Kids are naturally drawn to technology, with mere infants trying to grab their parents’ iPhones and iPads. Minivans now come equipped with entertainment systems for young travelers, and some stuffed animals serve dual functions as MP3 speakers.
However, technology can sometimes come with a hefty price tag, and not all parents are prepared to run out and buy their 2-year-old an iPad. Just in time for the holidays, here is a list of five relatively inexpensive gadgets that are sure to entertain your children. These are gifts that will occupy the attention spans of infants to 8-year-olds.
- Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case
- Kid-Tough Digital Camera
- Touch Magic Counting Train
- Brilli the Imagination Ball
- Leap Pad
Designed for babies 6 months and older, Fisher Price’s Laugh and Learn Apptivity Case protects Mom or Dad’s iPod or iPhone from drops and drool. It is sturdy, costs only $15 and prevents your tot from repeatedly hitting the home button while engrossed in a learning app or video. The mirror and activity beads on the device can be just as enthralling as the device tucked securely inside the case.
Kids love to take pictures, but you do not want them dropping your expensive camera. Also from Fisher Price, the Kid-Tough Digital Camera is ideal for children 3 to 7. It is worth the $40 price, with 256 MB of memory built in, big buttons and a screen that lets kids look at their masterpieces. And, of course, it comes with the peace of mind to keep you from gasping when your child drops his camera down the stairs. It also comes with software so your child can edit his or her creations.
Leap Frog is known for their quality learning toys, and the Touch Magic Learning Train provides a colorful and engaging format for kids 2 to 4 to learn the first 20 numbers. Priced at $21.99, the device uses games and music to make learning fun. Children can make their own versions of “Old MacDonald,” using the 10 cute animals on the train.
For just $17.99, the toy wizards at VTech bring you Brilli the Imagination Ball. The happy orange orb is ideal for kids 3 to 6 and helps them learn math and word concepts through fun games. Brilli is made with a soft material, has motion sensors to count how many times he has been tossed and has five modes of fun. It can be played with by an individual child or group of children.
Although this is the priciest item on the list, it is still far cheaper than a conventional tablet. Leap Frog offers child-friendly tablets, with the Leap Pad 1 for $79.99 and the Leap Pad 2 for $99.99. Both versions come with cameras and built-in apps. Leap Frog offers a vast library of learning games and apps with popular characters from Nickelodeon and Pixar, to name a few. You can also purchase children’s interactive books and videos as well as music — and since you can always download new apps, it never gets old!