The tech toy industry covers everything from tablets to gaming consoles to revamped old-school toys. The technical sophistication of some of these toys is so advanced you might feel like you’re caught up in a higher-grade computer science lesson. And it seems there is always a newer, updated version available. To help you choose a gadget that won’t just end up on a shelf gathering dust, here’s a list of some of the most popular and well-loved tech toys around.
Anki Cars are essentially the A.I. version of the beloved Skylectric. Each Anki Supercar is a self-aware robot with the ability to learn each new track you build. Once you’ve downloaded the iOS or Android app, where you’ll be able to see each car’s unique features like turbo boost, weapons and lane-changing ability, you’re set to start racing. The A.I runs the car, which means it’s not necessary to endlessly hold down an ignition button. Anki Cars require a relatively high-tech setup and seem to have taken the gadget industry by storm. These tech-savvy automobiles are likely to become one of those enjoyed by dads and kids alike.
The Anki Overdrive Starter Kit includes two cars, a charging dock and a track that can be converted into eight different battlefields. https://anki.com/en-us
The iPod Touch is a great substitute for a child who wants an iPhone but isn’t old enough for one yet. More affordable and portable than an iPad, it features the same camera, apps and interface as the gadget they would really like but they won’t be able to accidentally phone anyone or run havoc with your data plan. www.myistore.co.za/ipod-touch-1
Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet
The Amazon Fire is gaining momentum as a reputable tablet brand. The Kids Edition has child-centred software and parental controls that allow you to customise your child’s usage. One of the perks of buying the Kids Edition is a free 12-month subscription to Amazon’s “Free Time” – a great source for downloading kid-friendly content including books and movies. https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Kids-Display-Wi-Fi-Kid-Proof/dp/B018Y22C2Y
LeapFrog LeapBand Activity Tracker
The LeapFrog LeapBand Activity Tracker is a healthy choice and one of the few gadgets that doesn’t require your little one to stare at a screen. The iPad has its place to keep the kiddos occupied and sitting still but it’s refreshing to come across a tech toy that simply demands physical activity. Essentially a kiddie version of a Fitbit crossed with the old-school idea of a Tamagotchi, it’s a great motivator to get little bodies moving. www.leapfrog.com/en-us/products/leapband
Osmo Genius Kit
This is a great educational buy. The Osmo reflector is placed over your iPad’s front-facing camera to detect your child’s interactions with Osmo tangram pieces and letter tiles as they play the spatial games the app creates. The Osmo Kit works on the iPad 2 and up, as well as the Air and Mini, and is sure to flex your child’s maths and science muscles. https://www.apple.com/shop/product/HJCP2ZM/B/osmo-genius-kit-game-system-for-ipad
The Nintendo 2DS is the perfect gift from a video-gaming dad to a video-gaming child. It’s compatible with all DS, 3DS and older Nintendo games via the virtual console and more durable than most of these, or an iPhone for that matter. Another huge thumbs-up is Nintendo’s child-friendly content that gives you peace of mind that your little one won’t come across any games with offensive content. http://www.nintendo.com/2ds/what-is-nintendo-2ds
With the next Star Wars movie coming out later this year, it’s no surprise that the Smart R2-D2 is still one of the most popular tech toys at the moment. The droid pairs with an iOs or Android app that then functions as a remote control. The Smart R2-D2 can dance, drive around, make a series of sounds and even go into guard mode. There is also a set of mission games that is a real lesson in programming routes and add an educational twist to this well-loved collectable droid. https://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Enabled-Remote-Control/dp/B01LY1JOKV