The result of collaboration between Leapfrog and Disney, Zippity is a video game system specifically designed for kids ages 3 to 5. It is played by kids running and jumping on a special mat controller and using a waist-high joystick called "the bopper." Leapfrog is expert on creating educational learning in a video game environment, and Disney owns favorite characters like Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Handy Manny and kids from Little Einsteins. The combination works to create a fun educational environment where kids can be in constant motion and yet learn while they move.
The Zippity Learning System works by plugging it into your TV's video/audio input terminals. It uses eight C batteries, four in the mat controller unit and four in the console unit that plugs into the television. The system comes loaded with eight learning games, but additional learning game cartridges can be purchased separately for $25.
The mat has four colored spots on which to step. The bopper can be moved to the right, left, away from you and toward you. Some of the games use just the mat, while others use both the mat and the bopper.
The games introduce the preschool learning skills of memory, following directions, music, numbers, letters of the alphabet, colors, and beginning Spanish. All of the games can be played on two levels of difficulty. For example, one of the easy games on level one is played with Goofy, where he shows you how to dance by placing your feet on the colored spots on the mat. He shows you an order in which to step on the colors and asks you to repeat it. As you do, he dances on the screen.
In a level two game with Handy Manny and his animated tool friends Dusty, Pat, and Stretch, Handy Manny needs help fixing the park's merry-go-round.
You help him by finding letters of the alphabet. On the screen, kids might see Dusty the saw and a board with three colored lines to saw. Above each line is a letter of the alphabet. If Handy Manny asks for the letter C sitting above the green line, kids step on the green spot on the mat. Dusty glides over to that line and then asks kids to move the bopper back and forth to imitate a sawing motion. When they do, Dusty saws through the board.
Zippity is a good way to introduce kids to learning games. It makes the learning fun because kids are playing with branded characters that they enjoy. But more importantly, the games encourage kids to do physical things they like to do, like dance or march in place.
It also does a good job of introducing young children to how to play video games. Each game has a tutorial and two of the eight are side-scrolling games which use the bopper to navigate. Using this tummy-high joy stick makes navigating an onscreen character intuitive. If you want Pooh to go to the right on the screen, you push the bopper to the right; want him to go up higher on the screen, push the bopper toward the screen.
The games have high quality TV graphics not usually found in a plug-and-play game, and the music is very well done. In the games with the Little Einsteins, you even learn about such classics as Vivaldi's The Four Seasons and Grieg's Hall of the Mountain King.
Of the eight games, two of them are dancing games that seem very similar. Likewise, two are about playing instruments by stepping on the colors on the mat. Even so, there is a lot for little gamers to explore.
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