Entertaining the kids over the summer holidays can fry those mental motherboards. So why not let tech take some of the strain?
Here is the latest tech aimed at kids that is getting our resident ADW gadgeteer Tamara Clarke all fired up.
The flights are booked, but before you pack, make sure the kids have the proper travelling companions and we’re not talking their little brother or sister (but please don’t forget them either!) We’re talking tech! And lots of it. From board games to fitness accessories, techie toys are the perfect solution to fend off boredom and banish long-delay doldrums. Whether you and the clan are taking a long-haul flight or surviving downtime in between excursions, these gadgets are perfect for kids on the go.
Tiny Tots / Ages 5 and under
These headphones are specially designed for kids with small ear lobes – helped by an appropriately sized headband that won’t slip off and plenty of padding for your little one’s listening comfort. Even better, with JBL sound technology, kids must listen to their favourite tunes in a volume below 85dB to ensure that these cans are safe for developing eardrums. The headphones are available in a range of fun, contrasting colours and come in both wired and Bluetooth enabled versions.
AED 149, virginmegastore.ae
Touch Shape to Life Studio
This kit by Play-Doh perfectly blends traditional fun with a twist of technology. Seven cans of Play-Doh, 15 cutters and four tools are packed into the box along with five digital character stampers and five action stampers. Your little one can use these materials to shape and mould their own creations. Then, in a magical twist, you can make them come alive on your smart device by scanning it using the Play-Doh Touch app, which is available on iOS and Android. Your mini sculptors will watch with amazement as their creation takes shape in a virtual
Play-Doh world. AED 49, toysrusmena.com
Little Tykes / Ages 6 to 10
Kidizoom Action Cam
Are you ready for action? Your kid certainly will be with this durable camera by VTech. The budding director in your family can capture all your summer holiday highlights with still photos as well as videos. Plus, the action cam can go anywhere and capture anything and is even submersible in up to two metres of water for those underwater snaps. The cam comes with two mounts that can be attached to a bike or skateboard and a micro USB cable to easily share files with friends and family. AED 225, mumzworld.com
Circuit Maze Electric Current Logic Game
Light up summer with this totally tech’d out boardgame, which comes with a game grid, 60 challenge cards and 17 game tokens. The goal here is to arrange the tokens to create a real circuit that lights up coloured beacons and while this clever game requires tonnes of brainpower, it also introduces your unsuspecting youngster to electrical engineering. AED 188, toysrusmena.com
View-Master VR Starter Pack
Get the fun started with this kid-sized Virtual Reality (VR) headset by Mattel. Simply download the free VR app, slide your smartphone into the viewer and put the preview reel in front so your child can enjoy exploring a virtual world. This headset is optimised for certain phones including Samsung Galaxy, iPhone, Nexus, HTC, LG and Motorola so check the list before you buy. AED 272, toysrusmena.com
Switch things up this summer with a new gaming console. Rated best in its class for this age range, the Nintendo Switch is portable and ideal for single players as well as the whole family. Put the device in TV mode and have family feuds with Mario Kart or let your kid enjoy solo ventures using handheld mode. The Switch has games galore including Fortnite, Minecraft, FIFA and an array of titles featuring iconic Nintendo characters – we love Mario Kart! The console comes with a dock, two Joy-Con controllers, a high-speed HDMI cable and an AC adaptor. AED 1,399, virginmegastore.ae
Tweens and Teens / Ages 11 and up
Young shutterbugs are totally going to dig this. The Zoemini by Canon allows them to capture, share and print photos on the go. With an 8MP camera, front-mounted mirror and ring-light, this gadget is sure to take any teens’ selfie game up a notch. Using the Canon Mini Print App, kids can print 2×3 inch (5×7.6cm) images on Zink sticky-backed photo paper directly from the device, which connects via Bluetooth and is available to download on both Android and iOS devices. Even better, the app features remote shutter and self-timer functions to make capturing photos a breeze. With direct posting to Instagram and Facebook too, summer memories can live on in both digital and print formats. AED 399, jumbo.ae
Fitbit Versa Lite
Give your sporty teen the motivation they’ll need to stay active this summer with a Fitbit Versa Lite. This impeccably designed fitness tracker is disguised as a smartwatch but its features focus on fitness including an automatic activity tracker, heart rate monitor, GPS, and many exercise modes to choose from. Like a smartwatch, Versa Lite displays smartphone notifications and has GPS. If there’s a little brother or sister running around, they can be kitted up too with Fitbit Ace 2 (AED 299), a fitness tracker designed for the smallest members of the family. Both are water resistant up to 50m and come in fun colours that really pop.
AED 799, sssports.com/UAE
Appy little ones!
New gadgets not in the summer budget? Don’t worry – make existing tablets and phones feel like new with an app refresh. Here are a few fun ways your kids can engage online and beat the summer brain drain too.
If learning a new language is on your kid’s bucket list, install Duolingo. This app offers a variety of languages including Spanish, Dutch, Danish, French, German, Italian, Irish and English. The app caters to beginners as well as advanced linguists looking for practice and it’s available on both iOS and Android.
Raz-Kids is an award-winning resource that provides a library of differentiated books at 29 levels of difficulty to really challenge your young book worm. With achievement badges and digital rewards for progress, the app keeps kids motivated and engrossed. Raz-Kids is available on both iOS and Android.
Chess for Kids provides a fun way for kids to get to grips with the classic board game and hone those strategic thinking skills. The app teaches everything from basic rules to advanced strategies on colorful, kid-friendly boards. Kids can play against ChessBots, other people online and if you sign up, they can challenge mom and dad too! This app is available on both iOS and Android.
Flow Free is known for being both fun and addictive but it helps train the brain. The app features over 2,500 puzzles, which requires players to connect matching colours with pipes to create ‘flow’. This game can be played in a calm, relaxed manner or contestants can race against the clock. Free Flow is available on both iOS and Android.
By Tamara Clarke