Like it or not, the next generation of kids is growing up in a world full of gadgets and technology. Sure, some teenagers don’t know how to converse in full sentences (sheesh, when did I get so old?!) but there are so many wonderful benefits to having so much information at their fingertips. Instead of resisting, why not just shop for a gift that will appease the tech-savvy kid, a gift that might just have an added benefit of education or quality family time?
Here are some of my favorite tech gifts of 2015–
- iHome Portable Speaker. This is actually a speaker with an aux jack, and without bluetooth capabilities. While I tend to collect Bluetooth-enabled speakers, the aux speakers actually work better for my 7-year-olds. It’s much easier for them to plug their mp3 player in using the headphone jack than to try and set up wireless listening. This is a great little speaker, and less than $20!
- LeapFrog Leap Band. The first wearable tech just for kids, the Leap band offers fitness tracking as well as activity challenges they’ll love. All three of my kids got these in stockings this month and we’re having so much fun! Parental controls allow you to set play times and goals. Kids get to take care of a pet that “lives” on the device; pets thrive on play so the more activity the child completes, the more fun they’ll both have! (Check out another option, the LeapTV, that provides entertainment and activity for the whole family.)
- Sony Walkman. No, I haven’t forgotten wheat year it is. When I was looking for the right mp3 player for my kids last year, I came across the much newer and much-improved “walkman”. It’s durable and easy to use, even for younger kids. It does have the hassle of having to load mp3s the old-fashioned way, but it’s a really great option if you aren’t ready to give your children internet-enabled options like the iPod touch (below).
- Lifeproof nuud Case for iPad. This definitely bulks up the family iPad, which is totally annoying. Considering it makes the iPad waterproof and shockproof though, it was an absolute necessity for our device that sees far more playtime from the under-10 set than from the grownups.
- Disney Infinity (or Nintendo Amiibo or Skylanders). We’re a tad late to the hybrid collectible figure + video game craze, but now that my kids are a bit bigger they are totally digging Disney Infinity 3.0. I’ll admit, it’s a tad overwhelming for me because it offers no fewer than 1 trillion options at a time, but the kids don’t seem to mind. My husband has taken quite a liking to it, too, proving it’s a good gift for family members of all ages. From the limited time I’ve played (I don’t often get a turn!) I know you can defeat enemies, decorate a house, and race vehicles… all in one game. It pretty much covers everyone! I’ll admit, we’re pretty intrigued by Amiibo too, since it requires much less to play… and we are totally from the Mario generation!
- Lego Dimensions. This takes the playset game a step further, and looks absolutely incredible for Lego fans! Build your own set, add several characters from your favorite franchises, and watch them all come to life on your game system!
- Rosetta Stone Kids Reading. Using their proven techniques for language acquisition, Rosetta Stone now offers a fun, interactive program that teaches and improves reading skills in children ages 3-7. Using games, activities, and charming characters called Lingos, kids stay engaged and learn at their own pace.
- LeapPad 3, Platinum, Ultra, or Glo / VTech Innotab Max. Full disclosure, my kids have been raised LeapFrog kids from the time my twins were born. We have had countless LeapFrog tech toys from interactive infant toys to the previous LeapPad incarnations. I highly recommend them (and the coordinating games, where you’ll find something for everyone!) but this year my son is getting a VTech Innotab Max. It was absolutely because of a great deal I scored, but I’m anxious to compare the experience!
- Amazon Kindle Fire Kids edition. We don’t have one of these, but everyone we know just loves the value for the price. The thing that is most appealing to me? “If they break it, we replace it. No questions asked.”
- Nikon CoolPix S33. My girls have the predecessor to this camera, the Coolpix S31. This camera is technically not marketed as a “kids camera”, but it’s easy to use, ridiculously durable, and has lots of fun animation that screams, “I’m actually a kids camera!” The pictures are far superior to a toy, but it’s still waterproof, freezeproof, and shockproof up to 5 feet. It’s a decent little camera with HD video capabilities, and all for less than $100!
- HP ENVY 5540 All-in-One Inkjet Printer. The older my girls get, the more I realize the need for not only a good, easy-to-use printer, but way more ink than I ever think I’ll need. Ever since attending the Disney Social Media Moms on-the-road event, I have marveled at some of the things the printers can do for kids and families. The mom who was presenting said she has a timer set on the printer to just automatically spit out new (& free!) coloring pages and activity sheets for her kids while she’s making dinner. Is that absolute genius or what?! HP also offers “Instant Ink” where you select a plan and your printer automatically orders ink for you when you need it, instead of trying to track it down at several stores before they close, the night before homework is due. Not that we’ve ever had that problem… For a limited time, you can try the service free for 6 months! Check it out here.
More Expensive but Totally Worth it
- iPod Touch. I think it’s worth mentioning that you should really do some research and some thinking before buying an iPod touch for your kids, but at some point it may be practically inevitable. If your kids are old enough to safely browse the internet, message friends or family, etc (there are parental controls, but this is not marketed as a toy), then this is a wonderful choice with lots of great education and entertainment options.
- Wonder Workshop Dash and Dot Robots. Kids learn to code with their new robot friends Dot and Dash. These robots interact with the world around them and can be programmed to do anything you imagine. From the manufacturer: “Deliver a message to a friend, have a dance party, and even navigate through an obstacle course.”
- Star Wars Legendary Jedi Master Yoda. I got to play with Legendary Yoda at the D23 Expo in August, and it was the coolest thing there. Yoda has voice recognition technology and speaks more than 100 phrases. His movements (especially in warrior mode!) are realistic and totally awesome.
And for what it’s worth, I totally wanted to put a drone on here, because who doesn’t want a drone? I just didn’t know where to start. Anyone have suggestions, in case someone is looking? Leave them in the comments below! 🙂
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.