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With family all over the country, our vacations are filled with long drives making fun memories. We try very hard to avoid movies and screen time the entire trip and encourage learning fun, but as technology advances, more and more of the educational toys are essentially little tablets with games. Don’t get me wrong-we love our Leap Frog Epic and Leap Pad Platinum. The games are fun, the boys are engaged and I love that I can implement time limits on their use, but it’s still technically “screen time”.

My husband and I decided that we wanted to seriously limit screen time in our home after seeing our oldest son become more defiant and talking back on a regular basis. We initially took away screen time as a sort of punishment for my son’s behavior but we soon saw that no screen time really made a huge difference and brought back our sweet guy. At that point we limited screen time to more of a reward for helping and caring behaviors and we have seen such a change in our family ever since.

You can imagine our excitement when we got a sneak peek at Leap Frog’s newest learning system that uses books rather than screens to teach! (So RETRO, right?!)Leap Frog Leap Start

The Leap Start system is still technology based but rather than using a screen to teach different lessons, there are interchangeable books that the Leap Start can read and use to teach through games and visuals.

I love that the Leap Start systems are perfect for my boys’ ages-Preschool through 1st grade. There are books for 4 different learning stages and two different systems to choose from.Leap Start Stylus

The Preschool/Pre-Kindergarten version is perfectly sized for little hands, while the Kindergarten/1st Grade version helps to promote proper writing technique with the sleek stylus.Leap Start for Preschool to First GradeThe books are available for each learning stage: Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten & 1st Grade, but each of the Leap Start systems works with all Leap Start books. No worries if your little one grows out of the books for the younger version of the Leap Start…the older books work on it too!Leap Start BooksMy boys have been learning up a storm about space, animals and letters lately and I’m excited that it doesn’t involve screen time!Leap Start Preschool Book

Some of our favorite things about the Leap Start (other than it’s awesome learning power!) are:

A Headphone Jack! The first thing I thought was that in our car on long trips it would be hard to use these without headphones, but of course Leap Frog thought of that.
Book Storage There’s an opening in the back to pack an extra book to bring along. The Leap Starts can be closed with a book inside as well.Leap Start Book Storage
Locking Fold When not in use, they fold up and lock in place for easy transport. My older boys can open them but my 1 year old can’t. Love this.
Volume Control When your child isn’t using headphones, you can make sure that the Leap Start isn’t overly loud, or it can be turned up to the max!

A few downsides? The Leap Start systems use AA Batteries. We prefer to have a rechargeable system but it’s nice that the kids don’t have to wait for them to charge. Another downside is that the power button is right on the front of the system, basically begging little brother to turn it off every chance he gets. We’ve had quite a few tears over failed games thanks to that power button. Both of these are little concerns, but concerns nonetheless.

But road trips? So awesome now!Leap Start in the carThe kids stay so busy and love playing with their Leap Starts, and we love that they’re having fun without screen time!

The Leap Start Systems are available starting July 12th 2016!
Buy the Little Leap Start
Buy the Big Leap Start
Buy Leap Start Activity Books

Simply Real Moms is a Leap Frog ambassador. We received product for review purposes but all opinions are our own.