History of the LeapFrog LeapPad

The Evolution of the LeapFrog Educational Tablets for Kids

LeapFrog, over the past 2 decades, has been designing toys with a mission to provide children with foundational skills such as letter and number recognition through fun and rewarding experiences. While certainly most people with children are aware of their infant and toddler toys, for several years LeapFrog has brought the foundational skills of reading to children through DVD’s and devices like the LeapReader, formerly known as the TAG Reader, featuring characters Scout, Violet and the crew.

With...MORE the attention and increasing popularity of the iPad, in 2011 LeapFrog designed the first LeapPad, a kid-friendly tablet for kids ages 4-9, that incorporated a camera plus touch screen and tilt access to play games and apps.

As a parent shopping in all sorts of arenas from retail stores, discount stores and maybe even at yard sales, at quick glance here are some of the highlighted features of each device from the first generation to present. Each LeapPad device has evolved over time in terms of size, processing speed, and cost, so here's everything you'll need to know about the features of each device. 4 years later children are still playing with the first generation LeapPad.

  • 01 of 05


    LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer

    The first generation LeapPad debuted in 2011. It included a 5 inch touch screen, a rear camera for pictures and video, and utilized a 400 MHZ processor. While I am still using the original LeapPad several years later, I reserve it as a back-up for younger kids who I'm not sure if they will enjoy the tablet experience or if I'm worried they might be a little more forceful or careless with their toys. For kids who have been accustomed to the speed of an iPad, the transitions between apps...MORE back and forth from the home screen is about 13 seconds. This particular device is powered using 4 “AA” batteries. The LeapPad was voted Toy of the Year, Educational Toy of the Year and Preschool toy of the Year in 2012. Read a full review of the LeapPad.

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    LeapPad2 and LeapPad Power


    In 2012, the LeapPad2 debuted. Knowing speed was of concern, the processor was upgraded to 550 MHZ. For children who enjoyed taking pictures and videos of themselves and others, both front and rear cameras were included. The device arrived with 9 apps and 4 GB of storage to hold additional apps purchased from the store. It, like the original LeapPad is powered with the use of 4 “AA” batteries. However, in 2013, the LeapPad2 Power debuted, bringing the same hardware in terms of speed and memory,...MORE but arriving with a lithium ion battery that can be charged through a standard wall outlet via a mini-USB cord. This version was Voted Educational Toy of the Year and People's Choice Award  in 2013. Read a full review of the LeapPad2.

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    LeapPad Ultra

    LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Learning Tablet

    For children who were looking for added features the LeapPad Ultra in 2013 included a larger, 7 inch touch screen, a lithium ion rechargeable battery with 9 hours of play, and was the first LeapFrog tablet to include wifi capabilities. Using it’s unique LeapSearch powered by Zui, the device can be connected to wifi, then children are able to access specific content curated by LeapFrog educators without worry of accessing inappropriate information. The LeapPad Ultra also debuted peer to peer...MORE play, so children who each have a device if they are seated in the same vicinity as a friend or sibling with a device, they can safely play games and chat with each other. The LeapPad Ultra has a 800 MHZ processor, 11 included apps and 8 GB of internal memory for downloadable apps, games and movies. The LeapPad Ultra was voted Best E-Connected Toy of the Year in 2014. Read a full review of the LeapPad Ultra.

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    LeapFrog LeapPad3

    In 2014, the LeapPad3 will include the same 5 inch screen, benefits of the internal rechargeable battery, a 2 mega pixel front and rear camera, and a faster upgraded 1000 MHZ processor. This device also includes built-in wifi bringing access to curated educational content through the LeapSearch by Zui app. Durability and reliability continue to be priorities by including a shatterproof screen and providing access for peer to peer gaming and chatting between the LeapPad3 and the LeapPad Ultra....MORE This device is available on store shelves in Fall 2014.

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  • 05 of 05

    LeapPad Ultra XDi

    LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra XDi

    This device is an updated version of the LeapPad Ultra and includes the same 7 inch screen, an MP3 player, 8 GB of internal memory for apps, games and songs, as well as a lithium ion rechargeable battery. The Ultra XDi has an 800 MHZ processor and will be available on store shelves in Fall 2014.