We’ve been trying out the LeapStart 3D Learning System and I have been amazed at just how smart this talking book is. 

LeapStart 3D by LeapFrog and Disney Princess game
Inside the box is a sampler book, but you need to buy other books to get the most out of the LeapStart 3D

With my eldest due to start school in a few months, I’m keen to help her get off to the right start when it comes to reading. 

Of course we read to her every day, but I have been thinking for a while about what else we can do to encourage her reading, and make it fun for her as well. 

The LeapStart 3D comes in purple and blue

So I was really excited when LeapFrog offered to send us the LeapStart 3D Learning System to review. The LeapStart 3D is a complete learning system that brings books to life with audio and 3D animation. It uses puzzles, counting games, word games, challenges and stories to help children learn words, reading and numbers. 

Each page features a different game that is fun, interactive and enhances learning

This product is the follow-up to the LeapStart and comes with a cool little screen where animated characters and scenes pop up to enhance what your child is learning in the books. 

The 3D screen brings games to life

I love this feature, as it really helps to bring the books to life. 

All the original books that were used for the LeapStart will work in the new 3D product, however they won’t have the animation features that the new 3D books do.

How does it work?

Getting the LeapStart 3D set up is easy. It requires two AA batteries to work.

Inside the box is a USB cable which you need to use to connect the device to your computer. You follow instructions to connect the LeapStart 3D to your computer, and download operating software and register the device. 

Once you’ve done this you can then download the book operating software and you’re away.

The LeapStart 3D features a 3D screen at the top of the right-hand page

The LeapStart 3D works with physical books, which slot into the device using the spiral binding on two little clips. However you need to hook your device up to your computer for every new book you buy, so that you can download the relevant operating software for that book. This doesn’t take a lot of time, but you will need access to a computer to get this device to work. 

The LeapStart 3D is operated using a stylus, which is nice and chunky for little fingers to grip. Every page of a book has interactive content which your child unlocks by tapping pictures, words or numbers with the stylus. It’s brilliant for teaching them pen control. 

To play you simply open the device, switch it on and open the book. Each page in the book features a different game or activity, with many offering two levels of difficulty so that your child is challenged once they get the hang of it. 

The LeapStart 3D comes with a basic Let’s Play pre-school to primary school sampler book featuring a few games. It gives you a good idea of how to use the LeapStart and the features it has. 

Throughout every book, four symbols appear helping you control the experience. The green star is to play an activity, the two yellow stars begin a more challenging activity, and the blue bulb prompts a hint if your child is stuck. There is also a red hand that let’s you stop the game. 

The sampler book shows what books are available in the range, such as Around Town with Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse Put Crews to the Rescue and Learn to Read. 

What books should I buy?

When you buy the LeapStart 3D, you need to buy at least one book, as the one that comes with it doesn’t do very much. 

The books are divided into four categories: Level 1 pre-school (2-5 years), Level 2 Pre-school (3-6 years), Level 3 primary school (4-7 years) and Learn to Read (4-7 years). Each one contains more than 30 activities. 

Each book in the LeapStart range is clearly labelled so that you can make the right choice for your child’s level. 

I love that the books feature popular characters such as Paw Patrol and Disney Princesses, which was the book we received with our LeapStart 3D. 

Each book costs around £9-£12.

What did we think of the book?

We received the Disney Princess Shine with Vocabulary book. This is aimed at ages 3-6. 

My daughter has just turned four and it was absolutely perfect for her age. It was challenging without being overwhelming. There are some things she couldn’t do without help from me, such as recognising certain words, but that’s to be expected. 

I loved that the book featured a page about sight words, which is something I had been planning on working on with my daughter anyway. 

All of the games are really targeted at teaching a particular skill, such as linking objects to words, putting items into categories and opposites, but it’s done in a fun and engaging way. 

In the top left-hand corner is one or two bullet points explaining what this page teaches your child – which is a really great feature for parents trying to support their children’s early learning. 

One of the best things about the book – and what really got my daughter excited – was the sticker rewards. When your child has completed an activity and learned the skill, the book prompts your child to get a reward sticker and pop it on the reward chart. 

The sticker rewards are a great feature of the game

Of course eventually you will run out of stickers, but I think this is a really nice way to get kids excited about playing the games. 

What skills can it teach your child?

Reading comprehension

Reading for information

Reading fluency

Phonics

Mathematical reasoning

Problem solving

Creative expression

Visual puzzles 

Social skills

Spelling

What you need to know

Who is it for: Ages two to seven

Batteries: 2xAA (not included)

Dimensions: 9.65×11.3×1.87

What do you need: A computer to download the operating system and books

The LeapStart 3D costs around £40 from Amazon, you can shop for it in the link below. 

My verdict

The LeapFrog LeapStart 3D is a fantastic way to help your child learn to read. It’s very easy to use and will get your child excited about reading, with its games, fun 3D animations and familiar characters. My daughter didn’t know she was learning, which is what you want at this age. It needs to be good fun. 

There was so much for my child to do in the Disney Princesses book that we easily filled most of an afternoon playing with it one day. 


The beauty of it is though that you can spend hours on it, or just a quick burst of activity. You don’t have to complete an entire book in one sitting, you can just do one game and switch it off after 10 minutes. 

Using it is very straightforward, my daughter had no issues holding the stylus and I feel that she has already got a lot out of using it. 

If you’re looking to enhance your child’s reading, this device is brilliant. It’s a great way to encourage them to start picking up words and work towards reading independently. Plus, it’s great fun as well!

We were sent a LeapStart 3D and book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own! This post contains affiliate links.

LeapStart 3D review