It’s the season for gift guides and it’s got me thinking about the things my boys brought to Morocco and what we left behind. Space was (and is!) a big deal, so technology has helped us in many ways. But there are some toys they’ve really loved having. So, I thought why not share the things they love. This will be a two-part post. This one is dedicated to toys and gift ideas that use technology in some way. In a post next week I’ll share the non-tech toys we love. The criteria for my decisions were:
- how portable is it?
- does it have some learning component?
- does it keep them engaged and coming back again and again?
If yes, yes, and yes then it makes the cut! I tried to provide a variety of price ranges and age levels but keep in mind I have 2 boys that are 6 and 9.
- K’NEX Thrill Rides Phoenix Fury Roller Coaster Building Set - There are several different K’Nex Roller Coasters available, and this is one idea that crosses the border of tech and non-tech, but because it’s motorized I’m saying it’s technology based. If you’ve got a younger child (under 10) expect to help quite a bit, but for an older or more advanced child this will be a fun challenge. I was able to bring this set home with me from the US and M really likes it! (You can connect with KNEX to find their new products and promotions on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube)
Skylanders SWAP Force – Nintendo Wii - This game is available on all gaming systems, we just happen to own a Wii. By far this is my youngest sons favorite game. We bought the first Skylanders game, the subsequent Giants game, and now SWAP Force. You might be scared away by the fact that the game depends on purchasing characters that go onto the game portal but fear not. This new version has swap-able characters. So even if you only have the two that come with the starter pack, you really have 4 because the tops and bottoms can be re-arranged. If you have characters from the older games they will all work with the new game. There is also a version of the game for iPad, each of the characters comes with a card that has a code, the code can be input to the iPad app to activate the character in that game.
Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers and/or Apple iPad Mini MD528LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black & Slate) I know this is a big ticket item, but hear me out. Last year we bought both of our boys a Kindle Fire and a membership for our family to Amazon Prime (not sure you want a full year? Try it out with a free 30-day trial!) Best purchase ever! We can download English books and learning apps, music, and movies. I really enjoy both the iPad and Kindle – there is a big price difference. If you can swing it, opt for the iPad but if not the Kindle Fire is a good tablet for all ages.
Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Kit Last year M got this kit as a gift and spent hours going through the instruction book building circuits. It’s super easy to use and manipulate. It also is a great extension activity to teach children scientific concepts. There are several different options to this kit available.
LEGO Minecraft 21102 This item also straddles the line of tech and non-tech but I’m adding it to my tech lineup. Both of my boys are Minecraft nuts. I really like that these Legos take the game off the screen and to hand held manipulatives. M likes to build the models and then re-create them in the game. This kind of hand-to-screen play encourages me that they’re learning real, applicable skills for further down the line. There are two other sets available as well (LEGO Minecraft The Village 21105 and LEGO Minecraft The Nether 21106)
Digital subscription to Calliope Magazine. Each issue is an adventure that brings children ages 9 to 14 face to face with history-makers in places and cultures from around the world and throughout time. Readers explore the provocative issues that shaped our world and follow the lives of the people who changed world history. This is a Kindle magazine, but you can use the Kindle reading app on just about every electronic device including desktop and laptop computers. You might also like Faces Magazine which focuses on the lives of kids around the world through stories, games, and crafts. Any digital books are a great gift, because they can be read anywhere, and you can always have access to several copies at anytime because they don’t take up precious space!
These are our favorites! I’d love to know which tech gifts your kids love. Leave me a note in the comments!
Disclaimer: I received some of these items free of cost, however all opinions are my own. If you choose to purchase any of these items from the link I’ve shared, I will receive a small percentage, this does not cost you anything additional.