Wow! I'm so glad someone else out here is thinking like me...well sort of. At least you have kids...We got the LeapPad for our 4 year old preschooler and the MindStation Leaplink companion--he loves it. The rub is that you have to download the different programs direct to the cartridge which connects via the serial port. You can't save them for future use/reuse...you have to go back out and re-download them. That's the business model--sell you a membership to allow you access to the downloads. Can't argue with that--but would rather find a way around it.
This has to be a pretty easy thing to hack but I'm not confident in how to proceed. I have found some very nice serial port sniffers both for Windows and Linux. These should allow someone to capture what's going on in the conversation. Then if you could just save all the lessons to a hard drive and come up with a way to load them at will??? I don't know if the MindStation is generating some authentication codes on the fly though to make each conversation unique or how tight they've made it. The other option is to find a way to "clone"/"copy" the data off from the cartridge once its there. That seems to me like it might be an easier task. The common cartridges are either 2MB or 4MB. From what I can determine they use a 40 contact (pin) (20 each side) ISA PCB edge connector--there is probably someone who could tell me how that is really described. I've pulled one apart and there are two big black blobs on the PCB...my guess is where they've covered a memory chip and maybe some other interface chip or something. Anyone else out there up for playing with this???
More to your question...once we figure out what the protocol is for sending/receiving/storing the data...we'll be a lot closer to being able to actually produce content. I don't know that Leap is in favor of that though. I have heard that they have considered producing content for adults like "English as a second language" etc... that would use the same LeapPad type of device.
I'll post some more info I've dug up when I get a little more time.