Founded by San Francisco lawyer Michael Wood in the mid 1990’s in an attempt to help his son learn how to read, LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. is today the fourth largest toy company in the United States, just behind toy behemoths Mattel, Hasbro and Lego.
After working for years as a lawyer representing entrepreneurs trying to secure financing for their new ventures, Michael Wood joined the ranks of his inventive clients and broke away from his law firm, Cooley Godward.
Wood spent years doing research on technology, manufacturing and market research to determine interest in a phonics system to help young children learn how to read. By 1994 Wood had his first prototype ready and in 1995 the LeapFrog Phonics Desk was released. The demand for the toy was strong and sales for 1995 were $3 million.
By the year 2000 LeapFrog was making close to $200 million in sales, had almost 450 employees and was expanding into international markets. Two years later, the company filed for public stock offering and its shares rose from an initial $13 a share to $80 just a few months later.
LeapFrog continues to grow through innovative products and strategic partnerships around the world, like the company’s partnership with Sega Toys Ltd and the Benesse Corp. to break into the Japanesse market. LeapFrog products can be found in more than 25 countries in the world.
From its beginnings as a Phonics Desk, LeapFrog has expanded its products offerings to cover a variety of products aimed at enabling children to learn a multitude of subjects, not only phonics, but also math, science, social studies or creativity and life skills, to name a few.
LeapFrog products cover children from 0 to 9 years old with products specifically designed to fit kids’ needs at each developmental level.
For the very young, 0 to 12 month old babies, the company has My Pal Scout, the Animal Adventure Learning Table, its Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket and the Sing & Play Farm.
The Pal Scout, a friendly puppy in green or purple, can be personalized and helps young babies with listening, personal and social skills. The Pal Scout can be personalized with a child’s name connecting it to a computer.
For older kids, LeapFrog has a great variety of learning tools in different platforms, from Learning tablets to reading and gaming systems: LeapPad Ultra, LeapReader, LeapPad2, LeapsterGS Explorer, LeapReader Junior, Leapster Explorer.
These learning devices teach many skills: Language Learning, Reading & Writing, Mathematics, Social Studies, Logic & Problem Solving, Creativity & Life Skills, Science, Personal & Social Skills and Listening Skills.
We love LeapFrog for many reasons. The company’s products are educational and easy to use. Anybody can figure out how to make any of the tablets and gaming system work. The way LeapFrog products are designed make it very easy to achieve the ultimate goal of making kids more comfortable with phonics and other subjects.
Another feature we like about LeapFrog is that, while its products are educational, they are also fun, so your kids will love to play with any of the systems and won’t even notice they’re learning! Learning while having fun is a great way to engage kids in being excited about leaning for years to come.
And last, but not least, LeapFrog products are specifically designed for little ones, so they are sturdy. You won’t have to worry about your 2 year old dropping your very expensive tablet and breaking it, LeapFrog products are kid tested and you’ll be able to pass them along from one child to another, or sell them when your kids are done with them!
For its educational and fun products and its sturdy built, we had to give LeapFrog 5 stars out of 5.
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