As a mom, I know the importance of independent play. As a mom who likes to drink hot coffee and answer emails once in a while without a little human trying to seesaw on my legs, I also appreciate the usefulness of independent play. The thing with toddlers is that it can be tricky to get them to focus on something for long without parental intervention. Because of this, I am always on the lookout for toys which encourage independence but are also educational.

Recently we were sent a few Leap Frog toys. Let me tell you, what a lifesaver considering we’ve been stuck at home for eternity (and counting). Besides my two boys (almost-2 and 3), we also have a 4-year old in the house as part of our lockdown family. All three kids keep going back to these toys again and again and are quite happy to play with them on their own for ages – I’m talking like 15 minutes!

And yes, these are what I classify as noisy toys but the songs are totally worth the value they add to the playroom. Plus they are helping with vocabulary development, which is something nerdy that I’m passionate about.

This is what we got.

Leapfrog Storytime Buddy

LeapFrog Storytime Buddy
RSP 1 250

Buddy the dog can not only read 5 stories aloud while the littles follow along in the books, he also sings songs and lullabies, asks comprehension questions, and explores words and sounds. The books and songs introduce emotions, colours, numbers, shapes and opposites. But best of all, Buddy can read a story and play 10 minutes of lullabies with a night light so he can basically put your kid to sleep for you.

J (the 3-year old) has recently figured out he’s scared of the dark and needs us to sit with him until he falls asleep. Obviously we don’t mind doing this but we also wanted some way for him to feel safer while he was alone in the bedroom. Buddy now lives on his bedside table and we sit with him for the 10 minutes Buddy plays lullabies for him. J knows how to switch the lullabies on himself – and the night light – so he can do this if he wakes up at night.

Leapfrog Number Crunchin’ Squirrel

Leapfrog Number Crunchin' Squirrel
RSP R580

This squirrel has been a firm favourite with all three littles. They can press the squirrel’s nose for him to speak and they can feed him coins and count at the same time, or they can hear him identify the colours of the coins or add and subtract. But best of all is when you pull his tail, the coins come out again – so we can start all over again…and again…and again….

Yes, we have lost the coins numerous times but they always end up finding their way back to the squirrel (but I’m going to give the nanny credit for that).

Leapfrog 100 Words Book

Leapfrog 100 Words Book
RSP R510

A book with pictures which can be pressed to hear words, facts or sounds. There are 12 pages in the book, corresponding to 12 categories, such as activities, food and outside – with a total of 100 words, which is a lot. Plus, it’s also in French (if that’s useful to you).

This is a great book because it can’t be torn apart or eaten by the dog. The kids loving carrying it around like a suitcase and playing the same words over and over (obviously).

Leapfrog Lettersaurus

Leapfrog Lettersaurus
RSP R800

The Lettersaurus has buttons on its back and tail which play letters and numbers. It can sing songs, and it can even be taken for walks while it sings the abc song. This Lettersaurus is taken for a walk every day around our garden – it’s definitely Seb’s favourite.

I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of noise! So I’m pleased to tell you that they all come with an OFF switch! and they are totally worth the noise pollution for the relative peace and quiet they’ll give you.

They can be found on Takealot, Baby City, Toys R Us or Toy Kingdom.

Disclaimer: These toys were sent to us as part of a trade exchange, but the opinions are my own.