So it’s Hannukah (ok, ok, it doesn’t start until tomorrow, so we had our other side of the family party early too, so sue me again!) And I finally gave my kids their Leapfrog stuff. A Didj for my son and a Leapster 2 for my daughter. (I gave away a Didj last week on my site, if you missed your chance, well, you really should be reading me more often.)
A little background here: my son has been HOUNDING me for months about getting a Nintendo DS. Let me see – do I want my kid to have a tune-out-the world, get carpal tunnel while I learn nothing but how to shoot things toy? (That being said – do I want a Nintendo personal trainer, a Nintendo Chef, and a version of Guitar Hero for the DS…um, that would be yes.)
That would be no.
But then I learned about the Didj at a blogger party and thought this might be it! This might just be the way out of this!! A handheld electronic game that will actually teach him something! If I weren’t Jewish, angels would have sung. So maybe it was the guys at the Deli counter – a rousing chorus of “Hallelujah” to the tune of “Hannukah O Hannukah” (did you ever notice, by the way, that there are about 972 songs about Christmas and exactly TWO about Hannukah: the above mentioned “Hannukah oh Hannukah,” and the ever-popular “I had a little dreidel?” Just a question. now back to our LF story…)
So anyway, I got the Didj (full disclosure, it was a blogger freebie. Thank you Leapfrog) and held on to it until today, when my son opened it and practically screamed with joy before saying “What is it?” (He recognized that it was some kind of handheld,but didn’t know which one.)
And here’s where I got a little worried. Would he be disappointed by the “educational” aspect of the toy? Would it be like how I felt when I was a kid and I asked my mother for dessert – thinking Yodel, or Ring Ding, or even vanilla ice cream, and she said “Would you like an apple?” I wasn’t quite sure how the Didj would go over… fairytale “frog turns into a prince” ending or just a frog?
After one unsuccessful download (his “I’m applying to college for computer science” cousin messed it up), and one successful one (not to brag – but that was MY attempt) the games began.
My son quickly caught on to the fact that the Didj was educational. But instead of finding it annoying, he found it gratifying. “Mom, I beat the first level AND I did times.” Hey – he’s got the math skills, not the vocabulary. Times, multiplication, whatever. He’s doing it and liking it.
And that’s it in a nutshell….he’s learning Math and having fun doing it. What could be better?
As for my daughter, she spent the better part of the morning announcing to everyone in the family that she hated math. I have no idea why she was talking about math — vacation has begun, after all. (It’s the NYC Private School dictum: the more you pay the less you go.)
Then she got her Leapster2 with a Math Missions game and spent the better part of the afternoon doing math and loving it.
Leapfrog: I’d give you a big kiss, but I’m afraid it would turn you into a prince, and I like you just the way you are. Two kids who are having fun doing math? That’s enough of a fairy tale ending for me.