Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Letter Factory Game

Letter Factory Game

Fall 2004 Games
Ages: 3 - 5 yrs.
Manufacturer: LeapFrog Enterprises
Price: $24.99
The game contains 6 orange, 6 red, 6 blue, 4 yellow and 4 purple cards - each representing a letter of the alphabet - which are laid alphabetically on the Factory Floor gameboard, offers two levels of play: Counting, Colors and Letters for ages 3-4 and Letter Match for ages 4-5. The first level of play requires players to identify alphabet letter cards by color only ("Choose an orange card.") The player than inserts a card of that color into the Letter Machine which acknowledges the card as a correct or incorrect selection. If the child has selected the right card, he is instructed to move forward on the game board a certain number of squares. The Letter Machine then plays a song or phrase about the letter and a word that begins with it or the sound of the letter.

The second level of play requires players to select a card, specified either by naming the letter or by identifying its sound or place in the alphabet ("Find the letter that makes the sound 'wuh'." or "Find the letter that comes after the letter Q.") If the player makes the correct selection, he is then instructed to move a certain number of spaces around the board. The Letter Machine helps count the spaces and identifies the color of the square on which he should have landed.

Special "interruptions" to the game add to the appeal. Children might be asked to point out something that begins with a certain letter, make a certain letter sound or just to dance or make a silly sound. Factory breakdown in which the player whose turn it is loses his turn and must remain on the square he is currently on; and Rush order in which the player whose turn it is can choose any alphabet card on the board he wishes to insert into the Letter Machine. These unexpected surprises moves kept our testers on their toes and eager to continue game play.

Because the Letter Machine gives detailed instructions along the way ("Put each card face up on the factory floor. Press Go. It's your turn."), and helps players count the spaces they must move ("Move ahead five spaces." One, two, three, four, five."), and checks that they have landed on the right color children can play the game without much adult assistance.

Angel Menefee   ©2004 Parents' Choice
Angel Menefee, a mother of three, tutors public and private school students from pre-kindergarten through Grade 12. Mrs. Menefee has authored foreign language, art and music curricula.

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