Get ready for an animal takeover this season. Whether you have to put them together yourself or they’re ready for play, tech toys in the form of robots, more specifically robot animals, are popular this year. Most toys, kids put away after a few days, weeks or months of play. These toys may be a little more difficult to leave alone so quickly. Here are 5 of my favorites.
Let’s start with the little ones, ages 3 to 5. For them, Fisher-Price has created the “Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar”. This programmable caterpillar is a combination of segments that can be arranged based on how the operator would prefer it to move. This little traveler can move forward, left, right and pause. Besides the sounds, the lights and the blinking eyes, the Code-A-Pillar also teaches children about sequencing, experimentation and of course, the basics of coding. This one is an attention-holder.
For ages 5 to 8, there are three great gifts that come to mind. From Spin Master, there is the “Zoomer Chimp”. A playful monkey on wheels, this robotic chimp has the ability to stand on its own, take voice commands, react to hand movement, and do flips. It’s facial expressions and eyes that light up keep kids attentive. It has over 200 sounds and loves to dance. You may want to grab one before there are no more to be grabbed!
Next in line is Wowwee’s “Chip”, a robotic dog that comes with an electronic ball and wristband for the owner. Chip does not just know who its owner is because of the band, but it shows the owner affection and follows their command. It behaves based on the desire of its operator, giving kids more experience with decision-making and consequences. You can encourage its behavior by interacting with the app. And with the ball that comes with it, Chip can even play fetch. For those of us who weren’t allowed to have a real dog growing up, this robot and friend is understandably the next best thing. Not only do children get to see how awesome technology can be, but it allows children to take responsibility for something, care for another being and gives them a friend to communicate with.
The best thing on this list for me however, is the “Geckobot” by Thames & Kosmos. At first glance, this gadget may not seem like much. It’s a robotic geko that can climb walls… Great. Now what else can it do? Well let me tell you, this toy can be much more than a gecko. It can be a cell phone holder, a crane or even an inchworm. The list goes on and it’s all up to you and your building skills. Not only does it get kids working with air pressure, suction and physics, but they get to do a little engineering as well. If your young one loves a challenge and the ability to make change happen, this may be a great gift for them.
Last but not least, for ages 10 and up, Spin Master has created “Meccano Meccasaur”. This robotic T-Rex is 3 feet long and should take at least a few hours to build and allows kids to program and interact their dinosaur. It can not only walk, but roar and react to touch. It has 715 pieces that allow kids to experience sequencing, building, following instructions, and watching their new playmate come to life.
Whether you’re shopping for an insect person, a pet person, or a dinosaur person, the toy-makers have something great in-store for you this holiday season. I have only mentioned 5, but there are plenty more high-tech gadgets out there for you to choose from. Checkout TheToyInsider.com or peep at YouTube for videos showing all the things your gift can do. Have a happy holiday season!
This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Cynthia Sharpe. Her bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!
Cynthia M. Sharpe, is a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson