Top Christmas tech gifts for kids
If you’re feeling the pressure when it comes to buying gifts for your kids, we don’t blame you. Choosing the right festive tech gift for kids can make the difference between disappointment and creative fun for all the family – before you have to start putting the festive lunch together.
That’s why we’re here to help. The following gifts, selected at a range of different prices, will keep your little ones occupied long after December 25, and they might even teach them something while they’re at it. Alongside the less educational action of Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, we’re also throwing in a couple of coding-related toys that are worth checking out.
The following list includes all sort of exciting tech gifts for kids of all ages, including high-octane racing experiences, creative crafting, and educational toys. Here are the Christmas tech gifts that’ll make your kids’ eyes light up on Christmas morning.
Sphero is perhaps best known for its R2-D2 and BB8 droids, but for some time, it’s moved away from licensed toys into its own original designs. The Sphero Bolt is partly built for fun, and partly built for education – which makes it a great (if pricey) gift at $149.99/£149.95/AU$249.99. If you want to give a young person a relatively simple entry point into coding, this is a solid gift option.
With simple-to-understand coding blocks, this app-controlled LED ball apparently has more than 4 hours of playtime per charge, and features advanced sensors that the user can program to figure out more about robotics.
Want to know more? See what a younger person thought of it in our Sphero Bolt review (opens in new tab).
Need a gift for a creative kid who enjoys thinking outside the box? This is the droid you’re looking for. The LittleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit includes a basic chassis, plus a wealth of components (known as ‘bits’) that can be connected and rearranged in various ways to perform different functions. It might look intimidating at first, but the whole process is explained in clear step-by-step instructions and 3D diagrams in the accompanying app.
The app also provides various ‘missions’, which are tasks that can be completed by configuring the droid in a particular way. One task involves recording a message to be played back later, while another requires you to build a droid that can perform a handshake.
Kids can create their own programs using blocks of pre-written code, helping kids understand the principles of programming, and introducing concepts gradually with practical applications to make the knowledge stick.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit proves Nintendo’s aptitude for one thing above all: making tremendous toys. While the PS5 and Xbox Series X wipe the floor with the Nintendo Switch (opens in new tab) in terms of power, Home Circuit shows that the company behind Mario and Pokémon are as innovative and inventive as ever.
So long as you already have Nintendo’s hybrid console, Home Circuit turns any room in your house into their next race track, which is great depending on how much space you have. It’s a little expensive, but it’s still a great way to keep the kids occupied on December 25 as their little figurines zoom around the Christmas tree. Like the Nintendo Labo sets, they’ll only be limited by their imagination.
Read more: Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit prices and deals
Built more for fun than education, Mekamon is an augmented reality fighting robot controlled using a smartphone app (think Pokémon, but with mechanical spiders). Move your bot around the floor using simple touch controls, and fire various weapons to defeat enemies.
You can fight against virtual enemies, which appear on your phone’s screen, but it’s even more fun to do battle with another Mekamon. The bots are wonderfully characterful, performing victory dances, stamping their feet in anger, and even collapsing on their backs when defeated. It’s possible to create your own custom animations in the app too, and share them with others.
The only downside is that, although you can remove and replace its armor plates and guns into different configurations, kids don’t get the fun of building it themselves, as they do with some of the toys in this list.
The Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar is a great toy for getting kids used to basic coding concepts, which will give them a head-start when they start computing lessons at school.
Each section of the caterpillar represents a chunk of code, which performs a particular function (making noise, changing direction or moving forwards). Kids can build their own mini ‘programs’ by arranging the sections so that the caterpillar performs the tasks in a particular order.
Once they’ve got the hang of the idea, you can expand their options with add-on packs containing extra sections, including extra sounds and 180-degree turns. Just clear some floor space and let them experiment.
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