[REVIEW] See the LeapPad 3 in Action in Turks and Caicos

This is a sponsored post. We were given two LeapPad3s and other compensation. All opinions are our own.

I never tell my kids where they are going.  It isn’t that we are just that adventurous, but I am terribly allergic to nagging, so I avoid it as much as I can.  The wonderful folks at LeapFrog and Beaches Resorts sent us two LeapPad3s for an upcoming trip to the Social Media in the Sand Conference in Turks and Caicos.  The kids had no idea they were going, so I got to pack whatever I wanted – and to leave out whatever I wanted.

I purposely packed no mp3 players, no DVD players, no toys, no books, no digital cameras (not the kids’ cameras anyway), no game systems… nothing.  I snuck their suitcases out of their rooms, packed only what would fit in them, and put them in the trunk of the car while they slept.  On top of the suitcases I set two gift wrapped boxes with notes for each of the kids from LeapFrog and Beaches Resorts.

To see the surprise, check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezkwbO__GBI

I am allergic to nagging on planes and in airports especially, so I took quite a risk by leaving all of the kids’ devices at home and trusting that this one would be enough to keep them occupied.  I hadn’t considered how I was going to charge them, if they came with chargers, if they came with games, none of that.  I just went for it.

After the “unboxing” (translated – squealing, ripping off paper, etc.) that took place in the airport parking deck, the kids and the LeapPads were inseparable. Going through security, they felt really grown up when they put them in bins to be scanned just like we did with our laptops and tablets. They charged them up at the gate after we went through security using the built in rechargeable battery and the AC adapter that came with it.  After Dad created his LeapFrog account, and set up their Wi-Fi and parental controls, they immediately started taking selfies to use for their “profile pictures.”

Watch the review here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFlpgJetba0

Once on the plane and settled in, the LeapPad3s came out.  Luckily, they come with several built in games, so the kids stayed occupied from takeoff to landing.  I caught my middle child, who hates multiplication, doing math drills in between selfies “Enhanced” using Photo Fun.  For hours, they were adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and reading, all while bobbing their heads to music, making videos, taking selfies, and taking care of their virtual pets. I never asked them if they needed help, and they never asked for it.  They were able to figure out how to use everything on their own.

Other than the occasional “look what this can do” or “look at what I made,” the kids left us grownups, their brother included, alone. The sponsors were kind enough to send my 15 year old a great book to read on the flight. We didn’t connect to the Wi-Fi on the plane to download games because the kids seemed perfectly content with what they had.

See their adventures with the LeapPad3 on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/socamom

At the resort, the kids took pictures of everything, and were very pleased with the quality.  No one missed a single device.  I didn’t hear, “I wish I had my [insert something I didn’t pack here]” one single time. I had my phone, iPad, laptop, and DSLR – I mean, this was a blogging trip, so I couldn’t go without my gear, but I didn’t have to worry about one of the kids inadvertently erasing something important, dropping my phone in the sand, or accidentally floating my iPad in the pool, or worse yet, the ocean.  They had their own stuff. Perfect.

The LeapPad3 has a front and back camera and a microphone, so they could take photos and videos of themselves and of all of the great things they were interested in at the resort like lizards, flowers, and the new friends they made.  I know they took a ton of pictures, but in 4 days of clicking, we never had to download any because they ran out of storage.  Each has 4GB of storage, so they are good.  They came with a USB cord as well so that they could download the pics if they needed to.

Of course the kids were quite sad to leave Beaches in Turks and Caicos where it was sunny and warm and they could have all of the food, ice cream, soda, and sundaes they wanted without having to ask for pocket money from us, to return home to America where it is a little chilly and overcast, and nothing is included.  However, they did have great photos and videos stored on their LeapPad3s so that they could scroll through and reminisce at their leisure.

The LeapPad3 is about $70, and has a very durable plastic case.  My son made his own anyway. Just because.

It is compatible with games from older LeapPad systems as well.  It has an online search feature, comes with apps, and there are also more apps and games available for download online at reasonable prices.

You can also upgrade to the new platinum version for just over $100.

For more information, visit www.LeapFrog.com, follow LeapFrog on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out the hashtag #LeapFrog3.