BUYING toys for children at Christmas can be difficult.

You can take the easy route by simply buying the latest must-have toy.

Chances are this will be a fun toy - and we all know how important having fun is for children.

As fun as it might be for kids to have, well, fun toys, learning is important too. But how do you combine the two?

Leapfrog might just have the answer with its Leapster learning game system.

Not only does it combine the fun and learning aspects but it offers a good-value option if you are considering buying your child a games console this Christmas.

The system offers guilt-free, portable gaming wherever children take it.

Never worry whether children are spending too much playing computers games - with the Leapster, the playing is doing them good.

The handheld console lets children control the action as they play games, read electronic books and practice key maths and literacy skills.

The sneaky thing is they won't realise they are learning!

When my daughter was presented with a Leapster to try out she thought it was the coolest thing in the world, her little world anyway.

At just five-years-old she might not have a lot of life experience, but she knows what makes her little friends jealous - and this, she stated, would definitely be one of those things.

Being five she is the ideal age for a Leapster. The console is simple enough for her to use yet complex enough to keep her interested. As she got to grips with it, she didn't think for a moment that she was being educated!

"This is so fun," she said.

Another plus point with the Leapster is the software for it features many favourite children's characters such as Dora the Explorer, Noddy, Sonic and Ratatouille.

Price: RRP £49.99, software available from RRP: £19.99