Love it or hate it, tech toys for kids are here to stay. MH shows you some of the best tech toys and gadgets you can find to give your child a little head start in the world of technology.
WORDS SAMANTHA TAN
Take a walk down the aisle of any toy store and you will find all sorts of new-fangled and high-tech toys. Yes, the toys of today aren’t the same as twenty, or even ten years ago. Toys now are so advanced in technology that they frequently blend the physical world with the digital, inspiring children to think, move and still have loads of fun.
Spinning tops, wind-up cars, or simple dolls will simply not suffice. Kids now expect their toys to be able to connect to the internet, to be paired with smart devices, or contain some form of technology. All these may seem iffy to you, especially if you worry about your kids spending too much time online or indoors. However, smart gadgets and toys let your child learn essential skills such as programming as well as help develop their critical thinking. So rather than limit their time with technology, why not provide them with safe and smart gadgets that will allow them to explore, play and grow? After all, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Does your child have an interest in robotics, engineering, and programming? Learning basic robotics and how to build a robot from scratch is a great way to foster a life-long interest in science and engineering. One way to do that is with DIY robot kits. With robot kits, you can introduce simple robotic engineering concepts to your children. While building the robot, children get to express their creativity, learn direction-taking, and take pride in their accomplishments. The best part is, when they are done, they also get a cool robot toy to play with.
When choosing a toy, remember to take into account your child’s age. For younger children, maybe a simple pull back robotic toy
will suffice but for older kids, you can consider programmable remote-controlled robots. Some DIY robot kits even allow
your child to programme the robot to do simple actions, thus teaching simple programming concepts.
Make Your Own Computer
Learning how to build their own computer teaches children to understand how computer circuitry works as well as lets them learn simple coding. Don’t worry that it might be too tough for kids to handle because the computer kits are specially designed for children. The idea is that anyone would be able to build them. It is a fun way for children to express their creativity and explore with technology. Once the computer is finished, your little one can go on to design games, write lines of codes and be exposed to various programming languages. Who knows, maybe your little one will be the creator of the next hit application!
Remember the traditional board games that you used to play when you were young? Well, now they have been updated and infused with technology to keep up with this generation of players. Now instead of fake paper money and manual transactions, you get to use your tablet with the corresponding app to keep track of your accounts, transactions, and property. Some of the apps even come with extra mini-games that you can play to win the game!
Many child-friendly videos, apps, and activities can be found on the internet and with bright graphics and addictive music, it is no wonder the children are captivated. The videos and games are often educational in nature and they are even free! There are also apps that you can download to teach them colours, shapes, and letters.
Do take note that excessive screen time is bad for your child and their developing brain and eyesight so make
sure to balance it out with outings and other activities like art and craft.
If you worry about your child accidentally seeing something that is inappropriate, you can even put a child-lock on the devices.
Remote Controlled Toys
Car, jeeps, planes, robots and even boats—these are just some of the remote controlled toys that you can find in the market. Remote controlled toys are not only fun to play with, they are also educational in that they teach children how gears work and improve their motor skills and spatial skills as they learn to navigate and control the toy. While there are complicated and high-tech remote controlled toys that are really hard to control, keep in mind that your child might not be able to handle that yet. For now, it is best to get a basic truck or car with simple controls. When your child is able to handle something more challenging, then you can consider getting a plane, drone or ship for them.
The wearable industry is gaining momentum and with it comes the release of wearables for kids. So what can wearables do? Firstly, thanks to GPS technology and Bluetooth, wearables can help you keep track of your active child by connecting it with your device. Some devices even alert you if it is submerged under water for more than five seconds, so you can make sure that your child is safe. Great for a day at the water park! Some wearables function as a basic smartwatch, allowing you to make calls to your child and keep in contact with them. Babies are not forgotten too. Wearables can be combined with a baby monitor and then connected with your phone so you receive real-time updates on their sleeping patterns, breathing, temperature, body position and cries.
Handheld Game Consoles
A handheld game console is a portable video game console that comes with a built-in screen, game controls, speakers, touch screens, cameras and much more. While some may lean towards educational content, others are purely fun. You can choose the different types of games for your child. Because the consoles are so small and portable, they are the perfect toy to bring for flights or long road trips. Just make sure you do not run out of games and batteries or you could have a very whiny child on your hands.
If you don’t mind the lack of transportability, gaming consoles are the way to go. Gaming consoles provide hours of fun for the whole family. Many games allow for more than one player and the whole family can have fun together. With so many different types of consoles nowadays, be sure to check out the games that each console can accommodate before you purchase it. This is because, with younger gamers in the family, you want to make sure that there are enough kid-friendly games that can be used with the console that you buy. Some brands of consoles specialise in adult titles while some other brands carry more child-friendly titles.
Kids’ Learning Tablets and Laptops
Learning tablets and laptops are designed just for toddlers and they are really easy to use, introducing toddlers to the world of learning in fun and exciting ways. These tablets contain loads of spiffy age-appropriate apps that teach reading, time management, math, music, colours and shapes to the young learner. When buying a tablet, take two things into consideration—battery life and size of the screen. Learning tablet and laptops usually have a shorter battery life than a regular tablet so make sure that they are able to be charged via a USB cable. This makes it easier to charge them during long haul flights or long car rides. Also, make sure that the screen isn’t too big or heavy for your child’s tiny hands.
Having a pet is fun, but it is also a great responsibility. If now isn’t the right time for a pet but the little one has been bugging you for one, how about getting a tech pet instead? Robotic pets teach children about responsibility and develop their social skills. Plus, it definitely doesn’t trigger any allergies. You get to enjoy all the fun and benefits of having a pet but without all the inconveniences. Tech pets are so advanced now that they tell jokes and bedtime stories, play games, have conversations and perform tricks. What’s even better is that they can learn new tricks and commands, which keeps things fresh and interesting for the child.