The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Best tech toys for kids
Littlebits

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

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

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

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