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Charming moves and sounds
Compelling learning and play apps
In today’s STEM-friendly world, teaching your kids how to code is as simple as getting them their own programmable robot. Sound complicated? It's really not; the Wonder Workshop Dash Coding Robot is ideally suited for kids ages 6 and up.
Once kids rip the Dash from the box, they’ll discover endless possibilities. They can teach the robot to sing, dance, and play — all through voice commands and the aid of corresponding apps. The Dash provides an open-ended platform to ensure that tech is introduced in a simple and accessible way. The idea is to build confidence through fun and, in this case, the Dash succeeds.
Connecting to iOS and Android devices, there are four different apps that teach different coding skills. The apps assist with teaching kids the fundamentals of robotics and coding. Additionally, it helps to discover the robot’s sensors and sounds as well as teaching the robot how to play. Each app is the first step into what can be a lifetime of skills and eventually a career.
Keyboard feels comfortable
Excellent battery life
Design isn’t as slick as some pricier Chromebooks
Performance suffers in some areas
With up to 10 hours of battery life and a rugged build that can more than withstand a few bumps and bruises, the 2.65-pound ASUS C202SA Chromebook is the ideal laptop for children.
Powered by an Intel Core Processor and 4GB of RAM, the computer has 16GB of storage and Google provides more than 100GB of cloud storage through Google Drive with every purchase. It has a spill-resistant keyboard and reinforced rubber designed specifically for students both inside and outside of the classroom.
The C202SA is also designed to withstand a drop from a height of 3.9 feet without any sort of functional disruption. Beyond durability, the 180-degree hinge is ideal for fully opening the Chromebook to provide better viewing angles, especially during study groups.
Loaded with features
Durable, lightweight design
Poor photo resolution
Complicated menu system
For children ages 3 months to 9 years, the VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera will give your kid their first glimpse at photography life and provide hours of entertainment. With two cameras switching between the front and rear lens, the DUO is good for selfies while still offering 4x digital zoom, a built-in flash, five games and parental control settings to limit game playtime.
The 2.4-inch TFT display pairs with a 1.92-megapixel camera for capturing shots, which can be stored within the 256MB of on-board memory. Fortunately, there’s room for memory expansion with a microSD card that can be purchased separately. To help preserve battery life (four AA batteries), the kid-friendly camera automatically shuts off after three minutes of no usage.
Courtesy of Amazon
Free replacement parts
Upgrade kits available
Great for teachers
No need for tools or soldering
Reports of missing and defective parts
Reports of DOA sets
When shopping for toys for your kids, it’s important to choose something that will hold their interest long after the first day. The Snap Circuits Junior kit has you covered. This building kit is great for kids who love to take things apart and see how they work. The set includes 30 different color-coded parts and easy-to-follow instructions to help kids build over 100 different electrical projects, including an adjustable volume siren, clap-activated music circuits, simple light switches, and a photosensor.
There are three different upgrade kits available to expand this set and keep your child building and learning the basics of electrical engineering. All of the parts in this set snap together without the need for tools or soldering, making it safe for kids as young as 8 to use either by themselves or with minimal supervision. Not only is this set great for playing with at home, but it’s also great for grade school teachers to use in the classroom for hands-on science lessons.
Courtesy of Amazon
Great for indoor and outdoor play
Appeals to kids of all ages
Short battery charge
Reports of DOA units
Instructions may be difficult to follow
Remote controlled toys are an old standby for Christmas and birthday presents, and for good reason — adults, teens, and kids alike never fail to have hours of fun racing cars and doing tricks. The GBlife Jumping Car is no exception. This RC car can reach a max speed of just over four miles per hour and is designed for trick and stunt driving. The body of the toy features what GBlife calls a “bionic foot” which, with the push of a button on the control pad, allows the car to jump over 31 inches over obstacles.
The rubberized wheels are perfect for driving over a variety of surfaces both in the house and outside; they can collapse close to the toy body to drive through small spaces or perform tight spins. The Jumping Car features LED lights on the front of the body so kids can continue to play long after the sun sets. It also plays sounds and music while you drive it. The toy includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that reaches a full charge in as little as 50 minutes and provides almost half an hour of play on full power.
Check out our guide to the best remote controlled cars you can buy today.
Builds on basic alphabet lessons
Teaches tech and media literacy
Great for pretend play
No headphone jack for quiet play during travel
The LCD display is not backlit
The Leapfrog My Own Leaptop is the perfect choice for parents looking for toys that build upon basic alphabet lessons. This toy has four different modes that help kids ages 3 to 5 learn to spell, phonics, and word association. It also is great for teaching the basics of technology and media literacy because kids can be just like Mom or Dad with their very own computer!
The alphabet learning mode lets your child see and hear the letter while also learning a word that starts with that letter. Kids can also pretend to send emails to Leapfrog characters Scout and Violet in order to learn how to write basic sentences. There are even trivia and letter matching games that reinforce what your child learns. Parents can create a Leapfrog Learning Path for their children for custom email messages from Scout and Violet and to find more fun spelling lessons.
Great starter copter
Indoor and outdoor use
Short fly time
No camera or GPS
Reports of touchy throttles
Gift shopping for teens can be frustrating. It can be difficult to find a gift, especially a toy, that doesn’t feel too childish and also doesn’t break the bank. That’s where the Holy Stone Predator Mini Quadcopter comes in. With drones and quadcopters becoming ever more popular, this one is the perfect introductory model for teens interested in using one of their own. It has three different speed modes to accommodate users of all skill levels — A slow mode for beginners, intermediate for more experienced flyers, and a fast mode for experts looking for more challenge and to perform stunts.
