When I work with parents of children with language delay, I advise them on what toys are helpful to encourage language development. It is fun to watch as they start to understand the characteristics of good language toys and are more discerning about what they buy for their child.

I had advised one mom of a 2 year-old to get some play sets with people that are around a theme that is within the experience of her child–a farm, a playground, a car wash or gas station. She understood but apparently the grandparents didn’t!

After a visit there following Christmas, I found out that both sets of grandparents gave their grandson the Leapfrog Tag Junior Book Pal. I tried it out. You place the book pal on a picture or text and it reads the words, asks questions, says a rhyme, or talks about the picture. According to the product features on Amazon.com, “The Tag Junior book pal encourages toddlers to explore while helping build confidence with books.” I just don’t get it. I think toddlers love to explore a well-written, beautifully illustrated book for what it is–especially if an adult reads it or narrates the pictures. I found as I followed the pictures on the page with the “pal” it was almost disjointed, with an animal sound followed by a rhyme or text. The flow of the book was lost.

Let me know what you think of products like these and if they have been beneficial to your kids. I am open to changing my mind!