According to research from Kids Insights, data showing kids exposure to tech has risen to 21%. With the holiday season approaching, we give a round up of this years smart tech gadgets and toys that will keep your children entertained.
Gifting your child smart toys and gadgets will not only help raise smarter kids but can also encourage confidence and good habits, and it can be a way to structure their interests or hobbies. We have recommended the top 10 smart tech toys and gadgets specifically chosen for children to encourage a safer, happier and smarter digital experience.
Simply safer phones for kids
Age: 5-12 years | RRP: From £10 per month
SPACETALK is a 3G smartphone, GPS tracker and watch. The SPACETALK smart watch that’s also a safe phone, is designed so it’s safe and easy to use for a child with no social media and no internet access. Your child can make and receive calls from a set of contacts you choose in the AllMyTribe® smartphone app. If your child needs help, a special SOS alert function can be customised to call you and other guardians. When your child is wearing their SPACETALK smart watch, you can see your child’s location on your smartphone.
Parent Tip: It is possible to share access to SPACETALK devices with multiple users.
The latest in the edition of the Kids Edition Tablet
Age: 3- 12 years | RRP: From £54.00
Specifically designed for kids, the tablet has easy to use parental controls where you can set limits and educational goals, bedtime curfews, screen time, and in-app purchases to name a few.
Parent Tip: If more than one child will share the Kids Edition Tablet, you can create a lock screen PIN for each of their profiles so that each child only accesses content that is appropriate for them.
Interactive AI Robot with a personality
Age: 8+ | RRP: £79.99
The Anki robot combines AI (artificial intelligence) and robotics and reacts to sound, sight and touch. Some of its features are: it’ll answer your questions, take photos of you, set a timer and more.
Parent Tip: Younger children should go for the Cozmo robot although he is a little older. Functionally you get much more value for money for children from this cheaper version.
Enter the world of virtual reality
Age: 8+ | RRP: From £7.00
The View-Master Virtual Reality is a kid-friendly device that will surround you with 360-degree environments so you feel as if you are really there. It works by downloading one of the View-master VR apps to a smartphone, then by simply sliding the smartphone into the viewer to have a virtual reality experience.
Parent Tip: The Preview content within the associated apps is free; access to additional content and apps is sold separately.
Enables gaming on range of devices without the need of a console
Age All ages | RRP: £119.00
Google’s Stadia Premiere Edition is a new gaming platform that allows you to play video games across your TV, laptops, desktops and selected mobile devices through your WiFi connections.
All the games are streamed from the cloud so there is no need to download any games on your devices. All you’ll need is to invest in is a Stadia controller and opt for the subscription to Stadia Pro which is £8.99 a month. The free version on the streaming service is coming next year.
Parent Tip: All parental controls can be controlled through an exisiting Family Link account. This will allow you to set content restrictions based on game ratings and how children connec with other players.
Takes Augmented reality to the next level
Age: 2-12 years | RRP: From £55.00
Osmo makes hand-on learning games in which kids can use objects in the real world to interact with the digital world from their iPad device. There is a range of recommended educational and fun games compatible with Osmo that parents can purchase separately.
Parent Tip: Osmo has three separate ranges aimed at three different age groups: 2 to 5 years, 6 to 10 years and 5 to 12 years.
Build your own Avengers toy
Age: 8+ | RRP: £149.99
The littleBits Avengers Hero Inventor Kit is great for kids who enjoy using their creativity and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) skills. Kids can easily assemble and build their hero gauntlet and download the free app to their smart device to follow instructions to set up the many features their toy can do.
Parent Tip: Requires a smart device – either iPhone (iOS 10.0 or later) or Android (5.0 or later) is required to build and control the Avengers gear.
A tiny, app-enabled robotic ball
Age: 8+ | RRP: £25.99
The Sphero Mini is a small robotic ball which can be used as a game controller or you can program it to travel around an obstacle course. Kids can also guide the Mini with their face using Bluetooth and the free app.
Parent Tip: The Sphero Mini is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android phone.
An interactive Bear
Age: 4+ | RRP: £69.99
The interactive bear comes responds with 100+ Sound-and-Motion Combinations such as moving his head, eyes, ears, nose etc. The bear can speak back when spoken to, dance and even play games with you.
Parent Tip: In night-mode, the bear can close its eyes, make sleepy sounds and play one of four 5-minute lullabies.
An interactive game for the family
Age: 6+ | RRP: £32.99
Beasts of Balance is a game of strategy and balance in which you build a tower of animals on your tabletop, then help them evolve in a connected digital world. The aim is to make the most fabulous world by strategically evolving your creatures and casting skill-based miracles – before your tower collapses.
Parent Tip: You can connect to the device over Bluetooth, tablets and smartphones running iOS or Android.
See more articles and resources to help children stay safe online.