LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table Has Provided Endless Fun For my Little Stander!
Lots of music, song, "jazzy", different, lights, colors, interactive, lots to do
Price, tips over if pulled, crevices for stuff to get stuck in, sticker on "book"
The Bottom Line:
This has been a great activity table that has provided endless hours of entertainment and has been a total lifesaver, and also encouraged my daughter to stand.
I regularly get together with other moms of infants, so it is a good way to get recommendations on toys. One of the toys that seemed to be a hit with several infants was the LeapFrog Learn N Groove activity table, and considering my daughter is very fussy, I wanted to look into anything to entertain her as much as possible.
"A favorite among moms and kids alike, the award-winning Learn & Groove Musical Table engages and entertains with more than 40 learning songs, sparkling lights and lots to spin, slide, push, pull, open and close."
The LeapFrog Learn N Groove Table
I found this table at Babies R Us for $44.99 in August 2007, although I just saw it listed on LeapFrog's site for $39.99. I was able to use a 15% off coupon at BRU. Not only does the store regularly put out coupons and flyers, you can usually Google up some kind of coupon on the internet to print out. Just be sure to get a coupon that is on their site (they are not scanned in, but a true manufacturer coupon on the babiesrus.com website).
This table is made by LeapFrog and is recommended for ages 6 months to 3 years. You can use it with or without the legs (depending if your baby can stand or not).
Thoughts & Experiences
It was probably a month before my daughter was pulling herself up that I originally saw the table. I kept thinking how $45 is a lot of money, so I was hesitant to spend it. However, once my daughter started pulling herself into a standing position, I was looking for anything that she could do involving standing. The other challenge is that she was large for her age, so a lot of toys geared towards infants pulling up would not be able to support any weight. (At 6 months, my daughter had outgrown her 22 lb limit infant carseat, and was pulling herself to a stand at 7 months).
I picked up the table and was excited to use it. Assembly was simple, and just consisted of putting the batteries in it (in a screw-on compartment), and attaching the legs, which just snap on.
There are two different settings – either English or Spanish – and there is a volume control (off, low, high). There is also a "book" in the middle of the table that has one plastic page, and depending on which side you have it flipped to, it either plays music, or plays songs (which involve colors, numbers, the alphabet, etc.).
The table stands fairly well. The legs "bow" out so that the ends of the legs are the widest part of the table. The table doesn't tip easily, but since my daughter was 22 lbs at 5 months, by the time she was pulling herself up 2 months later, she ended up pulling the table towards her. However, it wasn't that much of a bother, because I had to "spot" her anyway. Since she was really unsteady, I spotted her and just made sure the table didn't pull towards her at the same time. When she is older and stands up more easily (which would mean less/no pulling up using her arms), I'm sure tipping will not be an issue. I did notice another LeapFrog table which had "tips" sticking out of the edges of the table legs to make tipping even harder, so I wonder why they didn't do that with this table (not sure which table, but the lights were white, not red).
There are lots of activities on this table:
* Letter names
* Counting to 10
* First words
* Action and reaction
* Music exploration
* Musical instruments
* Sensory exploration
There are just so many things for little ones to do with the table. Not only are there visual and audio learning cues, but there is lots of different types of interaction. For example, some parts slide, others push, one you kind of flick. There is a little compartment with a lid that has recently become a new game with my little one, since I put things in the compartment, and she goes right into it and takes the toys out, and then decides what she's going to put into it.
The music is almost "over the top", but I have gotten used to it. It is jazzy and really upbeat. A lot of the music is true jazz type music, "Zap-a-do-ba-de-ba-da-ba-de-bop-bowwwwww/" type of thing that sometimes really got under my skin. (YES. The tunes you will end up hearing in your sleep. I was comparing "notes" with another mom and we were seeing if we both had the same table, and we both burst out in that song!) But then I just chalk it up to that at least it is unique and different from the other noisy toys. At first I found it really annoying, but surprisingly after months of hearing it, it has grown on me.
I cannot attest to some of the learning activities just yet, but my daughter has definitely learned how to "work" some of the parts. For example, there is a banjo that you pull the neck of it to the side and release, which plays the banjo and also makes its spiral insides spin. There is also of course the little compartment which my daughter learned to open.
Eventually I'm sure the ABC song and 1-10 song will help my daughter learn some of the basics. There is also a Spanish language version (you just slide a switch and you're set). I suppose that will be something she can learn from sometime in the future. I turn it to the Spanish version once in a while, and all I can say is that I have heard the Spanish words a few hundred times but I don't know that I would consider myself to have learned those words. (For example, it says "alto" and "bajo" when you move a sliding piece of plastic back and forth - I could be overanalyzing things, but personally I think it could be "high" and "low" or "up" and "down". Same with the compartment opening and closing, which sometimes says "open", "close" or "hello" "goodbye" in Spanish - so a child might not necessarily know what the Spanish words actually mean).
Even before my daughter was really understanding a whole lot of "cause and effect", she loved to just smack her hand on the table. I don't know if she knew she was setting off the sound/lights, but she still loved it, which is great!
As for durability, this table has been through a lot and has done great. It has gotten kicked, hit, knocked over, without a problem. The only issues I have had are that there are lots of crevices (like the piano keys and all the little parts), so since my daughter spits up a lot, some spitup has gotten in some of the parts, but its the same with a lot of toys. Also, the "page" in the middle of the table has a sticker on it (instead of paint). My daughter has chewed on the edges, so there are now white scratches from where she chewed off the sticker with her sharp new teeth.
A set of batteries lasted about 3 months for us. The table started to do some weird things, like make a clicking noise instead of playing music. I thought I remembered the brochure saying this could be a symptom of low batteries. I took out the batteries and put them back in, and the table was dead, so I replaced the batteries and the table worked just fine. An odd way of the batteries dying, but a simple solution!
My daughter loved this toy the moment we got it for her at just over 6 months old. She cannot get enough of standing at this table and playing with all the different activities. She always chooses this table over other things to stand on, from furniture to a large activity cube to other toys. Because she stands, but does not walk unsupported, this table has been nothing short of a lifesaver. I don't know if or when my daughter will tire of this table, but even if it is soon, it has been a wonderful toy and provided many, many hours of fun. In addition, as a stay at home mom, I think the table encouraged my daughter to want to stand and play with the table, strengthen her legs and help her gain better balance, especially since there activities all around the table that she would try to move to by walking around the edge of the table while holding on.