Unboxing the LeapFrog Count Along register is easy as 1, 2, 3. The package is boxed on so you can interact with the face of the Count Along register even before it is unboxed. After breaking through just a few pieces of tape you are able to pull out the register and remove it from the packaging base by removing 3 small “twist and pull” plastic clips. No zip ties or hassle with the removing of the toy or its accessories as all the accessories are secured with simple packing tape.
Once opened you find the main unit which is the actual Count Along register, along with several accessories including eggs, cheese, milk, bread, grapes, strawberries, peas and carrots. Included as well are several coins and a store credit card as methods of payment and each interact with the LeapFrog Count Along register.
While playing with the LeapFrog Count Along Register I found that the interactive face plate offers an extra educational value by describing each item as you press the buttons and “purchase” your groceries. The Count Along Register keeps track of how many items you have purchased and then asks you to deposit the correct number of coins to match the amount of items. The coin slot on the face plate counts as you deposit coins and then thanks you when you are finished. There is also a red button under the faceplate that allows you to open and close the register drawer.
You can also use the store credit card to purchase the items you have scanned in, however, the register doesn’t seem to recognize the card’s usage beyond a few pre-programmed phrases like, “you’ve been here before!” and “delicious!”.
Attached to the LeapFrog Count Along Register is the scanner button to use instead of purchasing the items using the faceplate. Unfortunately, the “scanner” is just a red button attached to the side of the Count Along register which beeps when pressed but doesn’t recognize which item is being scanned, nor does it provide a lifelike feel while playing with it. The scanner button beeps and says a small phrase after each button press but after a few moments of playing with the Count Along register you will find all the phrases repeating themselves. One plus for the LeapFrog Count Along Register is that the unit has a parent-friendly durable design as well as a power button and volume adjust slider.
I like that the LeapFrog Count Along Register comes with so many accessories for shopping and offers educational value and is helping children learn to count and exchange coins for goods purchased. I like that it comes with two forms of payment and that when you use the interactive face there is added value when the Count Along Register describes the items you purchased with phrases like “red strawberries”, “white milk…moooooo!” and the like. The toy also encourages multi-child play as one child is able to be the customer while the other plays cashier.
Unfortunately, I do have a few things that I didn’t like when playing with the LeapFrog Count Along Register. When playing with the Count Along Register, I very quickly found that the phrases were repeating themselves already. As a mom, toys with very few, often repeated phrases, get irritating to listen to extremely quickly but the Count Along Register does have adjustable volume so that is a point in its favor.
Another drawback with this toy lies in the scanner itself. It isn’t realistic at all and doesn’t interact with the products so for me this is a loss on the overall experience. I think it would have been extremely more valuable to have an attached scanner that both looked more realistic and also offered more educationally.
I realize that when playing “grocery store” most children want to engage in a realistic experience while playing make-believe. Unfortunately, the only way you get the realistic experience is if you use the faceplate, which isn’t the fun part of playing with the Count Along Register. Also, I definitely think that the use of the credit card feature could be better. There is a slider for the credit card and the Count Along Register does acknowledge when you slide the card but it says the same few phrases over and over again by saying things like “you’ve been here before!” but doesn’t acknowledge it as a method of payment which was disappointing.
The LeapFrog Count Along Register is marketed for children 2 years and over. I do think that the younger age group will get benefit and fun out this toy but I think the entertainment value is lost for older children. The value in playing and learning to count as well as learning the colors of the various grocery items is a good learning tool for the initial two year age range.
In review, the LeapFrog Count along register is a cute toy but I’m not sure it’s very practical. There isn’t any storage method offered for all the included accessories and the scanner being so lackluster really loses it for me. I think that for the investment this toy is worth it only if you are okay with it sitting in the toy box after a few plays. The phrases repeat themselves quickly and this toy very quickly loses its “new” and “exciting” feel for a valuable playtime. I probably wouldn’t buy this toy again knowing that I was bored with it so quickly. I think there are a lot of toys that help with counting and can offer more longevity of value at the same time.