Time to Prepare for Kindergarten?
Remember how Kindergarten used to be? ABCs and 123s, playing with blocks, and trading lunch with your best friend. It was a very simple time back then!
Today, kids need to prepare for Kindergarten before it even begins. Due to current academic standards, kids need to know and recognize their ABCs, read short words, write their names, know and recognize numbers, and understand basic math concepts, BEFORE Kindergarten.
Many parents choose to send their young children to preschool, where they’ll learn all of these concepts to prepare for Kindergarten. We sent our oldest to a preschool the year before he went to school.
But preschool can be expensive, especially when one parent is a stay at home mom.
My oldest son only went a few months because at the time we just couldn’t afford to send him any more. My daughter never went to preschool, but attended Kindergarten Camp before school started last year to make sure she was on par with everyone else who had attended preschool.
Thankfully, for my third child, who is now four, we have LeapFrog Academy to help him develop the skills he’ll need to attend Kindergarten next year.
LeapFrog gave my family one free year to try LeapFrog Academy. All words and opinions are mine. Find out how to get a free one-month trial at the end of this post. This post contains affiliate links.
What is LeapFrog Academy?
LeapFrog Academy is a new app from LeapFrog, designed to help kids explore concepts they’ll encounter in preschool through First Grade.
“LeapFrog Academy™ is an interactive learning program for 3-6 year olds that guides children on a variety of fun Learning Adventures they can play anywhere. Through a well-rounded curriculum, they’ll explore a variety of skills that are important to a child’s development.”
There are more than 1,000 learning activities in a variety of Learning Adventures including:
- and art.
How Many Kids Can Play on One LeapFrog Academy Account?
It’s not just limited to one child. You can have profiles for up to five kids on just one LeapFrog Academy™ account.
Each child can have their own profile designed to match their learning level. They can customize their own avatar, go on their own Learning Adventures, and earn rewards that only count towards their profile.
Since not all children learn in the same way or at the same pace, extra activities are added to My Learning Lab. Kids can get additional practice in subjects they need help mastering or more difficult activities for a challenge. These extra activities can be found in the Parent Dashboard (more on this below).
On What Devices Can I Use LeapFrog Academy?
Have the LeapFrog Epic tablet already? You can find LeapFrog Academy™ on there!
Don’t have an LeapFrog Epic? No worries! It can also be played on:
- an iPad®,
- Android™ phones and tablets,
- Windows® or Apple® using a Wi-Fi connection.
Unfortunately, it cannot yet be played on Amazon tablets. (I’m hoping that changes soon since we have those tablets as well!)
LeapFrog Academy Review
For the purpose of this review, my four year old has been using LeapFrog Academy to practice preschool skills. We had the LeapFrog Epic tablet (‘had’ because a certain four year old left it behind on vacation), but we also use LeapFrog Academy on an Android smartphone and on my laptop.
The Learning Adventure he started with is focused on Letters, Numbers, and Words right now. He jumped right in and had no trouble figuring out the app on his own.
His little avatar collects marbles as he travels in his world. The marbles show up when it’s time to move on to the next game or activity.
The world of the Learning Adventure is a floating island in the sky. As games and activities are completed, new worlds appear for even more games and activities.
So far, he has completed Introduction to Pre-Kindergarten and started Letters, Numbers, and Words. The activities are colorful games, keeping him entertained without reminding him that he’s actually learning.
My six year old has been enjoying the app too. She’s in first grade now, so her activities and games are geared toward a first grade curriculum.
She has explored maps, gone through mazes using number patterns, and studied consonant blends.
The videos are her favorites! They are very entertaining, but there’s always a lesson to learn.
See LeapFrog Academy in action on my Samsung Galaxy Smartphone:
How LeapFrog Academy Helps Parents
I really like that I can monitor my kids’ progress in the Parent Dashboard. In there, I can also:
- choose and change Learning Adventures
- see what new activities are available in the My Learning Lab
- get ideas for new hands-on lessons
- manage their profiles
- switch them to new Learning Adventures at any time
I can click on each section in a Learning Adventure to see what each child is going to learn (personalized!) and get ideas of how to continue the learning outside of the app.
Do We Like LeapFrog Academy?
The kids are having fun and learning at the same time. The app keeps them entertained while teaching them basic skills they can utilize in school. The app also helps me as a parent stay on top of what they know, what they’re learning, and what they need more practice on.
The answer is: yes!
How We’re Going to Prepare for Kindergarten Using Leapfrog Academy
Before my four year old starts Kindergarten next year, he’ll need to take a test to see how much he knows.
Having two other kids already in school, I know that he’ll need to be able to:
- recognize and name uppercase and lower case letters
- spell his name
- count to 20
- recognize and name numbers
- recognize and name shapes
- recognize and name colors
- recognize patterns
- recognize basic math terms
To help him prepare for Kindergarten, every weekday we’ll work together using LeapFrog Academy for 15-20 minutes. By doing this together, I can make sure that he is staying on task and not just tapping the screen randomly.
Why only 15-20 minutes? Let’s face it: preschoolers just don’t sit still that long!
I will also review the lessons with him, reinforcing what he already knows and encouraging him to solve the problems in the activities on his own. Throughout the day, if a concept he learned in LeapFrog Academy comes up in daily life, I can point it out to him (ie. numbers on the clock, letters on his shirt, etc).
To start, I have reset his Learning Adventures back to Introduction to Preschool (his current Learning Adventure is going to be saved for later on).
Introduction to Preschool will cover:
- Exploring Numbers and Letters
- Letters, Sounds and Rhymes
- Shapes, Numbers and Letters
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Colors, Music and Letters
- Math and Science
While he knows the very basics, going back through these activities will help reinforce what he already knows so that he can build on those skills.
I’m going to follow the recommendations for further practice that are available in the Parent Dashboard (see above) so that he gets a sense of what it is like to learn in a ‘classroom’ as well.
One example is: “Make letters using toothpicks and mini marshmallows.” Hands on experience is a great way to learn a new skill!
We’re also going to practice writing numbers and letters on handwriting paper and in workbooks. Boring, I know, but he needs to practice holding a pencil and forming the letters and numbers he learns about in the app.
When he masters Intro to Preschool, we’ll move on to Introduction to Kindergarten, which will cover:
- Letters, Numbers and Words
- Numbers and Shapes
- Letters and Letter Sounds
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Rhymes and Blending Sounds
- Art and Music
- Early Science Concepts
- Phonics and Spelling
I’m expecting this process to take a few months. Since each lesson builds on the next within the activities, he should have a solid foundation to be able to take on Kindergarten like a pro!
Get a 1 Month Free Trial for LeapFrog Academy
Want to give LeapFrog Academy a try? Right now you can visit leapfrog.com/academy to start a free 1 month trial!
If you like LeapFrog Academy™ during the trial, do nothing and your membership will automatically continue for as long as you choose. It’s $7.99 a month after the trial. You can easily cancel anytime, online, 24 hours a day.
Want to learn more about other LeapFrog products we love? Read all of my reviews here!
As a LeapFrog Mom Ambassador, I receive products , promotional items and educational material to use and share as I see fit. However, any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. This post contains affiliate links.