The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

0
36
This original message was seen on site

Finding the perfect gadget gifts for children is trickier than it looks. The children’s toy market is awash with over-priced junk destined to end up unloved and forgotten at the bottom of a toy box within days of being unwrapped. How do you find kid’s tech that’s inspiring and educational, but fun enough to keep them coming back to it? We have just the right picks.

We’re not going to look at obvious categories like tablets or smartphones — we have separate roundups for those. This is about interesting and unusual gadgets that will hopefully delight your wee ones. This is the best tech for kids. We have included the suggested age from the manufacturer here, but we’ve found that as long as they’re supervised, younger kids will also really enjoy most of these gadgets and toys.

Galaxy Zega Battle Tanks ($150+)

Transform your living room floor into a battleground and go head-to-head with smartphone-controlled tanks. Thanks to Galaxy Zega’s clever design, it’s quick and easy to slot a battleground together. You can use Android and iOS devices as remote controls, and the apps allow you to earn points and upgrade your tank. It’s also worth spending the extra $30 on the X-bases, because they act as power-up squares or flags that spice up the various game modes. Younger kids can enjoy the tanks, too, but they’ll need some supervision and a smartphone or tablet to join in the fun.

Buy one now from:

Galaxy Zega

Jimu DIY Robot Buzzbot & Muttbot Robotics Kit ($120)

Here’s a robotics kit brimming with snap-together parts and servos that can be transformed into a robot that your child can then program and control via an Android or iOS app. It’s billed as a S.T.E.M. toy, and as such, it encourages problem solving and logical thinking. It’s also pretty easy to get into and loads of fun. You can put the kit together in multiple ways, too, and there are visual instructions to help you build the Buzzbot and like-minded Muttbot. Still, the robots require time, patience, and a smartphone or tablet to program, so this is best for older kids with some adult supervision.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Sphero BB-8 app-enabled Droid ($129+)

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

For any kids excited by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, what could be better than a branded BB-8 droid that can be remote controlled with an Android or iOS device? This super-cute robot rolls around in any direction, with his head floating magnetically on top. The companion app is packed with official Star Wars sound effects and a few different activities, such as the ability to record holographic messages, so you and your kids can have more fun with BB-8. The Star Wars tie-in does mean that the price is a little inflated for what this is, but most kids will love it. Watch our first look video.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Apple

Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot ($183)

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

What kid wouldn’t love to build their own 4-foot-tall robot that’s capable of mimicking them and responding to instructions? There are around 1,200 parts to this, including a brain, LED eyes, and eight motors. You can use an Android or iOS app with it, but it’s easier to teach the Meccanoid through direct manipulation. There are lots of voice commands you can use, and it can be reconfigured into something less humanoid — but be warned, it takes a long time to build.

Buy one now from:

Walmart

littleBits Electronics Gizmos & Gadgets Kit ($175+)

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Building their own gadgets can be enormously appealing for kids, but it’s a lot easier to dismantle something than it is to put it together. Fortunately, the LittleBits line of electronics provides them with all the materials they need to build their own devices. It’s easy to fit the different components together using the clear guides and a companion app, but there’s also room for their own ideas and tweaks. It’s a fun group activity that combines science and art. Read our hands on review here.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit ($150)

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

How would you modernize slot-car race tracks? Anki Overdrive could be the answer. It’s like a cross between Scalextric and Mario Kart. Cars are controlled by an Android or iOS device, and you can race or battle each other. You can fit up to four cars on the track at once, but you don’t need company because the AI is impressively good. The track can be slotted together to create various different layouts, and you can add extra packs to extend it.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Circuit Maze Board Game ($30)

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

This puzzle game teaches your kids all about how circuits and electricity work. It’s a well-made game with 60 different challenges to beat. They’ll need to move the pieces around and fit them in the right sequence to solve each puzzle. The challenges come in three different difficulty levels. It’s great for developing problem solving skills, and, more importantly, it’s fun for adults to play along with their kids. If you’re trying to cut down on screen time, this is a nice alternative.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

SelfieMic Selfie Stick Microphone ($32)

If your youngster has their heart set on a career as a pop star — or they just enjoy singing — then the SelfieMic could be a real hit. It’s a selfie stick that comes outfitted with a microphone, though you’ll need to provide the smartphone in order to use it properly. There’s also a companion app available for Android and iOS devices that’s packed with potential karaoke songs. Your kids can even edit their creations, add effects, and share them instantly. That said, you’ll definitely want to supervise younger kids with this one.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

SAM Labs Science Museum Inventor Kit ($139)

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

The elegant simplicity of this electronics kit is appealing for kids and adults alike. You get a light sensor, a buzzer, a tilt sensor, a motor, and a few other bits and pieces in the box. Start up the software on your computer and you’ll find a simple interface where you can move and link together the various blocks. It’s not just about creating sequences for the electronics, either. You can also trigger your computer to play sounds, capture photos, and send tweets. This particular kit was produced in partnership with the London Science Museum, and includes guides that encapsulate everything from Morse code to alarm systems.

Buy one now from:

Amazon SAM Labs

Mattel View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack ($14)

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Virtual reality is starting to take off and it’s exciting. There are a few headsets that use your smartphone as the screen, but this is the first one we’ve seen that’s specifically aimed at kids. It works with various smartphones, just like Google Cardboard, and there are a number of compatible VR apps and games currently available for Android and iOS. In a nod to the view-masters of yesteryear, Mattel has also included reels that trigger different augmented-reality experiences. You can buy various $15 reel packs, which cover topics such as space and wildlife. Read more here.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Dino-Lite AM2111 handheld 0.3 MP digital microscope ($99)

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

It’s amazing what you can see with a microscope. Your kids will love collecting samples to examine, and even everyday objects can reveal surprises. This handheld microscope plugs into your computer, laptop, tablet, or phone — the software supports Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS — and shows from 10X up to 220X magnification. There are also four LEDs to illuminate your subject and a plastic stand you can slot it into. You can also use it to capture photographs or video.

Buy one now from:

Amazon