The 8 Best Electronic Toys for Kids in 2021

The right buys for all of your gifting needs

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Introducing your children to tech and STEM can happen at any age, and these are the best electronic toys for kids that can help you on that journey! These toys are educational, hardy, and encourage the repetition of both motor and mental skills to promote developmental growth. This growth makes these devices perfect for creating a healthy relationship with tech. 

Electronics can enhance a multitude of activities already incorporated into your child's everyday life. If you are specifically looking for certain items, check out our picks for The 6 Best Laptops for Kids, The 8 Best Wearables for Kids, and The 8 Best Drones for Kids! Otherwise, read on to see the best electronic toys for kids.

The Rundown
They can teach the robot to sing, dance, and play — all through voice commands and the aid of corresponding apps.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is a flexible and affordable 2-in-1 laptop that supports a pen for drawing and sketching.
Two cameras switching between the front and rear lens make this good for selfies while still offering 4x digital zoom.
The set includes 30 different color-coded parts and easy-to-follow instructions to help kids build over 100 different electrical projects.
Best Early Childhood:
Leapfrog My Own Leaptop at Amazon
This toy has four different modes that help kids ages 3 to 5 learn to spell, phonics, and word association.
The tracing pad comes with 10 tracing patterns, 10 blank sheets of paper, graphite pencil, and 12 colored pencils.
Lets kids play soccer or air hockey inside when the weather isn’t cooperating.
The watch also has 11 different games to play and challenges to complete using the built-in motion sensor.

Best Educational: Wonder Workshop Dash Coding Robot

 Wonder Workshop Dash – Coding Robot for Kids
What We Like
  • Charming moves and sounds

  • No-fuss setup

  • Compelling learning and play apps

  • Variety of add-on kits

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

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. Our reviewer, Andrew Hayward, tested it with his 6-year-old son, who didn't have a problem with the controls.

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. 

"It’s built tough like a kid-friendly toy should be, which again stands in strong contrast to some make-your-own kits that produce bots that you’d probably have to repair following a dive down the stairs. Dash looks like it can take some abuse." — Andrew Hayward, Product Tester

Dash Coding Robot

Lifewire / Andrew Hayward

Best Laptop: Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Lenovo Chromebook Duet
What We Like
  • Rock bottom price point

  • Excellent screen

  • High-quality build materials

  • Attractive, light, and portable design

  • Good at simple tasks

  • Solid battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Not very powerful

  • Limiting software

  • Detachable keyboard is unreliable

  • Outdated Bluetooth hardware

  • No audio port

The Chromebook Duet from Lenovo is a 2-in-1 device that does double duty as both a laptop and a tablet. The full keyboard is detachable and the screen is touch-sensitive. A folding kickstand on the back of the device props up the screen when it’s in laptop mode. Like other Chromebooks, the Duet runs Google’s Chrome OS. This is a somewhat limited operating system, but it’s very streamlined to use when you have a Google account and is actually an advantage if you’re shopping for a kid.

This device has 4GB of memory, which should be sufficient for both schoolwork and media streaming, and at least 64GB of onboard storage. That’s not a lot, but Chromebooks tend to have limited storage on the assumption that users are relying on the cloud—the Duet actually comes with a one-year free trial of Google One for just this purpose. In our benchmark testing, it managed a respectable PCMark Work 2.0 score of 6,646. The downsides to this device are the same downsides for most 2-in-1 devices: the screen is small for a laptop (10.1 inches) and the port options are very limited. The Duet only has a single USB-C port, but this can be remedied with a good USB-C hub.

"No corners were cut with the Duet’s display, and it really stands out in such an inexpensive device." Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Andy Zahn / Lifewire

Best Camera: VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera

What We Like
  • Loaded with features

  • Durable, lightweight design

  • 4 AA batteries included

  • Some storage included

What We Don't Like
  • Poor photo resolution

  • Poor video 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. Our reviewer didn't consider the photo quality anything special, but it's still a decent starting point for kids since it handles white balance and focus reasonably well. 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.

"Don’t expect crisp, clear, detailed photos worthy of prints, but despite all these limitations, the photos that the VTech takes aren’t altogether bad-looking." Jonno Hill, Lifewire

VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera

Lifewire / Jonno Hill

Best STEM: Snap Circuits Junior

Snap Circuits Junior
What We Like
  • Free replacement parts

  • Upgrade kits available

  • Great for teachers

  • No need for tools or soldering

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Best Early Childhood: Leapfrog My Own Leaptop

LeapFrog My Own Leaptop
What We Like
  • Builds on basic alphabet lessons

  • Teaches tech and media literacy

  • Great for pretend play

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Best for Art: Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad

What We Like
  • LED lights

  • Fits standard 8.5” x 11” paper

  • Great for kids of all ages

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of DOA units

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.

Best Sports: WisToyz Hover Soccer Ball Set

WisToyz Hover Soccer Ball Set
What We Like
  • Excellent warranties

  • Great for indoor and outdoor play

What We Don't Like
  • 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.

Best Smartwatch: VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX

VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX
What We Like
  • Budget friendly

  • Parental controls

  • No WiFi or Bluetooth

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of DOA units

  • 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 Wi-Fi 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.

Final Verdict

Our top pick for electronic toys for kids is the Dash robot (view at Amazon) from Wonder Workshop, it has a charming design, easy setup, and works as a great introduction to teaching kids ages 6 and up how to code. It's not a toy, but another good option for students is the portable 2-in-1 Lenovo Chromebook Duet (view at Amazon). It's a great Chromebook that's easy to take with you on the go.

About Our Trusted Experts

Andrew Hayward is a Chicago-based reviewer who covers tech, games, smartphones, wearables, and more. He reviews many kid-friendly products with the help of his son.

Jonno Hill has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. He specializes in photography and video, as well as PC hardware and gaming.

Andy Zahn has been writing for Lifewire since 2019, covering a wide range of consumer tech including laptops, desktops, games, and more.

FAQs

Are there that can help kids learn STEM skills?
There are many toys geared toward teaching kids programming basics. Our top pick, the Dash robot is one such device that acts as an intro to coding. It has an open-ended platform, support iOS, and Android devices, and has four different apps to teach coding skills. Other options are the Snap Circuits Junior, which is a great hands-on way to teach kids how things work and introduce them to electrical engineering.

What's a good laptop for a student?
We're fond of the Lenovo ChromeBook Duet for its compact 2-in-1 form factor and portability. It's light and thin so it won't weigh down a student's backpack. Chrome OS is also a fairly locked-down operating system, so it's hard to get it infected with viruses and malware. For older kids, take a look at our roundup of the best laptops for college students.

What are good parental control options?
Most connected kids' toys should have built-in parental control options, letting you restrict kids access to content, screen time, and more. Devices like the Kids Edition Amazon Fire devices have these features out of the box, they just need to be configured. If you're concerned about your whole network, be sure to take a look at our overview of the best parental control routers. Many of them allow you to create profiles for each individual child and customize what they have access too.

What to Look for in an Electronic Toy for Kids

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. You should also take a look at our roundup of parental control routers to keep your entire network safe.

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. Most toys use AA or coin cell batteries, while built-in batteries are lithium-ion.

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.

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