Francisco to VA last did a DVD player (though we didn't pull it out too often...), but helped keep Peter awake for night driving.

Shannon said...

The leapster saved my sanity on the move to Jakarta, 48 hours travel time with 3 small boys, blech! The kids will outgrow the games pretty quickly and the system could be sturdier but it you are making a long move it may just be worth it.

One hint is buy and assortment of games (don't tell the kids) and only give them one or two to start with then when the fun of those wears out trade out. And save it for only the trip or they will be "over" the fun of it just when you really need them to be quiet for a little while.

Short 'n' Feisty said...

Hello! I love reading your blog, I'm an FSO hopeful and it's great for research on what life would be like for a future family.

Like someone else commented, the Leapster is great for toddlers and pre-schoolers. My nephew got one when he was 5 and LOVED it. But the graphics don't compare to the DS. I know, I know, what do little children know about graphics? Well, my now 7 year old nephew puts it this way "The picture is much cooler looking and brighter than the leapster. Plus Leapster games are baby games." My 3 year old niece inherited his Leapster and loves it.

Plus, DS games grow with the kids. They, too, have educational games for all ages and a much wider variety. It does cost more than the Leapster (the true downside). The BIG plus side is: if you ever get a moment of peace and quiet, you can buy adult level games, swipe the console from your sleeping kiddos and play to your hearts content!

The Songer said...

We went the whole ipad/ iphone / itouch route, and they have kept us all very sane on long trips.. apps are free and cheap... there are thousands of games and my three yr old at the age of 1 could use them on her own. and the battery life isnt too bad.. you can charge them in the car, and you can use majority of the apps off line..... and big plus... you can use it as a kindle too and download books for them! they are getting more and more affordable.. and the screen cracked on our iphone and it only cost 10 bucks to fix it! and best of all i enjoy them too.

Becky said...

I agree that they outgrow the Leapsters pretty quickly but, for us, they were worth it in the meantime. They have been dropped like crazy and still work fine. We bought our kids' used Leapsters so they have been well worth it on trips. Between leapsters/leapads and the DVD player, the kids have done awesome on our long road trips. We only use them on trips or things like that. Buying used games saved us a bundle as well. You have to be careful of course buying anything like that used but it's an option.

Our son is 8 and has outgrown his leapster. We'll probably go the ipod/ipad route next for him. The cheap apps are nice and he loves reading downloaded books on our laptop. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Unknown said...

Hello Sweet Lady! First, Patrizia Palma is me, Pattie Kressin. It is my Italian name! I've tried to change it back, but I seem stuck with it. It's pretty though, your grandmother Betty would have liked it. I am so glad your family is safe. Do you live in Kona? Where abouts? Dave & I have been to the big island, Kona Village, pricey, but really fun with married kids and babies! About the electronic devices, I am on the second generation, some of my sons, now 5 & 8 yr old grandsons. The most important thing Marta is to set the rules and the limits, they can get out of control very quickly because they are good baby-
sitters and keep them occupied for hours if you let them. Be very very careful which games you get ( leapster is harmless ) but as they get a bit older they will beg you and even earn their own money to buy the xbox, playstation, etc. I've seen fists through walls over getting mad about a game, plus now they can go online and play with people all over the world hooking it up to the TV. These comments I am making are for way down the road, as they are still precious innocent ones. Any questions, I'm happy to answer. By the way, the fist through the wall was Sam, when he was about ten years old. I didn't have to say a
word, he decided right there and then he was giving his nintendo away because he didn't want anything to get control of him like that. He has never really played them since, and hasn't owned one since. He is now 34 years old! Take good care, and I am so happy I found you again. Sending warm hugs and kisses, pattie kressin


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