This past Christmas, tech toys seemed to be some of the more popular ones sold. In fact, kids spend, on average, 73 minutes a day playing video games, and this is just one corner of the tech toy marketplace. Parents invested big money into toys with touch screens and learning games this Christmas, and kids were happy to let them. Today’s technology makes it easy to incorporate the latest computerized system into toys for even the youngest kids. These are some of the hottest ones of the year.
The Nabi 2
The Nabi 2 is so much like mom and dad’s tablets, kids might not know they are playing on something designed for them. This seven-inch Android tablet has a 1.3 GHz Tegra 3 processor, 8 GB of storage and 1 GB RAM. It is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible and safe for streaming video. What makes it different from a tablet designed for adults is the kid-focused learning system built right into the tablet. It also has a collection of over 500 apps aimed at the four-to-ten age group. A colorful bumper on the outside of the tablet protects it from the inevitable drops.
The PlayStation Vita is a handheld video gaming system that includes a touch-screen, dual analog sticks, six-axis motion-sensor and a rear touch pad. If that does not sound high tech enough, it also has Wi-Fi and 3G capabilities to allow kids to interact with other players, as well as front and rear cameras. The device carries a hefty price tag, but kids who are lucky enough to have one seem to love it. It has many games designed specifically for kids, and the games play with console features that will remind the kids of their favorite TV-based console.
Wonderbook merges technology with old-school reading, allowing kids to interact with a physical storybook. It requires the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Eye camera, but families that already have this gear, or are willing to invest in it, can use it to help storybooks come to life. One of the books, the Book of Spells, allows kids to pretend they are in the Harry Potter stories as they learn to cast spells using their controller and the book. This is a system that parents have to see to believe, but chances are they will be more willing to let their kids play video games when they see them reading at the same time.
For parents who aren’t ready to invest in an actual tablet for their children, and who have kids who are too young for a handheld gaming system, Crayola DigiTools are a great compromise. They combine the wonder of Crayola with the magic of technology to allow kids to actually draw using an iPad. It even has a 3-D tool built in, and costs under $40 for the entire set of tools.
Oregon Scientific Fun Movie Cam
What kid doesn’t dream of making his own movies? The Oregon Scientific Fun Movie Cam goes anywhere kids go, even underwater up to nine feet, so they can make their own movies. It comes with hardware to mount it to a bike, so it is quite versatile, and fairly affordable too.
This list doesn’t even touch kid-tough cameras, Furbies and LeapPads, all of which were also hot this winter. Kids are becoming increasingly tech savvy, and toy manufacturers are taking notice. Today, you are just as likely to find a kid playing with a tablet as drawing in a coloring book. Both types of playthings have their place, but the tech toy market is here to stay.
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