7 High Tech Toys For Your Budding Computer Geeks
Like it or not, technology is the way of the future. As tempting as it is to want to raise your kids in a bubble of yesteryear sans computers or tech stuff, it just isn’t an option anymore if you want them to be capable adults. No, technology is essential if you want your children to succeed, computer geek or not.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that, for some parents, buying your kid the latest gadget isn’t feasible. Not only are they expensive as hell and quickly obsolete, but they have quite a few negative aspects as well. But I’m a firm believer of doing what you can, when you can, so when you do have the resources to buy your child it’s important to know which products are the best value, both financially and educationally. So I’ve put together a list of the best educational technology toys for kids on the market (or soon to be) right now.
1. Bo and Yana from Play-i
This is my favorite upcoming tech toy for kids, hands down. Value-wise, these are moderately priced (at least for now, the website does warn that prices may increase) and good for ages five and up. For the younger crowd, Bo and Yana offer a visual programming interface that uses stories, music and animation to teach coding basics. For kids eight to 12, there is also an option for visual programming languages like Blockly and Scratch, and for kids older than 12 there are options for writing code for fun, or to build apps for iOS and Android. Very cool, if you ask me.
2. Bigshot Camera By Kimera
The Bigshot camera is designed to teach kids as young as eight about the fundamental ideas behind mechanics, optics, electronics, electromagnetism and image processing. The best part is that once everything is put together your child will have a working camera to experiment with. And the price is somewhat affordable, starting at less than $100.
According to the website, “littleBits is an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun.” The possibilities are endless, and there is no soldering, wiring or programming necessary.The base kit is $99, and it is pretty basic, and the premium and Deluxe kits are $149 and $199 respectively, so this could get a little pricey, but this is an excellent starting point for your child if they show an interest in electronics (and a lot safer and cheaper than letting they take apart your television!).
4. Puzzlebox Orbit
Coming in at $229, this one might seem a little expensive, but it’s a brain controlled helicopter. How freaking cool is that? With this kit and your iOS or Android device you can literally fly a little helicopter using only your brain. I think the usefulness for kids is obvious, but I don’t think I’m alone when I say I want one for myself.
5. LEGO Mindstorms EV3
Using over 500 LEGO elements, you can create real robots that can walk, talk and even think. At $349, this product is definitely more of a splurge than a steal, but if you have the cash and are shopping for a budding electronics expert, then this is the way to go.
6. OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot
This kit is a great value at around $30, and can be transformed into 14 different solar powered robots – no batteries needed (which is music to my cheap ass parent ears). There are two building levels, so both younger and older kids will find this engaging, which means you won’t be running out to get something new a week later. And what’s not to like about that?
7. RoboMe By WowWee Toys
Great for ages six and up, the RoboMe robot is completely customizable that uses your iPhone pr iTouch to function. The RoboMe features remote video control, facial tracking and voice recognition, among other cool features. The manufacturer’s suggested price is around $120, but I found it on Toys R Us for only $99.