The 20 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 overpriced 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.

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. These are the best tech toys 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

Makeblock mBot Smart Robot Kit ($85)

The Makeblock mBot Smart Robot kit makes it easy to introduce STEM to elementary school kids. The robot kit is comprised of modules that fit together with an enclosed screwdriver. No soldering required! It also has several pre-set modes that allow a child to explore essential robot functions such as obstacle avoidance and line following with minimal coding. For more experienced children, the mBot can be controlled via a Scratch-based programming system and has expansion packs that add new functions to the robot. It even is compatible with LEGO, providing endless hours of creativity.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Littlebits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit ($100)

The chance to build and customize your very own R2 unit and then take it on missions will be tough to pass up for any Star Wars fan. Littlebits has been inspiring kids to invent and create with electronics kits that can be configured into gadgets for a couple of years now, but this official Star Wars tie-in is a match made in heaven. There are clear instructions for putting R2 together, it can be customized and reconfigured, and you can control it via a slick app on your iPhone or Android phone. You can even plug in components from other Littlebits sets to expand R2’s functionality. This is the droid you’ve been looking for.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Anki Cozmo Robot ($140)

This ridiculously adorable, tiny robot, is packed with personality. Reminiscent of Wall-E, Cozmo hooks up to your Android or iOS device via Wi-Fi. It can be programmed in an accessible step-by-step way, but there are also some simple games your kids can dive straight into. Cozmo can recognize your face, get to know you, and develop its own personality. If you want to inspire your kids to switch off the PlayStation, or you’re avoiding getting a family pet, Cozmo could be ideal. Read our Cozmo hands-on review to learn more.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Galaxy Zega Battle Tanks ($150+)

Transform your living room floor into a battleground and go head-to-head with smartphone-controlled tanks. Thanks to Galaxy Zega’s clever design, it’s quick and easy to slot a battleground together. You can use Android and iOS devices as remote controls, and the apps allow you to earn points and upgrade your tank. It’s also worth spending the extra $30 on the X-bases, because they act as power-up squares or flags that spice up the various game modes. Younger kids can enjoy the tanks, too, but they’ll need some supervision and a smartphone or tablet to join in the fun.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Galaxy Zega

Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot ($195)

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.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Walmart

Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars Starter Kit ($100)

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. The basic kit has dropped in price now and there are lots of add-on packs available. There’s even an Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition for $120, which is ideal for fans of the movies.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

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.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

6 – 7 years and up

Sphero Ollie Robot ($59)

The Ollie robot takes the best of the original Sphero robot and brings it outdoors. The Ollie has a polycarbonate shell and knobby rubber tires that can handle any rough or tumble stunts you throw at it. Controlled by a smartphone, the robot can travel from the kitchen to the driveway and all the way to the skate park without missing a beat.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

SelfieMic Selfie Stick Microphone ($27)

If your youngster has their heart set on a career as a pop star — or they just enjoy singing — then the SelfieMic could be a real hit. It’s a selfie stick that comes outfitted with a microphone, though you’ll need to provide the smartphone in order to use it properly. There’s also a companion app available for Android and iOS devices that’s packed with potential karaoke songs. Your kids can even edit their creations, add effects, and share them instantly. That said, you’ll definitely want to supervise younger kids with this one.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

SAM Labs Science Museum Inventor Kit ($100)

The elegant simplicity of this electronics kit is appealing for kids and adults alike. You get a light sensor, a buzzer, a tilt sensor, a motor, and a few other bits and pieces in the box. Start up the software on your computer and you’ll find a simple interface where you can move and link together the various blocks. It’s not just about creating sequences for the electronics, either. You can also trigger your computer to play sounds, capture photos, and send tweets. This particular kit was produced in partnership with the London Science Museum, and includes guides that encapsulate everything from Morse code to alarm systems.

Buy one now from:

Amazon SAM Labs

Mattel View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack ($18)

Virtual reality is everywhere now and it’s exciting, but there’s still some doubt about whether VR is safe for kids or not. There are a few VR headsets that use your smartphone as the screen, but this is the first one we’ve seen that’s specifically aimed at kids. It works with various smartphones, just like Google Cardboard, and there are a number of compatible VR apps and games currently available for Android and iOS. In a nod to the view-masters of yesteryear, Mattel has also included reels that trigger different augmented-reality experiences. You can buy various $15 reel packs, which cover topics such as space and wildlife.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Dino-Lite AM2111 handheld 0.3 MP digital microscope ($99)

It’s amazing what you can see with a microscope. Your kids will love collecting samples to examine, and even everyday objects can reveal surprises. This handheld microscope plugs into your computer, laptop, tablet, or phone — the software supports Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS — and shows from 10X up to 220X magnification. There are also four LEDs to illuminate your subject and a plastic stand you can slot it into. You can also use it to capture photographs or video.

