Preschoolers can be just like the “big” kids, carrying so much learning in their backpack! Open up the backpack to reveal a draw and erase board on the right side and 26 puzzle letters on the left. Seven activities ask kids to identify letters, place them in the correct puzzle space, associate the sound and also an animal beginning with that letter–“N, narwal,” properly draw upper and lower case letters, following directional lines, and watch letters turn into animals, encouraging kids to make up their own. Preschoolers lined up to play with this backpack and loved drawing the letters. It’s obvious that Leap Frog’s products are designed based on input from their learning experts, as at every opportunity a letter is presented along with the sound it makes, and a word in a child’s vocabulary that begins with that sound. I was checking up on a kindergartner this week and he said he had homework which was just that exercise–draw a letter, say its sound and tell a word beginning with that sound. Many of the phonics writing and spelling skills are combined in the hardest activity, “Mystery Word” where kids have to recognize the first letter of an image of an animal, select the associated letter and push it down in its puzzle space to see it on the screen. Kids do this three times to form short words like “sun” and “dog.” This backpack is full of fun practice in language skills that feed into successful reading and writing in school. So kids, go ahead and throw that backpack over your shoulders and take your smart play on the road!

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