My kids and I recently attended a Maker Faire at our local Barnes & Noble bookstore, where we got to use all kinds of fun, creative toys, including robots and 3-D pens! It was a great way to really try things out before purchasing them. Based on our experiences, my oldest and I collaborated to make this guide of our favorite tech gifts for kids. You’ll find his opinions below along with mine. These toys are not only fun they are also (shh!) educational, making coding and creating exciting for kids. Hope you have as much fun with these as we did!
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Cool Tech Gifts for Kids
If you buy nothing else on this list, buy the Emerge Tech EUVRC Utopia 360Degree Virtual Realty Headset. It is so affordable that it puts virtual reality into the reach of many families who otherwise would never consider it. I asked the rep about the price out of sheer curiosity, never imagining how low it would be. Result? Two little boys I know will be getting a virtual reality headset this year! Trust me, buy this and you will be a hero in your house! It is super fun and easy to use. My son tried this so many times that the rep got to know him quite well! The images are great, and you have a 360 degree view, so you can look in any direction and still be totally immersed in the virtual world. (By the way, it is almost as entertaining just to watch someone who is wearing this headset!) There are thousands of FREE apps you can download to use on the headset, including games (the headset comes with a controller that can be used in games), so you don’t have to worry about this being a gift they are excited about for a few days then throw in the closet, as there will always be something new for them to try. There are some apps that have a cost, but nearly all are in the 99 cent range. One of our favorite tech gifts for kids this year.
6 year old says: A big heart (his top rating)
His other top gift was the CreoPop Cordless 3D Printing Pen. It is actually the one he talks about the most, though he didn’t get to spend lots of time with it because there was such a long line. Basically it has a type of ink in it (which comes out like a gel) that hardens once you use it, so you can make creations that you can keep for later. You can either draw or on a surface in the usual way then pick it up to display, or you can draw up to build a tower or other creation. Talk about your ideas leaping off the page! It is also easy to change colors mid-creation, just by popping out one ink cartridge and inserting another. (Many other 3D pens use filaments which appear to be more difficult to change in the middle of drawing). I love that it is cool to the touch, unlike many of the others on the market, and materials are non-toxic.
6 year old says: A big heart
The kids all really had fun with the award-winning Wonder Workshop Dash Robot. Recommended for ages 8 and up (I actually saw kids much younger having fun with it), Dash is a real, responsive robot that kids can learn to program from their phone or tablet using free apps. It is a fun way for kids to learn coding, as they teach Dash to move, dance, and even respond to their voice.
6 year old says: A fun bot, 5 stars
One of the tech gifts for kids at the Maker Faire that grabbed the kids’ attention right away was Meccano – Meccanoid 2.0. It is about 2 feet tall and looks most like what kids picture when they think of robots. It is recommended for ages 10+, but I think this is for the actual building and programming of the robot. Kids much younger will enjoy playing with it, especially as it is voice activated. My son explained to me that when the robot’s eyes turn blue, it is ready for you to say, “Meccanoid.” When its eyes turn green, it is ready for a command. If you are thinking to yourself, “I cannot afford to buy my kid a 2 foot tall robot!” then take heart, because they actually have Meccano – MicroNoid, a much smaller (and more affordable) version.
6 year old says: 5 stars (It lost a star because someone else was nearby when he was playing with it and the bot was getting confused about who was giving it commands. As my son told me, in a mock stern voice, “He disobeyed me.”)
Another fun robot toy is Sphero 2.0: The App-Controlled Robot Ball. It is also app-controlled and teaches kids coding in a really fun way as they make Sphero move all over the house! I love that it is water-proof and pet-proof, because you can imagine what corners and spaces this little guy will roll into! I also like that it is so portable, although I really had to watch that my three year old didn’t walk off with it when we were leaving!
6 year old says: 5 stars
I love the concept of Ozobot. This award-winning robot is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and is great to help visual learners really get coding. The basic idea is to create a pattern on paper using Ozobot Washable Markers. The patterns you draw give instructions to the Ozobot, as each color indicates whether it should go straight, turn around, and so on. The patterns you draw can be very simple or quite intricate, so kids really exercise those logical thinking skills. Teachers can even contact Ozobot for free lesson plans to use in the classroom!
6 year old says: 3 stars (He liked it, but not quite as fun as chasing around the larger robots, plus it can take a bit to get the hang of how to draw the patterns for the bot to follow).
What are your favorite tech gifts for kids?
I am excited to be participating once again in the Gift Guide blog hop from Kid Blogger Network! Don’t miss out on this huge collection of holiday gift guides, where you’re sure to find something for everyone!