So... my dad sent the kids christmas presents and they are always the worst (HUGE, noisy, light-up toys for our tiny house). I've always donated them, usually before the kids see them (they get a ton of toys, we have a close extended family so this isn't as mean as it sounds!). This year they sent a box of wrapped presents so I couldn't weed them out first. They sent my son a disney "me reader" that I am going to sell or trade (basically reads books to your kid so you don't have to? Is my understanding). My son glanced at the box and tossed it aside, he really doesn't care. He's into trains, books, the log cabin kit he got, etc. Anyway, my sister received a leap pad explorer that her kid already has so she wants to give it to my son and is saying how great they are for traveling, restaurants, etc.
We are not totally media-free, but do our best to avoid it (especially if it seems excessive). Our 3-year-old watches some Dora or Diego, Busytown, or Thomas the train (not daily) and has never seen a movie. He's not attached to any disney characters and we do not buy him copyrighted character clothes or toys.
I don't plan on keeping him isolated from pop-culture or commercial media, or electronics, forever... but I guess I haven't decided when would be a good time to introduce electronic toys. I'm not sure that the Leap Pad is in line with my parenting style right now... but I wonder if I am wrong to turn down a free one without really investigating. Do any of you have any familiarity with this electronic toy? What do you think about it for a 3.5-year-old?
Thanks for any help! I know I could post this on the toddler forum but feel like I trust this group of moms more. I am working full-time and with the two little kids I just never have time to post and check in but come back to this site to read and check in when I can... and pose these kinds of questions! I hope everyone had warm family holidays!