Product Review of LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Jake and the Never Land Pirates
LeapFrog Explorer Learning Game: Jake and the Never Land Pirates is a math-focused game for preschool and kindergarten-aged kids. It has four mini-games, plus several screens of interactive elements to explore. Kids can go on a treasure hunt, following clues to the buried treasure. They pop bubbles by searching for bubbles with certain characteristics, like the largest bubble, the bubble with the smallest number, etc. Kids navigate a lava river by stepping on stones that match a certain rule, such as having a triangle on them, or being a number rather than a letter. Last, they can help repair Bucky by matching the shapes to the correct spot. There are a lot of opportunities for kids to count the treasure piece by piece, and an activity that asks them to trace a shape or a number. Kids can earn coins that they can use to buy Micro Mods or add-ons. They also earn virtual prizes in the treasure hunt that they can collect in their treasure room.
This is a great tool for a learning station or quiet play time/indoor recess, especially for kids who are missing some foundational skills around numbers and shapes. Try bringing the activities into the classroom. You could simulate the lava river by creating laminated “rocks” and writing letters or numbers on them. Lay them out so kids can follow a path through the rocks without touching the ground (“lava”). Ask the kids to make up their own lava rivers on a piece of paper to swap with a friend. Celebrate a pirate day and have treasure hunts in class where kids take turns following clues to an end surprise.
For young kids who are already fans of the TV series, this is a truly engaging title. But even those who haven’t seen the show will enjoy the chance to explore and interact with these cute characters based on their own interests. The activities and skills are age-appropriate, and the games are a fun way to help reinforce numbers and shapes. Characters (and the narrator) are helpful and supportive if kids struggle or make a mistake. And once they master a skill, the game will increase the level. All the games start at a difficulty level suggested by the age in the device profile and level up as kids show success in an area. Keep this in mind when several children are sharing one profile on a device or using the Guest account.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Kids will enjoy exploring all the interactive spots, playing games with their favorite characters, and going on treasure hunts. The automatic adaptive tech keeps things challenging.
Curriculum and Instruction
As kids play, skills get increasingly difficult, but there’s always clear feedback about right and wrong answers. The ability to freely explore the game space is great for this age group.
Parents can use the LeapFrog Connect software to upload information on their child’s progress through the game, including skills attempted/mastered. LeapFrog also has a collection of online resources for reinforcing skills.