Reviewed by Sarah Bowyer
I was so excited to hear that I had been chosen to review the LeapFrog AlphaPup toy as I had been looking in to getting my 12 month old son a toy that had similar learning properties as this. I wanted a toy that was educational but fun which is exactly what the AlphaPup is.
The AlphaPup which is aimed at children aged 12 months plus is a little toy puppy that has big soft black floppy ears. On the back of the neck (on his collar) is an off/off, high/low volume switch. On his back are 28 multi-coloured buttons that are labelled with all the letters of the alphabet and one with a picture of a puppy on and one with a music note on.
To make the puppy make a noise you simply press one of the buttons on the toy and it says the letters name, its letter sound and a word that begins with that letter. For example if you press the letter ‘W’ the toy says ‘W, walk. I love going on walks with you. Woof, woof, woof, woof’ then if you press it again it says the letter ‘W’ phonetically.
It does this for every single letter of the alphabet which I think is brilliant. I haven’t found many toys that explain each letter in the upper case and lower case in a such a simple way. I also like the word association with the letters for example ‘R, Run’ and then how it uses the word run in a sentence ‘let’s run to the zoo’.
The button that has the puppy on it says several different dog related phrases such as ‘will you pat my head?’ And ‘You’re my best friend’. And the button that has the musical note on sings song such as: the alphabet song, one two buckle my shoe, but as a dog version. For example ‘one, two chew on a shoe’. And then a short little jingle about going for a walk.
One great thing about this educational toy is that it says the letter ‘Z’ as ‘zed’ and not the American version ‘zee’.
The Alpha Pup is on wheels and has a lead on. The handle of the lead is a hard rubber bone as the toy is designed to be pulled around. It also has a bright green rubber tail.
The front two wheels of the toy are oval instead of round so the puppy bobbles about instead of just rolling along which makes the tail waggle.
When you pull the puppy along it sings the alphabet song. As soon as you stop walking the song stops playing. It then encourages you to start walking again by saying phrases such as “pull me along”. If you carry on walking and pulling the puppy along it carries on playing the song from the point it stopped.
It occasionally sneezes too, but I don’t really know why!!
On the back of the box that the Alpha Pup came in, there is a paragraph from a LeapFrog Learning Expert explaining that ‘research shows that knowing the alphabet is an important first step to learning to read’. My son is only 12 months old and doesn’t have much of a vocabulary so knowing that the Alpha Pup will help towards him developing this skill is absolutely wonderful.
Overall I think this is a brilliant toy. It encourages your child to learn the alphabet bit by bit and in a really fun and encouraging educational way. It explains the difference between upper case and lower case letters and gives an example of the letter in a word and sentence format. It sings fun songs such as the alphabet song and gives the British English version of letters rather than the American. It also encourages your child to get up and about and walking.
I will definitely give this toy a 5 out of 5.
Suitable age: 1-3 years
Available to buy from Amazon here.