Top Tech Gifts for Kids
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For Budding Inventors
Watch in awe—or collaborate!—as your kid becomes a real product inventor with the hands-on Hanz Inventors Lab (for ages 8 and older; $64.95), which uses the Innovation Superstar Training System, employed by major corporations to teach creative problem-solving, collaboration, and innovation. She’ll piece together beams, wheels, and ‘brain’ parts to build digital products that you can actually use—and then submit designs online to compete with other young inventors. Educational materials and other resources are also available online.
There’s no substitute for human interaction, but learning can happen independently, too. The LeapReader Reading & Writing System sounds out words and reads sentences while building your child’s reading comprehension skills—and it offers interactive writing guidance on mess-free, no-ink writing paper. The LeapReader library consists of more than 150 titles, including books, maps, and flash cards (this product is also compatible with most books in the Tag library). Audio books and music albums are also available to download. (For ages 4-8; $49.99)
Lucy, I'm Home!
I Love Lucy: Colorized Christmas—okay, a DVD isn’t exactly high-tech, but we think any screen time qualifies!—includes both colorized and black-and-white versions of classics The Lucy Christmas Special, Lucy Goes to Scotland, and Lucy’s Italian Movie. If you treasured this groundbreaking series when you were younger, why not introduce a new generation to the unbridled laughter inspired by the grand Ms. Ball? Fun fact: Did you know that the Ricardos and Mertzes moved to the ’burbs in the final season—from NYC’s Upper East Side to Westport, CT? (Not rated; $16.99; CBS Home Entertainment)
Here’s a sleek gift option to put on the short list for busy parents—especially ones who travel for work or who simply rely on their mobile devices to a fault: The Boost 4200 battery pack ($54.99) features a micro-USB DC input to use with most smartphone chargers and a high output (2.1A) USB port for charging mobile devices. This ultra-slim, palm-sized backup packs enough power to charge most smartphones twice. Just give it a quick shake and its LED lights will show just how much charge remains.
Make Fitness Fun
Wii Fit U brings your Wii Fit experience to a whole new level! Using the Wii Balance Board (required to use this new product), Wii Fit U uses a clip-on fit meter to track your workouts outside the home and syncs to the game, allowing you to compete with and get support from family members and friends via an online community. Original workouts include bouncing on a trampoline and learning how to salsa dance. (Download the game on Nintendo eShop for free through Jan. 31, then sync with your Fit Meter to keep using the software after initial one-month trial ends; $19.99 for Fit Meter; $89.99 for Wii Fit U, Fit Meter, and Wii Balance Board bundle)