Phonics Toys: LeapFrog – Tad’s Fridge Phonics Review
As a teacher & mum of a very inquisitive toddler, I am always looking for fun educational toys. We are big fans of LeapFrog & have a range of their educational games, learning toys & tablets. Sophie is now at the age & level of development where she is starting her phonics journey. Therefore, when asked to review the new phonics learning toy from LeapFrog, we jumped at the chance!
Phonics Toys: Tad’s Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set
This phonics toy is designed to make learning the alphabet fun! The interactive toy introduces young children to the letters of the alphabet & the sounds they make. Sophie loves it!
It is worth noting that the letter sounds are the ones now taught in nurseries & schools. They may not be the same as you were taught at school so this is also a useful tool for adults to learn the correct sounds & so help their little ones.
The Fridge Phonics set contains an interactive magnetic base (a large, red apple) & 26 lower case letters of the alphabet. All parts of the set are magnetic meaning they can be placed on the fridge.
The set works by fitting one of the letter tiles into the apple’s letter slot. This results in ‘Tad’ telling or singing the name of each letter & the sound it makes depending on the chosen mode.
There are three modes of play to choose from, each reinforcing letter names, phonics & word skills.
- Level 1 – says the letter name e.g. “c”
- Level 2 – says words starting with that letter e.g. “c, cow, cranky cow”
- Level 3 – sings a song with the letter name & the letter’s sound e.g. “c says c, c says c, every letter makes a sound, c says c”
The magnetic letters are a good, chunky size making them ideal for small hands. At 2 years old, Sophie is able to push the letters in herself & always beams with pride at her successes. The letter tiles are designed so that they can only fit the space the right way up – ideal for learning similar shaped letters like b, p & d. The tiles also provide children with the opportunity to learn the shape of each letter, a very early introduction to writing.
The letters on the tiles come in different colours – yellow, green, blue with the vowels in red. This is an additional learning tool that can be used to introduce children to vowels.
By pressing the large button on the apple base, Tad also sings ‘The Alphabet Song’ & ‘Some of my Favourite Letters Are …’
A further feature of this phonics set is the three tiles that can be personalised. The three frames – “Best Mum”, “Best Dad” & “Me” can be customised with photos & images for personalised play. The tiles can also be pressed into the letter slot which results in fun phrases e.g. the mum tile states, ” Mummy’s funny” & the Me tile says, ” I can do anything” among other phrases.
The phonics ‘apple’ has two volume levels & is easily adjusted.
Finally, the toy comes with 3 x AAA batteries included so it can be taken straight out of the box & played with! Perfect for impatient toddlers…
Additional Uses as a Learning Tool: Phonics Games
- Can you find me the letter…? (letter recognition)
- I Spy With My Little Eye (initial sounds / phonics)
- Building vocabulary – the level 2 sentences are ideal for exposing children to new words
Sophie loves this toy & thoroughly enjoys using it. It is played with every day either on the fridge or spread out across the floor. She has started to recognise some of the letters (for example if I ask her for the letter ‘s’ she can bring it to me) & will join in with some of the letter sound songs.
This is a fun & educational toy that I would recommend for any young learner. It is also really helpful for adults to make sure they are using the ‘right’ sounds when playing, learning & teaching their little ones! Knowing the alphabet letters and sounds is the first step to learning to read & this is a fun tool to help those early foundations.
To find out more about early phonics see Letters & Sounds.
Also look out for our phonic games & activities we are publishing soon!
**We were sent this LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Toy for the purpose of this Phonics Toys review. All thoughts & opinions are our own.