Stuff We Like: Top Tech Gifts for Kids
A dozen tech toys worth your money (and your kids’ time!)
by NYMetroParents Staff
Music to Their Ears
Seven-year-old Amalia of Rockland, a finalist in our 2013 Kids’ Cover Contest, models Jlab Jbuddies Kids’ Volume Limiting Headphones, available in pink, blue, purple, and black (for ages 2 and older; $24.99).
Hat & Glove Upgrade
The kids have worn us down enough that we’re ready to support their technophile habits wholeheartedly, huh? Or maybe we just want to enable them to text us when they need something… Check out these cold-weather accessories from RUUM American Kid’s Wear: stylish texting gloves (sizes 5-7, 8-14: $9.50) and headphone hats ($19.50) that’ll keep kids cozy and connected (hat comes with removable ear-bud headphones).
Skyrocket Toys’ Quick Attach Microscope ($14.99) snaps over the camera lens of any iPhone, iPod, iPad, or Android device to turn the camera into a lens that magnifies items up to 30 times their actual size (ages 3 and older; available at Best Buy stores).
The digital, waterproof Action Vivitar Helmet Camera (ages 8 and older; $79.99) mounts on the top or side of your child’s helmet to capture 5.1 megapixel still shots and high-definition video (720p). You can preview movies of their downhill bike racing, sledding, or hiking adventures on the camera’s LCD screen, or download video from the micro SD card to entertain on larger screens at home.
Not yet clued in to what a HEXBUG is? We’re here to enlighten: A HEXBUG is a micro-robotic creature that reacts to its environment or that you control. Simply put, these entertaining little plastic guys vibrate, flip back over when put on their backs, scurry around barriers—and now V2 gravity-defying ‘bugs’ can climb vertically, horizontally, around corners, through loops, and to the top of any Nano V2 habitat set. We recommend the HEXBUG Nano V2 Black Hole with a customizable design (for ages 3 and older; $49.99).
Do the Robot
Arm yourselves with plenty of batteries, because Disco Robo (for ages 4 and older; $37) from Tosy is one dance partner you’ll want to keep around. This cute little robot has beat-sensitive technology that helps him keep time with whatever music you choose—he’ll even bop to your clapping hands.
Don’t let your kids co-opt your cell chargers at will—organize your family’s multiple device accessories with these cool vinyl labels, and indulge in a little humor while you’re at it (these characters love to stick their tongues out when in use). The reusable iPhone Charger Sticker Faces ($12.95) come with 4 colored sticker sets for a power adapter, USB cord (both ends), and earphones.
For Budding Inventors
Watch in awe—or collaborate!—as your kid becomes a real product inventor with the hands-on Hänz Inventors Lab(for ages 8 and older; $64.95), which uses the Innovation Superstar Training System, employed by major corporations to teach creative problem-solving, collaboration, and innovation. She’ll piece together beams, wheels, and ‘brain’ parts to build digital products that you can actually use—and then submit designs online to compete with other young inventors. Educational materials and other resources are also available online.
There’s no substitute for human interaction, but learning can happen independently, too. The LeapReader Reading & Writing System sounds out words and reads sentences while building your child’s reading comprehension skills—and it offers interactive writing guidance on mess-free, no-ink writing paper. The LeapReader library consists of more than 150 titles, including books, maps, and flash cards (this product is also compatible with most books in the Tag library). Audio books and music albums are also available to download. (For ages 4-8; $49.99)
Lucy, I’m Home!
I Love Lucy: Colorized Christmas—okay, a DVD isn’t exactly high-tech, but we think any screen time qualifies!—includes both colorized and black-and-white versions of classics The Lucy Christmas Special, Lucy Goes to Scotland, and Lucy’s Italian Movie. If you treasured this groundbreaking series when you were younger, why not introduce a new generation to the unbridled laughter inspired by the grand Ms. Ball? Fun fact: Did you know that the Ricardos and Mertzes moved to the ’burbs in the final season—from NYC’s Upper East Side to Westport, CT? (Not rated; $16.99; CBS Home Entertainment)
Give ‘Em a Boost
Here’s a sleek gift option to put on the short list for busy parents—especially ones who travel for work or who simply rely on their mobile devices to a fault: The Boost 4200 battery pack ($54.99) features a micro-USB DC input to use with most smartphone chargers and a high output (2.1A) USB port for charging mobile devices. This ultra-slim, palm-sized backup packs enough power to charge most smartphones twice. Just give it a quick shake and its LED lights will show just how much charge remains.
Make Fitness Fun
Wii Fit U brings your Wii Fit experience to a whole new level! Using the Wii Balance Board (required to use this new product), Wii Fit U uses a clip-on fit meter to track your workouts outside the home and syncs to the game, allowing you to compete with and get support from family members and friends via an online community. Original workouts include bouncing on a trampoline and learning how to salsa dance. (Download the game on Nintendo eShop for free through Jan. 31, then sync with your Fit Meter to keep using the software after initial one-month trial ends; $19.99 for Fit Meter; $89.99 for Wii Fit U, Fit Meter, and Wii Balance Board bundle)