Even though you probably have the Christmas list sorted for the little ones, if you need a bit of help, it’s here in a guide for the kids.
It’s December, and by now we’re sure your kids have told you in no uncertain terms just what they want Santa to bring at Christmas. It might have something to do with Frozen and Elsa, or Star Wars and Rey, and it might have to do with something else. Dragons and cars and soccer and more make up just some of the possibilities your kids are asking for.
But if you’re looking to give a gift that is a little more gadget focused, here are some other options.
Not everything has to be a toy. Some of the gadgets can be educational with a touch of entertainment thrown in for good measure. They might be to teach basic skills or throw your kids into coding, and gadgets can help them get there.
Sphero Mini Soccer
Sphero originally started as a robotics company built to teach kids coding, and the Sphero spherical robot is still made for that.
In recent years, it has offered up a miniature version of the robotic ball, and the Sphero Mini Soccer is that, but with soccer controls, too. You can flick the Sphero Mini around using a phone or tablet and its app, or your kids can learn to code using a programming environment inside the Sphero Edu app.
Osmo Little Genius
A starter kit to get kids learning, Osmo’s Little Genius kit clips onto an iPad — any iPad, but only tablets made by Apple — and uses the camera, a mirror, and a special pad to watch what your kids do.
The Osmo system can work for kids aged three and up, but the Little Genius kit is for little ones aged 3 to 5, teaching letters, words, shapes, and even throwing in a little bit of digital dress up. There are other kits that can be used, too, including some from Disney.
HP Stream 11.6
A laptop made for budgets, the HP Stream 11.6 is a small 11 inch Windows computer available in pink, blue, or white, and offers enough of a computer for the early stages of school and life.
Don’t expect to do a lot of gaming with this one, as that’s not really the point here. More of an office and productivity machine, the HP Stream should handle Minecraft, web browsing, email, writing, and maybe even some Netflix or Disney+, but your kids can have their very own computer, and it doesn’t have to break the bank.
It’s a regular in our yearly School Laptop Buyer’s Guide, and if you’re looking to get the jump on the school year with a Christmas present, this may well be it.
Apple iPad 10.2
This year, the 9.7 inch iPad saw a bit of an update, as Apple upgraded screen size and added support for the keyboard cover, making it the best entry-level iPad yet.
An iPad isn’t technically a computer, though it can definitely work as one. You can browse the web, email, listen to music, watch movies, play games, and more. With the optional Smart Keyboard Cover, though, the iPad 10.2 becomes a little more capable and more like a laptop made thin and light.
Sound to go
iFrogz Little Rockerz
Made for a budget, but wired and with a bit of fancy dress, the iFrogz Little Rockers offer a pair of headphones for kids with the look of a lion, a dragon, a unicorn, and other fluffy looks and colours that makes a pair of headphones just stand out.
The iFrogz headphones aren’t going to be the most amazing out there, but there’s a volume limiter and a cable, making them easy to setup and control for the little ones.
JBL’s take on wireless earphones for kids comes in pink, aqua, and a two-tone red and blue, but they are otherwise fairly simple wireless headphones with a volume limiter.
Set to a maximum of 85dB, a limiter means your kids won’t be jamming the sound too far up, while a 12 hour battery life makes it ideal for long trips.
A media player made to be small and durable, Australia’s BlueAnt has built a tiny pudgy can of sound with the X1, and one that can survive water and sand.
Made for smaller hands, buying this for kids will mean you’ll still want a phone or tablet around, as Bluetooth speakers need something else to drive them.
However if they already have one, the BlueAnt X1 will give them a can of sound for not too much money.
Birde Smart Media Player
Birde’s take on the speaker is a little different. While wireless speakers have their music controlled by phones, the Birde Smart Media Player allows your kids to control the sound by placing their choice of music or books on the speaker and having it played.
It’s a little like the modern take of the tape player, except the tapes are little tokens called “Birde Seeds” that play music and books for kids when they’re placed on the speaker. What’s more, the Birde Media Player is water-resistant, so it’s not likely to break after an accidental spill.
If your little one has been begging and pleading for a phone, it might be time to hit the switch and grab one. Depending on what you have, you can always pass one down, or you can look for one of these options.
TCL Movetime 4G
Not quite a phone yet something close, the TCL Movetime is a smartwatch that also includes a 4G SIM, so you can call up the kids and track where they are.
There’s a GPS link and it supports SMS, as well as IP65 water-resistance, and while it doesn’t do all of what a phone can do, it will allow you to stay in contact quite easily.
Oppo A5 2020
Armed with a little more power again, at just under $300, the Oppo A5 delivered a big screen, four cameras, and a huge 5000mAh battery.
There’s also 3D sound and a mid-range chip, helping the phone handle media, though you won’t find support for Google Pay, which is probably a good thing given this is a gift guide for kids.
Apple iPhone 7 32GB
We’re a few years on from when the iPhone 7 was out, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less a strong phone.
In fact, if the little ones are asking for an iPhone, but you know you don’t want to spend over a grand — you know, the typical cost of an iPhone — consider what constitutes a budget iPhone today, the iPhone 7.
It doesn’t have the same camera from today’s phone, and the battery life may not be up where the Plus models are, but it’s a water resistant iPhone and it supports the latest version of iOS, too.