We know Christmas is more than just presents, but when talking about presents, gadgets are the best gifts. Why? Every family has a techie, whether it’s your kid, your brother or your relative, and the best thing is that you get a chance to play with it too. Below, find our roundup of the best tech gifts for kids (some quite awesome for you too).
#1 Ozobot ($49.99)
Let’s start with robots, who doesn’t like them? In fact, everyone loves them. Ozobot is a cool little robot that responds to digital games on the tablet. The cool part is that it uses a coloured based programming language – your kid draws a line (or you, right?) and the robot follows the line (up to 3 inches per second), acting differently according to different colours. Therefore, while playing, the kids are in fact learning the basics of coding.
#2 Osmo ($79)
If your kids are spending much time on a tablet (as you do), you might want to consider Osmo kit, a toy that cleverly combines playing and learning. You will get a special mirror attachment that fits the iPad’s front camera (iPad 2, 3, 4, Air, Mini or Retina Mini), and a set of colourful letter tiles and a wooden Tangram set. The three games, Newton, Tangram, and Word that kids play with their hands appear on the tablet. In Newton, you use a pen and a piece of paper to draw; the app scans the drawing and adds it to a kinetic game. Tangram is a game of puzzles and Words that uses a set of thick cardboard letter tiles, which Osmo recognizes once you drop them on a surface. Two players can use separate sets, throw letters and guess the mystery words. Fun right?
#3 Tiggly ($29.95)
Tiggly is for younger children, around two or three years old. It pairs with apps to teach basic numeracy, combining virtual play and “real” play. It’s an interactive game that uses Tiggly Shapes or “blocks,” rubberized toys (circle, square, stars, triangle) that are easy to hold and well designed. Tiggly interacts with free iOS and Android apps, using a tablet as a tool for traditional learning.
#4 GoldieBlox (various kits)
Goldie, a girl, an inventor, who loves to build, offers different kits to play with, encouraging girls to build, create and experiment, because, after all, building isn’t just for boys, right? The Movie Machine kit ($23.99), for instance, teaches kids how to make their short movies with a little help of GoldieBlox tablet app. These interactive games encourage spatially and reading skills, and focus on some engineering principles (drawing, animation, zoetrope).
These tablets are built for kids, and they are very similar in functionality and specifications. LeapPad3 has a smaller screen but still good enough for a variety of games and educational apps. Ultra is a larger, 7-inch tablet, for the 4-9 age range. Parents can synchronise content to their children’s tablets. Cameras and video capabilities of both devices are identical, and apart from size, and price, there isn’t much difference between devices. Kids can play peer-to-peer games with others, which is great.
#6 Sphero ($99.99)
This is a toy for bigger kids. Connect the robotic ball to your smartphone or tablet, and play with various augmented reality apps, arcades apps, racing and driving apps and more. You can increase speed, brightness, and colour while you play.
Now, if you want to buy something different and spend a little more money, these products are interesting to think about.
For older kids (14+) this isn’t just a new gadget, but a creative one. 3Doodler is the first 3D printing pen, and this pretty much says a lot about it. If you notice that your kid has a talent and interest in designing and art in general, with your help, you can create some amazing things. Sure, you can find other 3D printing pens, but this is the best one. Remember this is not a toy (it has a metal tip that can get as hot as 240C), so treat it like an artistic tool, carefully.
If you want your kids to create a robot they imagine, then this is the perfect gift. Via an ARM A-9 processor (hooks up to a computer with a USB cable) and software that has a simple interface, they can bring their robots to life.
Lastly, not a gadget, but a game that is worth mentioning. Never Alone is a challenging game, which brings Alaskan culture and storytelling into a puzzle game. The design is amazing, and with an animal friend, spirits, gods, blizzards, and other things, the kids will be even more excited playing it. It’s available for download on XBOX ONE, PS4 and STEAM ($14.99). Once you see it, you are going to play it.