Buy one now from:

Amazon

Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Home Theater

These are the best headphones you can snag on the cheap this Prime Day

If you're on the hunt for a great new set of headphones for a shockingly affordable price, there are a number of gexcellent options this Prime Day. Here are the best headphones that are being discounted on Amazon's annual shopping holiday.
Home Theater

The best TV deals for Prime Day 2018 will have you watching shows in style

With Prime Day upon us, it's time to decide whether you need a shiny new TV to make your living room sparkle. We've rounded up the best deals on Amazon to get you a crazy good price on an awesome new TV.
Mobile

The best Galaxy S9 cases to safeguard your Samsung smartphone

The Samsung Galaxy S9 sports the same curved design and Infinity display as the S8, so you'll want to get a case to protect it. Here are our top picks for the best Samsung Galaxy S9 cases so far.
Movies & TV

15 epic sci-fi novels you should read before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.
Home Theater

If you need a Bluetooth speaker, Ultimate Ears has you covered on Prime Day

If you are in the market for a great sounding Bluetooth speaker, you have an excellent option this Amazon Prime Day, as Ultimate Ears slashes the price of its fantastic Blast model.
News

Prime Day is today! Here's everything you need to know to win the day

Amazon's fourth-annual Prime Day starts on July 16, offering Amazon Prime users deals on hundreds of items. We've got the full scoop on what you should expect from Amazon Prime Day 2018.
Gaming

The best PlayStation 4 games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Smart Home

Amazon slashes prices on Echo, Fire TV, and Kindle for Prime Day

Amazon is offering enormous discounts on some of its most popular devices, including the Echo line, Dash buttons, Kindles, Fire TV sticks, Fire HD tablets, security cameras, and much more.
Music

Listen up! These are the best movie soundtracks of all time

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled background music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Wearables

The best Amazon Prime Day smartwatch deals (updated)

Amazon Prime Day is upon us, and that means deals, deals, deals. We've been scouring through endless pages on Amazon looking for the best, and we've rounded up a good list of smartwatch deals if you're looking for one.
Smart Home

Amazon Echo devices get steep discounts for Prime Day

In advance of Amazon's biggest sale of the year -- Amazon Prime Day -- some of the company's most popular Alexa-powered smart home devices are getting their prices slashed in a major way.
Emerging Tech

Meet the gigantic machine that eats land mines for breakfast

This mine-munching tank of a machine is capable of chewing through landmine-infested soil at an unimaginable rate. Thanks to it, we could have a landmine free world within decades.
Mobile

The Best iPhone 7 battery cases to give your phone some extra juice

The iPhone 7 doesn't have terrible battery life, but you never know when you'll need to juice up on the go. To help, here are the best iPhone 7 battery cases that can keep your smartphone charged and ready for long-term use.
Gaming

'Super Mario Odyssey' is one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console enters its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Computing

From MacBooks to Pixelbooks, here are the best laptop deals for Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day is one of the biggest online sales day of the year -- and a great time to pick up a new laptop. From Chromebooks to gaming laptops, these are our choices for the best laptops to consider buying at Amazon's big sale in 2018.
Emerging Tech

Boeing suffers setback in space taxi testing

NASA's contract with Soyuz expires next year, and the agency wants to accelerate the timeline to certify private companies like Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese startup is planning an artificial shooting star show by 2020

Who says you have to wait around for a meteor shower? Not ALE Co., a Tokyo-based startup that wants you to wish upon a shooting star anytime you'd like. The company is creating a system that provides "shooting stars on demand."
Emerging Tech

From robot insects to human-sniffing sensors, this rescue tech could save lives

Technology like inflatable vine robots and skin-sniffing smart sensors sound interesting, but could they actually save a person's life in a potential rescue mission? You may be surprised!
Emerging Tech

NASA is teaming up with the United Arab Emirates to send humans into space

Nasa has recently signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to advance human space travel. In a recent tweet, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the signing of a joint letter of intent.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Opportunity Rover is stuck in a giant dust storm that won’t end for months

A massive dust storm that is about the size of our continent has shrouded Mars and covered Opportunity for the last several weeks. Much of the planet is in the dark—and so too is Earth about Opportunity's whereabouts.
Social Media

Is another broadband option brewing? Facebook is building a satellite

In publicly disclosed FCC emails and in a confirmation to Wired, Facebook has revealed that it is looking to launch an in-house developed satellite called Athena in order to offer broadband service to "unserved and underserved" areas.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Roll-up solar panels, dream controllers, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
1 of 2