Ah yes. The crux of holiday shopping season. See, you can screw up a gift for mom or dad, or one of your siblings, and they’ll live. Everyone will get over it. But strike out on the kids’ gifts, and Christmas is ruined. There may be tears. Don’t let there be tears. Get them one of these gifts.
Here, we have a $35 fitness tracker with an app made just for kids, from GeoPalz. Alright, this probably isn’t going to be the headliner for the kids’ Christmas gifts this year (or, yeah, there might be tears), but it’s a solid little thing to slip in stockings to get kids excited about staying active and fit.
A solid entry into the new generation of remote control toys that rely on mobile devices and apps for control. This $60 monster works with iOS devices, and kids can use the app to save routes and replay them later, in addition to providing good old fashioned remote control fun.
The Kurio Touch 4S is essentially a $100 iPod Touch running Android and made just for kids. That means robust web filtering and parental controls, which are musts when it comes to kids and the Internet. 30 pre-installed games and apps make for a good compromise for the kids.
Yes, it’s the centerpiece of every little (or big) Disney fan’s wish list this year. Disney Infinity is Disney’s biggest video game-physical toy crossover project to date, including a base that allows players to warp toy figurines into the game, opening up those characters’ worlds for missions or free play. The starter pack, which includes the game and a few figurines to get kids started. But, once you’ve opened Pandora’s Box, you may find yourself being asked to buy additional toy sets, which are anywhere from $13 to $30.
The ultimate figure in polka dot-chic comes in headphone form. At $26, these Minnie Mouse on-ear headphones stay affordable and should be a hit with little Disney fans in need of some new headgear so they can listen to ‘A Whole New World’ for the 6,893rd time.
A $100 remote-controlled pet robot powered by an iPhone or iPod Touch, RoboMe can be personalized thanks to an iOS app, including multiple faces. RoboMe can also roam around on its own, letting kids peek through its point-of-view thanks to the mobile device’s camera or delivering voice messages from afar, recorded by the kids themselves.
One for the babies in the family, the $16 Laugh & Learn Apptivity Storybook Reader is a giant protective case for the iPhone or iPod Touch that resembles a huge storybook. Included are free interactive storybook apps, and opening the case cover serves to turn the pages.
If you want to quell demands for a pet without having to teach nasty lessons about clean-up time, go with Zoomer, this year’s adorable pet robot dog. Kids can teach Zoomer tricks, which he’ll perform on command thanks to voice recognition. He also likes it when you scratch his belly!
The budding Skrillex in your family (you’re welcome for the nightmares) will love the $49.99 EZ Pro DJ Turntable, a good starter for the world of DJing. The toy has twin turntables, and can run music off of a mobile device. Kids can even add a few DJ effects, sample songs, and use beat matching.
Furby Boom is this holiday season’s hyper-connected, mobile device-friendly Furby, which makes it a strong enough sell right there. But, dress Furby Boom up in a loud, seasonal Christmas sweater, and now we’re really in business. Going off Amazon for a little under $60. It’s a Furby. You know it’s going to be hot.
While we’re on the subject of holiday heavyweights, here comes Elmo’s 2013 stage entrance. Big Hugs Elmo sings. He dances. He naps. He cuddles. And, yes, he will give your kids real, honest-to-goodness hugs. He’s Elmo. If you have little ones in the house, you know what to do. You can get Big Hugs Elmo on sale now for a shade under $50.
Barbie fans are sure to say yes to this dress. Barbie is donning a dress adorned with LED lights, which can be made to move rhythmically to music, equalizer style. Barbie gets on board with the 21st century look for $35.
A Hallmark offering for the holidays, the Bell Interactive Storybook Buddy is a cuddly puppy that comes with a storybook about her and her friends. The pup responds to words from the story, and is generally adorable. $35 melts your kids’ hearts this holiday season. There are tons of other storybook buddies out there, too.
Yet another kids’ tablet, the techTAB runs Android on a 7’’ screen, and packs in just enough in the way of adult specs to make gaming and entertainment for kids run well. Of course, that includes the upwards of 60 games and activities included with the purchase of the device.
Crocs are sometimes a dicey proposition, but hey, this might be the only time that stepping on something LEGO-branded doesn’t end in excruciating pain. The LEGO Crocs are great for any kids who love to build with the legendary blocks, and come in at $35.
I’ll skip the ready-made pun and get right to the good stuff – with the Glow Crazy Pattern Painter, your kids can create glow-in-the-dark works of art without your walls becoming collateral damage. Everything stays on the special glow canvas, as the magic brush lets kids create pre-made glow patterns, as well as their own freehand works of art. A cheaper holiday option, coming in at $18.
Minnie dons the cheerleader garb and pom-poms to drum up a little spirit into the holiday season. Cheerin’ Minnie, for $40, says over a dozen different cheers and phrases, rife with positive, affirming messages. She even sings ‘Mickey’ from…Toni Basil. Yeah, if you got that one right, I bow to your superior one-hit wonder expertise.
Angry Birds, not ones to stay within the confines of their app world, once again appear in physical form. This time, it’s an Angry Birds Star Wars playset, including stackable blocks and a few figurines, including a Mace Windu bird (it’s the purple lightsaber). A modest $13.30 unleashes the fury on the tabletop.
If you want to go the no-risk route when it comes to kids’ tablets, you can opt for the $79 VTech Innotab 3S, which features a completely closed-off system that only runs apps and cartridges made by VTech. That doesn’t mean your kids will be totally cut off – the exclusive Kid Connect app allows them to communicate with a parent’s mobile device from their Innotab.