Expert Review: LeapBuilders Elephant Adventures

Let’s build! Let’s create! Let’s learn! This little elephant has a big bag of peanuts…. err, tricks up his trunk, as Practical Parenting Reviews Editor, Franki Hobson, and her toddler, Louis, discovered.

Practical Parenting Reviews Editor / October 16 2018

Turns out this clever elephant can also predict a child’s personality. OK that is not true, but it did tell me a lot about my toddler’s personality! You see, there’s a big white elephant that sits in the corner of our family room. And that is the fact that little Louis has straight blonde hair and hazel eyes – just like his Daddy. There is not even a freckle of a resemblance to his brown eyed mummy with dark brown curls. Nuttin’. Nada. Zippo.

So, mummy is determined to get a look in somehow, and she’s putting all her ostrich eggs in the personality basket - Mummy is a talker, a doer, a creative… Mummy loves learning about new things. And mummy is very determined.

But is little Louis?

The LeapFrog LeapBuilders Elephant Adventures, $34.95, is the perfect toy to find out.

Let's talk!

This little blue elephant provides a lot more than just fun – it’s a learning toy that talks! And in fact, it responds with over  115  phrases,  sounds  and  songs  whenever  one  of  the  double-sided  blocks  is  inserted  into  the interactive SmartStar  Unit. And, lo and behold, Louis said his first action word, covering his eyes to reveal his face with a big “BOO!”

LeapFrog’s brand new LeapBuilders educational toys are a unique talking building blocks range that combines construction and curriculum. Children can follow the instructions to build and create different structures. The various LeapBuilders blocks can be inserted into the very unique SmartStar unit to trigger interaction and responses. Suitable for 18+ months.

LeapFrog’s brand new LeapBuilders educational toys are a unique talking building blocks range that combines construction and curriculum. Children can follow the instructions to build and create different structures. The various LeapBuilders blocks can be inserted into the very unique SmartStar unit to trigger interaction and responses. Suitable for 18+ months.

Let's learn!

Did I mention this clever elephant is a learning toy? Oh yes, I did (no one ever accused me of having a memory like an elephant!). Learning is my passion. It keeps me motivated, inspired, creative… But I’m a rubbish teacher. As much as I’d love to teach little Louis to talk, read, speak elephant, as a busy working mum, I just have to get other stuff done too, like shower, and washing, and dinner!  This clever elephant, on the other is a genius and engaging teacher. Louis learns about fruits, numbers, colours and insects every time he (with a little help from his big brother) slots a building block into the SmartStar Unit.

Let's build!

‘Doing’ and’ creating’ go hand in hand. And can I tell you, it makes my heart melt when I watch Louis attempting to build this 21-piece elephant set (although to some it may appear he is destroying my fine building work!). He is learning to stack the blocks on top of each other and take them apart. Louis mimics his big brother, Maxwell, 9, observing him, then copying him, playing together and taking turns. As a parenting editor for more than 20 years, I know the value of unstructured play, guidance and help to show them ‘how to play’ (it’s a learned skill, you know!) and nurturing creativity. Louis is learning to use his gross and fine motor skills to pick-up the blocks, assemble them and then disassemble them. This toy comes up trunks in all developmental categories.

Louis watches his big brother, Maxwell, pop different double-sided blocks into the SmartStar Unit to ‘make the elephant talk’!

Louis watches his big brother, Maxwell, pop different double-sided blocks into the SmartStar Unit to ‘make the elephant talk’!

Let's do it!

Determination is a tough skill to teach. But the LeapFrog LeapBuilders excels in encouraging little ones to persevere and stay focused on the task. Of course a toddler’s attention and concentration is pretty short, but I was blown away by how interested Louis is in this toy – building, pressing the buttons and listening to the elephant’s responses, pulling its head off and trying to put it back on. Determination – tick!

Focused and determined! Louis stops only to give his big brother a kiss. Awww!

Focused and determined! Louis stops only to give his big brother a kiss. Awww!

Let's grow!

Louis loved the elephant’s sounds, construction, songs, flashing lights and buttons. When the kids are  finished building and creating,  they  can  move to the advanced level – following the elephant’s  instructions (on  building  cards which are included)  to  build  a  shop  or  combine  with  other  LeapFrog  block  toys  to  learn  and  build  in  different  ways. Louis also has LeapBuilders Wild Animals and LeapBuilders Fix-It Truck, with compatible blocks. We gradually introduced the new sets so we didn’t overwhelm him with too many blocks and toys at once.

Follow the instructions and build different constructions.

Follow the instructions and build different constructions.

The verdict

Well, Louis clearly takes after his mum! This gorgeous little learning elephant excels in every field – learning, building and construction, fostering unstructured creative play and cause and effect. Those little digits will benefit wildly from the fine motor skill development, as Louis practices stacking, assembling, building, constructing and disassembling. There’s ample room for mum (and siblings) to group play, showing youngsters other ways to use the blocks, role play, creative play, use their imagination and for parents to further utilise the elephant’s learning functions by highlighting the blocks numbers, colours, actions, or repeating the words.

Want more information? 

LeapFrog your way to toy experts LeapFrog for a great range of age-appropriate toys for youngsters from baby to age 9.