In today’s digital age, we have devices able to store our entire CD collection and laptops that make work and school easier to manage. But digital gadgets are not just for teens and adults. Kids of all ages now have laptops of their own, as well as interactive toys and games, some of which are educational. Long gone are the days of making your Barbie or G.I. Joe action figure talk with your own voice. Here is a look at some cool, “smart” toys for kids.
VTech Switch and Go Dinos
These toys, for boys ages 3 to 11, are another take on the popular Transformers line. They start as a vehicle and can be transformed into dinosaurs. When in vehicle mode, your child will enjoy realistic sound effects and cool physical features. Switch to dinosaur mode and the dinosaur’s eyes light up, claws curve, and the tail moves. The LCD screen reveals educational dinosaur facts. The line includes several different dinosaurs, each with a different mode of transportation. The VTech Switch and Go line is available on the product’s website from $13 to $70, depending on the size.
The Nat Geo Wild Anteater Bug Vac by Uncle Milton
Uncle Milton makes a line of nature-themed toys. One of them is the Nat Geo Wild Anteater Bug Vac, which is a motorized vacuum shaped like an anteater that enables the child to catch bugs safely. When the belly is removed, a magnifier is revealed for close-up study. When the study is complete, the child can release the bugs and gather a new batch of test subjects. The Nat Geo Wild Anteater Bug Vac is recommended for ages 5 to 7 and is available on the product’s website for $24.99.
Zillionz Savings Goal ATM Bank
This toy is just like the real thing. The LCD screen welcomes your child and gives them all of their up-to-date account information. The ATM can even be programmed to pull up your child’s name. The realistic camera and sounds will give your child a real banking experience. The ATM Bank is recommended for ages 4 to 12 as there are small parts involved that could be seen as a choking hazard. It’s available at Amazon for $32.
No Stress Chess
What better way to improve your child’s smarts than with chess? But chess is known to be a difficult game to master and can be quite frustrating. That’s where No Stress Chess comes in. An innovative deck of action cards depicts the chess pieces and how they move. Once you become comfortable with the moves and powers of each chess piece, you can flip the two-sided board and play standard chess. It includes rules for two variations of playing using the action cards, and all the necessary rules for standard chess. This game is recommended for players ages 4 and up due to small pieces. No Stress Chess is available at Wal-Mart for $10.80.
Furby has had quite an upgrade since his creation in the late 90s. Furby can still speak Furbish, but instead of flipping through a Furbish to English booklet, users can now download a simple app to translate it. The more the user interacts with their Furby, the more English it will learn. Furby can also double as an iPod and play your favorite tunes. It can also interact with other Furbies of the new generation. The Furby is recommended for ages 6 and up and is available at Wal-Mart in various colors. Depending on color, prices range from $49 to $55.
Monster High Password Journal
The Monster High Password Journal has sound effects, locks automatically when closed, and can only be opened by saying the secret password. The journal also has a compartment where even more secrets can be stored. Girls can write in the Monster High journal with the invisible ink pen, then watch their words magically appear by activating the show/glow light. The Monster High Password Journal is much like its predecessor, the Girl Tech Password Journal, only monster style. The Monster High Password Journal is recommended for ages 6 and up and can be found at Wal-Mart for $28.
The popular FurReal Friends are stuffed animals that come to life. Everyday pets include dogs, cats, and rabbits. The exotic animal line includes chimps, wolves, and panda cubs. FurReal friends make animal sounds, move, and even make eating sounds. Each friend comes with a baby bottle to feed it with. FurReal friends are available on the product’s website and start at $10. This toy is recommended for ages 4 and up.
Leapfrog: My Talking LapPup
This toy is not only cute, but it makes learning fun. The LeapFrog My Talking LapPup features more than 40 songs and activities with an animated puppy pal. The Lappup explores shapes, colors, counting, and even plays peek-a-boo. Parents can connect to online Leapfrog Learning Path to find ideas and suggestions for more learning fun. The My Talking LapPup comes in violet and green and is recommended for ages 6 months to 2 years. It is available for $18 on the product’s website.
LeapFrog books are interactive books that help kids get a jumpstart on reading. Each book has a different set of characters and levels of reading, from Sesame Street for beginners to SpongeBob SquarePants for more advanced readers. As the child reads the books, the characters will interact with them through games to help with vocabulary and comprehension. LeapFrog books can be read with the LeapReader Reading and Writing System or in conjunction with the LeapPad. Books and the electronics are available in bundle for $180 on the product’s website. The suggested age group is 4 to 8 years and prices on books will vary.
Bop It XT
This is an old childhood favorite with an upgrade. The Bop It XT is an action-packed electronic game that requires you to respond quickly to six random commands like bop it, twist it, shake it, pull it, flick it or spin it. Bop It XT has three settings, one player, one on one, and party mode, which is three or more players. Bop It XT is for kids ages 8 and up. Bop It XT is available on the product’s website for $25.
Toys have changed a lot since the 80s and 90s with technological advances. This brings up the question, will kids lose their imaginations or will the high-tech gadgetry just inspire it more?
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