This is a guest post by Caroline Mukisa of Learning Toys Buzz
Looking for a fun AND educational gift for that special child in your life? Check out this list of 5 sizzling hot toys that will guarantee hours of fun while sneaking in plenty of educational play!
1) LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 (8547)
The Lego Mindstorms kit provides everything the budding young engineer could need to build an awesome robot. Not just any old clunky Optimus Prime droid though! Lego have built some amazing features into this robot kit which interacts, moves, obeys commands, senses touch, light and sound and can be built and programed in just an hour. The programming software is easy peasy to use; just drag-and-drop the icons. The robot can be programmed for 16 new building and programming challenges, making it perfect for hours of Lego fun, as well as a great introduction to the magical world of computer programming.
Great for kids aged 10+. Priced at around $220
2) VTech InnoTab
The VTech Inno Tab is one of the new generation of kids iPads. Featuring a 5″ color high resolution touch screen with a built in tilt sensor, a built in MP3 player,as well as a built in video player, an eBook reader, an interactive globe and a photo viewer. Just like the grown up iPad, The VTech InnoTab has a USB port for downloading games, eBooks and apps, but comes app ready with an art studio app and an organizer app which includes a calendar, address book and clock. Of course the screen is half the size of the iPad 2 and the Inno Tab’s memory is tiny compared to the powerful iPad 2, but what makes this a perfect present is the VTech Learning Lodge where you can download fun and educational apps for your child.
Great for kids aged 4-9 years. Priced at around $80
3) The LeapPad Explorer Tablet
The LeapPad Explorer Tablet is the rival to the Vtech InnoTab in the “Kids iPad” war. With many of the same fun features as the InnoTab, such as a 5″ color high resolution screen that uses “finger touch” technology and a USB port for uploading photo, videos and downloading apps. However, in addition, the LeapPad Explorer has not only a built in camera, but also a built in microphone and video recorder. There’s also a headphone jack for peaceful game playing and a stylus for precision on-screen writing. The LeapPad Explorer Tablet also has a bigger library of games in its App Center, many of which can be adjusted to your child’s learning level. These extra features mean that the LeapPad Explorer Tablet retails for a higher price than the VTech InnoTab.
Great for kids aged 4-9 years. Priced around $100 (Tablet only) $160 (Tablet plus 2 game cartridges plus $10 App Center card)
4) Fisher Price Kid Tough See Yourself Camera
What I love about the Fisher Price Kid Tough range of cameras is that they really are tough! Drop one of these, and the rubber covered plastic casing will protect it (my 2 tear old has tested this feature many times!) The Kid Tough See Yourself Camera takes high resolution photos and videos and features a 180° rotating lens, great for self portraits! It’s got a cool 4 x zoom lens and is compatible with SD cards so you can easily extend the built in memory which will store 1300 pics or 5 minutes of video. Upload the pictures to your computer for the whole family to see and have fun editing the photos by downloading the Fisher Price software (for PC’s only).
Great for kids aged 3-7 years. Priced at around $50
5) LeapFrog Leapster Explorer
The Leapster Explorer is the holder of the Toy Industry Association’s 2011 Educational Toy of the Year Award. It’s packed full of features including a 3.2″ full color, high resolution, touch sensitive screen, over 40 cartridge and downloadable games available featuring eBooks, videos and flash cards and each game can be personalized to your child’s skill level. The Leapster Explorer integrates with the LeapFrog Learning Path which allows parents to track their child’s progress on the games that they play. The Leapster Explorer comes preloaded with the Pet Pad game where your child gets to create and look after their pets, and other apps featuring popular characters from Pixar, Disney and Nickelodeon are also available to download or buy.
Great for kids aged 4-9 years. Priced around $50
Which of these fun educational toys will be on your gift list this holiday season?
Caroline Mukisa obsessively reviews kids educational toys at her Learning Toys Buzz website. Join her for in depth reviews of the hottest educational kids toys, games and puzzles.