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*** at the bottom of this post you can vote for which children’s charity will receive a LeapFrog donation of toys — please voice your suggestion! ***

It’s time to get serious about Christmas!

Like many things I used to scoff at, shopping early for Christmas is something I now do. I used to think that people who shopped early for Christmas were either too organized for their own good or just plain liked shopping far too much.

Now I know the real reason to shop early for Christmas: it saves time and money! The romantic notion I used to have of always shopping the last week before Christmas is gone. Now, a  family and a budget = early Christmas shopping for me.

LeapFrog Toy Testing
In preparation for Christmas, I’ve accepted an offer to test out LeapFrog toys. If you’re not familiar with LeapFrog, Stella describes their toys like this: “They are a little bit tricky, these toys. They trick you into learning.”

The original email I received described my potential involvement like this:

The online community is a very important audience for LeapFrog. Although we would love for you to post product reviews on your blog, this comes with absolutely no obligation on your behalf.  If nothing else, we’d be happy to provide LeapFrog products to you and your friends to try out.

I had already bought LeapFrog toys in the past for Stella, my oldest child. We still have these toys in full-functioning order more than five years later — and both children still take an interest in them. So this sounded like a win-win situation to me.

The original idea expressed to me was that I could host a playdate and let people try out the LeapFrog toys. All toys could be kept by the testers. There was no obligation to blog about LeapFrog or their toys. But if I did choose to blog about them, there was no obligation to speak positively about them (i.e. I was free to write a positive, negative or neutral review). For the time and/or expense involved in hosting a playdate, I would be provided with an honorarium.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing LeapFrog toy reviews with you, as written by friends and neighbours who’ve agreed to test them. I’ve picked a group of testers with children of different ages, genders, dispositions and learning preferences so that you would get a more broad review of these toys than just that of my own family.

I hope that these reviews can help you along with your Christmas shopping. If you’re like me and can’t stand being in a mall, you’ll be happy to know that LeapFrog toys can be bought online from Toys R Us. I’ve used the online Toys R Us shopping — it’s convenient and you can usually wrangle yourself some free shipping. The other convenient option is Loblaws, which also carries LeapFrog toys.

Toy Donation to Charity
So, to help us get in the real spirit of Christmas — do you have a charity that is close to your heart?

As part of my agreement with LeapFrog, they will donate 5 Tag Junior toys (a value of approx $200) to a charitable organization of my choice. The Tag Junior is a reading system for children aged 2-4. I’d really love it if you could provide your suggestion for an organization that is really in need of toys and that could benefit from this kind of donation. And if you have a relationship with this organization, I would be happy to have the donation made in your name.

I will donate these toys to a suitable organization that receives the most votes via the comments by Thursday, December 3rd at noon.

About Tag Junior


You can learn all about the Tag Junior by reading my friend Kelly’s review here.


  1. I’d like to nominate the Youville Centre for a charitable Tag Junior donation. They’re a combination high school/daycare for teen moms and their children. Thanks!

  2. I second Zoom’s suggestion. Great idea!

  3. Youville is good – a woman’s shelter or Wapous would great as well!

  4. Well, the charity I would normally endorse around Christmas isn’t one that would take toys. It’s the Snowsuit Fund. As a mom, I can’t begin to imagine sending T out the door without warm coat, hat and mitts. It breaks my heart to think kids in our community are cold.

    Failing that charity, I like the sound of the other suggestions. Teen moms have got enough stacked against them. Any benefit they can get to help get their kids in the right direction as they get their own lives on the right path — that’s got to be good.

  5. And on another note, the TAG by Leap Frog:

    With only a couple of days of testing so far, T has hardly left it alone. He has used it as a reading aid (reading on his own until he requires help), used it on listening mode to enjoy the story without Mom (nice), and has particularly enjoyed the games which require him to use reading comprehension, memory and letter recognition. So far, I like what I see. I have not needed to suggest or move him in the direction of the toy.

    It will be interesting to see how long the interest lasts with the one book that comes with the toy. I have another one on hand — a cool $14.95 each — for when he’s bored and wants to move on. But there were lots of choices at Zellers and I found something I know he’ll like.

    More later, as the week unfolds.

  6. I vote for Youville too.

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