Finding the right toys for kids is difficult these days. You want your child to be happy with it but you also want a toy that helps prepare them for the rest of their life.
Leapfrog is a company that promises to provide squarely on the intersection of those concepts. And, for the most part, they do.
Interaction via the computer is an important aspect of their toys. To make it possible, they’ve developed proprietary software called Leapfrog Connect that allows you to access important features of the toys.
However, a lot of people run into various problems when installing Leapfrog Connect on their Chromebooks.
The Bad News
There’s no easy way to say this, but Chromebooks aren’t exactly designed to support third-party software.
That means that they don’t support Leapfrog Connect. In fact, they only support apps from the Google Play store. Effectively, this means that you can’t install Leapfrog Connect on the Chrome OS.
Moreover, depending on the Leapfrog toy that you bought, that could mean that the toy is functionally useless.
The simplest solution is to install the software on a computer that doesn’t run Chrome OS. Also, you can install it on your Chromebook if said Chromebook is running another operating system.
The Good News
It’s not all doom and gloom for Chromebook owners, however. There is a workaround that allows you to install Leapfrog Connect on your Chromebook. Unfortunately, it involves installing a different operating system.
What you’ll be installing is Ubuntu environment developed for Chromebook called Crouton.
This is quite an extensive process and it involves a lot of steps, but you don’t need to be very tech-savvy if you just follow the steps carefully. However, it helps to have someone who knows their way around a computer.
Since the OS change exceeds the scope of this article, we’ll assume that you’ve installed the Crouton environment on your Chromebook and proceed with the Leapfrog installation.
Installing Leapfrog Connect
Whether you choose to install Crouton on your Chromebook or just use another computer, you’ll still need to install Leapfrog Connect to get your toy to work.
Every Leapfrog toy has specially designed software. So, you’ll need to make sure you’ve downloaded the right software for your toy. For this example, we’ll be looking at how to install the software for the LeapReader, but the process will be very similar for pretty much every toy. Follow the steps below:
- Head over to Leapfrog’s support website  to find the software downloads.
- Scroll down through the website until you find your toy. Again, we’ll be using the LeapReader as an example. When you find the one you need, click on the “Download” button under it and the download should automatically start.
- When the download finishes, run the setup application that you just installed.
- Follow the instructions in the setup wizard as they appear. Part of the setup will be to download the latest version of the software for your toy. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or so, depending on the toy.
- When it’s done installing, connect your leapfrog toy to the computer and run the application. The program will walk you through the available options.
That’s all there is to it, customize your toy and enjoy it!
Leap into the Action
Unfortunately, Leapfrog Connect isn’t available for Chrome OS. They’re designed to work exclusively with applications from Google’s App Store.
But that doesn’t mean you should give up as there is a way to bypass this shortcoming. If you install a new operating system on your Chromebook, you’ll be able to run third-party software on it without much trouble.
Your best option is an open-source OS called Crouton that runs on the Ubuntu framework. The process is a little complicated, but it will let you use your Chromebook to customize your Leapfrog toy and use other programs while you’re at it.
Have you run into other compatibility issues with the Chrome OS before? If so, how did you resolve them? Share your experiences in the comments.