The AlphaZoo Spinner has two play and learning modes meant to introduce children to the alphabet and animals. In Letter Mode, spin the wheel or press the sun button. When the wheel stops on a letter, kids will hear the letter's name. If the wheel lands on the music notes space, "The Alphabet Song" will play. If it lands on the star space, kids will be asked to find a letter on the wheel. In Animal Mode, spin the wheel or press the sun button. When the wheel stops on an animal, kids will hear its name and a fun sound effect, usually the sound the animal makes. If the wheel lands on the music notes space, kids will hear "Old MacDonald." If the wheel lands on the star space, kids will be asked to identify an animal by the sound they hear.
Parents can also program the AlphaZoo Spinner to recognize the first letter of their child's name. Manually spin the spinner to the letter "L", then slide the mode switch two times. You will hear "Parent Mode! Spin to the first letter of your child's name." Once you have done this, slide the mode switch one time to confirm.
The AlphaZoo Spinner is a colorful and interactive toy. Kids will especially like hearing the toy tell them what the first letter of their name is. The sun button is large, so it's easy for little kids to push, which helps with fine motor skills.
However, when the toy asks children to find a letter, the AlphaZoo Spinner doesn't tell kids whether they have found the correct or incorrect letter. For example, if the spinner asks for the letter "H", a child could move the spinner to the letter "K" and, instead of being prompted to try again, would only hear how to say the letter "K". Because of this, parents may want to participate in the play to reinforce letter identification, letting children know when they are correct or encouraging them to try again.
The AlphaZoo Spinner is for ages 12–36 months.
Two AA batteries are included, but these are for in-store try-me purposes. LeapFrog recommends replacing the batteries before you play for best results.
Some of the animal sounds aren't sounds at all but made-up melodies. For instance, the sound for the ant is the tinkling of a xylophone. If a child hasn't listened to all of the sounds before being asked to find an animal based on its sound, finding the right animal can be difficult. And, as with the letters, the toy doesn't let kids know whether or not they have guessed the right animal. This makes the toy more an information and entertainment toy than a real learning toy.
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