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Leapster, Leap Pad or Explorer

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I don't which of these do what but I'm interested in finding a handheld something that has educational games and is easily navigated by my 3 1/2 year old. She can find songs she likes on my phone so actually she's more techy than I am :)))


I am mainly looking for something she can listen to mp3 stories on but games would be fun too.

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The Leapster uses the older game cartidges while the Leapster Explorer and LeapPad Explorer uses the newer cartridges. if buying now I would probably go with either the explorer or leappad since I imagine many newer games may not come out on the older platform in the future.


The Explorer is basically a newer version of the Leapster with better graphics and more options. The Leappad is newer but it runs all the explorer games and is sized more like a tablet -- I don't know if there are things that are only available for the leapPad or not.


We have a Leapster 2, Explorer and Didj - the didj has better graphics and is sort of a precursor to the explorer as the didj games work in the explorer (the only reason we ended up getting an explorer - they saved up gift cards and sold one leapster 2 to get it, they had $40 in gift cards from playtesting a game at LeapFrog)

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My just-turned-7yo got an Explorer for Christmas last year from grandparents. It's not something I'd ever have bought on purpose, but she likes it. The games are mostly for a younger audience, though - I'd say 4-5yo mostly. She does like the globe geography game, and plays with the pet care game that is preloaded, but when I look at the store for maybe getting her another game they all seem like learning letters or add/subtract at the most. It's not a battery hog, and has been pretty durable both living in her room and going on some long trips (this is not my most careful kid). She pretty much figured it out immediately, the controls seem pretty intuitive, and hooking it up to my macbook to get her more pet food or whatever is pretty easy - as soon as I plug it in with its special cable, it launches its own program.

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