What the Tech? Tech Toys for Kids

It isn’t too difficult to make a child’s eyes light up on Christmas morning.

They’ll run to the tree, tear open all the presents and then if you’re fortunate, they’ll play with some of the toys for hours.

That doesn’t always happen though and some toys you buy are simply tossed aside and forgotten. I’ve been looking for some tech toys that kids will most likely play with for a much longer period of time.

Children in K-7th grade do not need a smartphone. It’s an unpopular position for parents but it’s scary handing a child access to the internet 24/7. A better option would be a tablet with parental controls.

Amazon’s Fire 7 Kids Edition is a nice choice. It’s inexpensive, only $100 (but it’s on sale now for $60). The HD 8 inch display is $90.

Amazon says they’re kid proof which means they’re built solidly and have a bumper surrounding the screen to protect it. It’s an Android tablet but Amazon does a great job with its parental controls.

Many of the features though require a subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited which is $3 a month. It includes 20,000 apps made just for kids, games, books, and videos plus educational content from several of the big players in children’s entertainment. Disney, PBS and Nickelodeon.

There are two worthy tablet competitors.

Alcatel’s Joy Tab Kids is a similar tablet with the same type of protection. These tablets are bulkier and heavier than the iPads and Kindles parents want, but they’re more likely to survive multiple drops and bumps.

The Joy Tab Kids is also an Android tablet and it comes stuffed with games and videos. It connects to the internet over WiFi but there’s also the capability to connect to T-Mobile’s LTE network for an additional charge.

Verizon has the Gizmo Tablet which, again, is built and loaded with games and apps for kids. It’s very similar in size to the Amazon Fire Kids and Alcatel Joy Tab Kids. There are lots of games and videos and parents have total control over the content, including whether they can connect to a browser and watch YouTube.

For kids who are into building things I really am impressed with the Botzees robot building kit. When you open the box the pieces look familiar to parents and kids, they’re like big Lego pieces.

The kit has directions for dozens of different robot characters and they’re easy enough for children to put together. Along with the Lego-type version of the robot is an actual moving or rolling robot.

The augmented reality robotics kit allows kids to create their own design or follow the directions to build a robot suggested by Botzees. Once the robot is built it can be controlled with a smartphone.

Boys seem to be more into building robots so Boolean University released a game or robotics kit, especially for girls. The Boolean Box has everything someone needs to build an operational computer. It comes with a keyboard, mouse, Rasberry Pi and all the wires and connectors they need to put together a working computer.

There are directions in the box of course but there’s also a free course online that comes with the kit. Boolean University also has a YouTube channel that walks users through the steps to build a variety of computers and devices.

I don’t see anything about the Boolean Box that makes it gender-specific but Boolean is marketing this product to girls as a way to encourage more females to get excited about STEM courses (science, technology, engineering, and math).

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