The LeapFrog Leapster Camera and Video Recorder retails for under $20, but before you get too excited you must remember that it is an attachment for the Leapster Explorer, which is available to buy separately. So this is really aimed at those whose kids already have a Leapster Explorer.
By attaching the LeapFrog Camera to the Leapster Explorer, it turns into a handheld kids digital camera and video recorder, with in-built storage for up to 1000 images. In addition, it comes with 8 activities to encourage creativity and develop skills. Kids can use letters, numbers and shapes to express themselves through their photography. The creative possibilities are endless with this attachment, such as deciphering picture puzzles, building a narrative with a series of images and filming footage to make music videos.
The manufacturer recommends this attachment for kids in the 4 – 9 year age group. According to testers, this is about right. It seems that kids of 4 could easily work out how to take pictures with this machine, however they may not take full advantage of the more advanced features.
The Leapster Camera in more detail
When the name LeapFrog is attached to a product, you can be sure that it will offer that little bit more than a lot of its competition, particularly in terms of educational value. Your little one is unlikely to get bored with this interactive toy, which should be a good long term investment, as he can explore more complex features as he gets older.
Assuming you already have (or are planning to buy) a Leapster Explorer, it is not simply a case of taking the attachment out of the box and connecting it. You need to unscrew the bottom section with a screwdriver and fit the attachment to the main Leapster machine. Next, you need to attach the main component to your computer and download the free software from the Leapster website. Once this is done, you can get started!
What about the camera itself? There is no flash or zoom, so it’s fairly basic but a decent tool for getting your youngsters used to taking their own photographs. If the lighting is bright, you can expect a reasonable amount of sharp, clear images with strong colours. As well as still images, there is a video option. The microphone can be found on the front of the camera, meaning the sound can be a little faint if the photographer (rather than the subject) provides the commentary. The video tends to turn out a little choppy, but as far as a kids video camera goes, it isn’t bad at all!
Clearly, adult assistance (or supervision, if the kids are older) is essential during the initial installation stage, but after this is done your kids should be good to go all on their own! Younger kids may need a bit of help until they get used to the touchscreen tapping that is essential to get them to the point where they can start snapping, but a couple of practice runs is all they should need.
In terms of durability, the LeapFrog Leapster Camera and Video Recorder is pretty solid and should be more than strong enough to survive all the possible falls and collisions that can be expected when young children are in charge.