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The 15 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Finding the perfect gadget gifts for children is trickier than it looks. The children’s toy market is awash with over-priced junk destined to end up unloved and forgotten at the bottom of a toy box within days of being unwrapped. How do you find kid’s tech that’s inspiring and educational, but fun enough to keep them coming back to it? We have just the right picks.

Related: Nine kid-friendly tablets for keeping your tiny ones tamed (and occupied)

We’re not going to look at obvious categories like tablets or smartphones — we have separate roundups for those. This is about interesting and unusual gadgets that will hopefully delight your wee ones. This is the best tech for kids. We have included the suggested age from the manufacturer here, but we’ve found that as long as they’re supervised, younger kids will also really enjoy most of these gadgets and toys.

8 years and up

Sphero BB-8 app-enabled Droid ($127+)

For any kids excited by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, what could be better than a branded BB-8 droid that can be remote controlled with an Android or iOS device? This super-cute robot rolls around in any direction, with his head floating magnetically on top. The companion app is packed with official Star Wars sound effects and a few different activities, such as the ability to record holographic messages, so you and your kids can have more fun with BB-8. The Star Wars tie-in does mean that the price is a little inflated for what this is, but most kids will love it. Watch our first look video.

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Apple Store Best Buy Newegg ThinkGeek

Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot ($150+)

What kid wouldn’t love to build their own 4-foot-tall robot that’s capable of mimicking them and responding to instructions? There are around 1,200 parts to this, including a brain, LED eyes, and eight motors. You can use an Android or iOS app with it, but it’s easier to teach the Meccanoid through direct manipulation. There are lots of voice commands you can use, and it can be reconfigured into something less humanoid — but be warned, it takes a long time to build.

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Target Walmart

littleBits Electronics Gizmos & Gadgets Kit ($175+)

Building their own gadgets can be enormously appealing for kids, but it’s a lot easier to dismantle something than it is to put it together. Fortunately, the LittleBits line of electronics provides them with all the materials they need to build their own devices. It’s easy to fit the different components together using the clear guides and a companion app, but there’s also room for their own ideas and tweaks. It’s a fun group activity that combines science and art. Read our hands on review here.

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Amazon Best Buy

Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit ($150)

How would you modernize slot-car race tracks? Anki Overdrive could be the answer. It’s like a cross between Scalextric and Mario Kart. Cars are controlled by an Android or iOS device, and you can race or battle each other. You can fit up to four cars on the track at once, but you don’t need company because the AI is impressively good. The track can be slotted together to create various different layouts, and you can add extra packs to extend it.

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Circuit Maze Board Game ($30)

This puzzle game teaches your kids all about how circuits and electricity work. It’s a well-made game with 60 different challenges to beat. They’ll need to move the pieces around and fit them in the right sequence to solve each puzzle. The challenges come in three different difficulty levels. It’s great for developing problem solving skills, and, more importantly, it’s fun for adults to play along with their kids. If you’re trying to cut down on screen time, this is a nice alternative.

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