The holidays are right around the corner, and time is running out to get gifts delivered in time. Thankfully, I've got some ideas that might make the perfect present. So, if you hurry, here are some last-minute tech gifts for kids that may still make it in time. Because even though, as grown-ups, we know that it's the thought, and not the item, that counts, kids are still learning that concept, and we want to make them happy.
While there are plenty of electronics for sale marketed for kids, there are some things that you'll want to consider before you buy something and hand it over to a child. During the Prime Day shopping event earlier this year, I brought up some ideas to think about, and they apply just as much now as they did then. The most important of these idea is parental controls and security, and I've found some items that check these boxes and more.
Yes, it's true, kids of all ages spend quite a bit of time using technology in various ways. But the trick as parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or friends is to find things that allow children to find joy in ways that stimulates the mind and maybe even strengthen our bonds with them. This way, we can get kids what they really want — connected gadgets.
In a survey of 1,000 adults, Xfinity and Wakefield found that "64% of parents say their kids would choose Wi-Fi over their top toy on their holiday wish list." Along with children valuing staying connected, they found that "50% of Millennials and nearly as many Gen Xers (47%) strongly agree that Wi-Fi has become more central to their holiday celebrations today than before the pandemic."
Suppose you don't have a reliable and fast internet connection to support the entire household's connectivity needs throughout your home. In that case, upgrading your router is a gift that can keep on giving. Good Wi-Fi is vital, especially when your internet upload speed affect video calls, which can sometimes be the only way families can get together during the busy holidays. So, though it may not excite a child, picking up a great Wi-Fi router is going to make not only those calls smoother, but these other gift ideas below work even better too.
One thing that can make many youngsters happy is getting them one of the best Android tablets for kids. There are a lot of great choices out there, and in many cases, Amazon's Fire Kids tablets fit the bill wonderfully. This is because of their price and thanks to the fantastic Amazon Kids+ software that brings kid-appropriate content and parental controls. Amazon makes a variety of options in the kid's tablet space, and deciding which works best for your child can be confusing. Not to worry, I have a handy guide for you.
Though the Amazon Fire Kids tablets have access to over 20,000 apps, games, books, movies, and more in the curated library just for them, sometimes, as a parent, I want to avoid the distractions of the "extra stuff" — and by that I mean games and videos. This is where the excellent Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids comes in perfectly. It gives kids access to all of the appropriate books without the distractions of other content, but with all the other great benefits of the Amazon Kids+ program, like its two-year worry-free warranty.
If your child is like my 9-year-old, they may already be asking for a smartphone. Don't get me wrong; there are some options out there that make for a great phone for kids. But again, if you're like me, you might not be ready for this leap just yet. So, my wife and I compromised with a connected kids smartwatch.
By going this route, our son could track his activity, call or message us if he wanted/needed to, and even listen to music on his favorite watch — the TickTalk 4. I like this watch also because it has some great parental controls and, if needed, we can use the GPS location to ensure he made it to school safely. Another watch that is a little simpler to use, but offers parental peace of mind, is the Gabb Watch.
For kids that aren't ready for a connected smartwatch but still want to feel like the grown-ups with their wearables, the Garmin vivofit Jr 3 is an excellent option to consider. It lets kids track their activity, sleep, set timers, and even earn rewards by completing tasks that you can set in the companion app. If there are other family members with Garmin smartwatches, the kids can join in on the fun challenges with them.
Ok, so you are trying to find a gift for a child that may already have the ideas we've covered above, or you don't want to get a connected device — then consider an accessory like a great pair of kids headphones. Headphones for children are about more than just being smaller in size. It's also about ensuring they will protect the child's hearing when using them.
ONANOFF makes BuddyPhones, and they are some of the best brands for kid's headphones. This year they released three excellent choices with a good range of prices and features. There are the Explore+, which will be easy for younger kids to use. The Play+ introduces both wired and wireless connectivity and a range of safe max volume levels. Then the high-end Cosmos+ has everything the Play+ does but in an even more comfortable package and with active noise cancelation. For headphones that let your child hear their audio but not block out the rest of the world, the imoo Ear-care kids headset is a great option.
As a parent, I'm always trying to find ways to allow my kids to experience technology in safe ways and still ensure they don't get sucked into it. Parent tech is beginning to blossom, thanks to many of the products I've talked about here and others, like the new Amazon Glow. So if you want to get the child in your life the connected gadget or accessory they really want for the holidays — you better hurry before it's too late.
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