The quadcopter also uses 6-axis gyro stabilization to keep it level while hovering and flying through the air, so you never have to worry about wobble and tilt while playing. The propellers have safety rails to protect them from accidental bumps. Holy Stone also packages this quadcopter with spare propellers in case of damage. The body of the copter has colorful LED lights so you and your kids can keep having fun long into the evening hours.
Fits standard 8.5” x 11” paper
Great for kids of all ages
If you have kids that are interested in art and drawing, the Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad is perfect for them. This lap desk features bright LED lights that allow them to easily trace, draw and color all sorts of scenes and characters. The tracing pad comes with 10 tracing patterns, 10 blank sheets of paper, graphite pencil, and 12 colored pencils to get your kids’ creative ideas going.
The frame fits standard 8.5 x 11-inch paper, so your kids can use printer and notebook paper when they’re out of blank sheets. The frame also features a non-slip surface to keep patterns and paper in place for crisp lines. The tracing sheets have over 100 different images to help your kids learn to create comics, cartoons, and build scenes. Crayola offers even more patterns on their website that you can download and print for free.
Reports of faulty air skirts on hover disc
Drains batteries quickly
A lot of sports-oriented toys, especially electronic ones, are meant to strictly be used outside. While that’s great most of the time, it can be frustrating for kids who want to play on rainy or dangerously hot days. The WisToyz Hover Soccer set lets kids play soccer or air hockey inside when the weather isn’t cooperating. The set comes with two goal nets, a hover disk, inflatable soccer ball, and a hand pump.
The hover disc works well with tile, laminate, hardwood, and even carpeted flooring, making it great for finished basements or playrooms. The hover disc features a soft foam bumper to protect your walls and furniture from dings and scratches from errant kicks. It also has multicolored LED lights for fun in the dark. The inflatable soccer ball that is included is great for taking the set outside when the weather is nice. The entire set is backed by a three-year warranty and a one-year money-back guarantee, so you can be sure almost any problem is covered by the company, hassle free.
No WiFi or Bluetooth
Reports of bad charging cables
Smartwatches are becoming more and more popular with adults, so, naturally, kids and teens are starting to want some of their own. The VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX is the perfect starter model for kids interested in smart tech. The Smartwatch DX has most of the same features as a grown-up’s version — voice recording, camera, clock, calendar, calculator, alarm, stopwatch, timer, and step tracker.
The watch also has 11 different games to play and challenges to complete using the built-in motion sensor. The built-in camera allows kids to take photos with friends and customize them with fun filters and frames. The microphone lets them add silly voice effects to recordings. The watch does not have WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities, so parents can rest assured their children cannot download apps or access media without permission. The Smartwatch DX also has parental controls to lock games during school hours or homework time to keep kids focused.
Our writers spent 57 hours researching and testing the most popular electronics gifts for kids on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
Safety - The biggest feature set to look for when buying electronic toys for kids has to do with safety. Headphones should have volume limiters, tablets and computers should have great parental controls, fun toys like hoverboards should have the appropriate UL ratings, and so on.
Built-in vs. replaceable batteries - When selecting an electronic gift for a kid, make sure to pay attention to what type of batteries it uses. If it’s an option, look for one that comes with a built-in, rechargeable battery so the child doesn’t have to ask an adult for new batteries all the time.
Entertainment - Children don’t typically get excited when they hear about educational toys, but there are a ton of great electronic gifts that make learning fun. Look for toys, gadgets, and kits that promote creative thinking and motor skill development and help teach kids about the world in fun ways.
Easy to use
Long battery life
Heavy for its size
According to one of our testers, this laptop was “really easy to set up and even easier to use.” Translation: it’s perfect for kids. Another plus? Its “outstanding” durability: “It’s something you notice from the first time you open the box,” observed one tester. “You can tell it's made for wear and tear. Even the keyboard feels sturdy, somehow.” Our reviewers did note that it was heavy for its size.
Very good battery life
Not as straightforward for younger kids
This camera won the approval of our testers and their families. One reviewer, whose three kids all used it, said that they “loved the photo effects, selfie collages, and stickers.” Durability was also a highlight, with one tester observing that “there are no fragile pieces and that’s a big pro.” However, one of our reviewers thought that this camera might be a better fit for slightly older children. “It's a bit much for a 3- to 5-year-old to be able to use independently,” he noted.
Great for STEM skills
Fun voice recording feature
Our testers recommended this robot based on its incorporation of STEM skills and overall entertainment value for kids. One of our reviewers explained, “There is some critical thinking involved in learning how to make the robot move and there are plenty of calculations to do when using this product.” Our testers also thought it was durable and particularly liked the feature that allows you to record and play back your voice. The downside? According to one of our reviewers, “If the user is not really savvy with tech or understanding basic coding it can seem tedious and discourage usage and play.” It takes some time to learn and get the hang of, cautioned our testers, but one reviewer gushed, “Dash is like a member of the family — our own robot!”
Teaches kids to code
Has multiple difficulty levels
Unsure about ongoing app support
“Cozmo is a pretty clever way to teach kids how to code,” said our tester. “The app and the interactions make it feel like you're playing, not learning, which is a great way to get kids on board.” She also liked that it could appeal to kids with different skill levels: “The Cozmo app offers two levels on the Code Lab—one for beginners and one for more advanced kids,” she said. “It keeps little ones from getting overwhelmed and older ones from getting bored.” In terms of downsides, she noted its high price tag and voiced concerns about its ongoing app support: “Anki recently announced that it’d be shutting its doors and laying off all staff,” she said. “Bugs or other issues could cause the app, and therefore Cozmo, to be useless, especially if it's not being regularly updated or patched.” Update: the company has created a self-serve help center and will be monitoring cloud operations for Anki accounts.