Technology is engrained in our everyday lives today, which means as much as we might want to reduce how much time our kids spend with tech, it’s a critical skill for them to get used to using it.
When it comes to babies and toddlers, you might not want to stick a smartphone or tablet in their hands for hours on end. But there are some great tech-savvy toys that have educational components, too, teaching kids about things like letters, numbers, words, phrases, and colours, and helping them develop those important fine motor skills.
Whether you’re looking for something for your own child, or a gift for a child who’s anywhere from 6 months up to 4 years in age, here are 10 great tech toys to consider.
10 Vtech Touch & Teach Word Book
This adorable electronic book is both fun and educational, with 12 touch-sensitive pages that teach kids more than 100 words across six categories. Ideal for pre-K kids aged 18 months up to 4 years, there are four modes of play: what’s that word, letter fun, music time, and find it.
Each touch-sensitive page is accompanied by sounds and music along with the words, and kids are guided through play by the Tech Smart Cubs Cody and Cora. Kids learn fine motor skills as well as their ABCs. It requires two AAA batteries, which are included for demo purposes, but you should grab a set to start fresh.
9 Click N’ Play Pretend Play Cell Phone TV Remote & Car Key Accessory Playset
It seems like no matter how many fancy toys you get for babies and toddlers, they love to play with your smartphone, TV remote, and keys. This set replicates these items in a kid-friendly format with a realistic kid’s cell phone, car keys, and a remote.
Each item is bright and colorful and includes flashing lights, music, and realistic sounds so toddlers can pretend they’re changing the TV channels, unlocking the car, or calling a friend. All items are made from BPA-free, non-toxic material, and help encourage motor and imaginative skills. Plus, it’ll keep toddlers busy for hours!
8 Discover & Play Piano Musical Toy
A fun and musical electronic toy, this introduces babies and toddlers to instruments like drums, trumpet, and guitar, numbers 1-5, and animals like dogs and cats. It includes soft cloth piano keys that respond easily to a baby’s gentle (or a toddler’s rough!) touch.
The volume is powered by 3 AA batteries, and the device is bright and colorful with both solid colors and eye-catching patterns on the keys. Along with the piano keys is a side switch to shift from numerical to animal mode.
7 Vtech Pull and Sing Puppy
The family might not be ready for an actual pet just yet, or maybe you already have one. Nonetheless, this adorable puppy electronic toy, suitable for babies aged 6 months up to 3-year-old toddlers, helps them develop their gross motor skills.
The puppy will follow the child around as they pull it by the cord, playing music and sounds. The puppy’s legs move and the keys swing in its mouth. There are three colorful buttons that can be used to promote motor skills. The nose can light up and flash along with the music and sounds. Kids learn about numbers, colors, and parts of the body, which also helps with language development. The toy includes more than 60 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases. It requires 2 AAA batteries, and it’s recommended to buy a new set.
6 Vtech Smart Shots Sports Center
Help get kids interested in sports at a young age with this 2-in-1 basketball hoop sports center that kids as young as one year can use to shoot hoops or kick a soccer ball into the tiny net.
It has an animated light-up LED scoreboard that counts baskets up to 10, and plays encouraging animations, sounds, and phrases to cheer the child on. A purple lever on the side can be pulled to restart the shot counter.
On the sides of the net are buttons that introduce shapes, numbers, and sounds; it has more than 50 songs, sounds, and phrases to help expand your child’s vocabulary. Designed for toddlers aged 1-3, it requires 3 AA batteries (not included).
5 LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book
The Learning Friends Turtle, Tiger, and Monkey help guide toddlers through 100 words across categories like pets, animals, food, colors, opposites, and the body, each chosen by learning experts to help them expand their vocabulary.
Touch a word on a page and it will play the word along with sound effects and fun facts. Press the light-up star button to hear a learning song. All words are in both English and Spanish so kids can learn two languages.
Suitable for kids aged 18 months up to 4 years, the 9.4” x 9’4” x 1.9” book requires 2 AA batteries.
4 Vtech Lil’ SmartTop
Computers will be integral to kids’ lives as they grow older, so why not introduce one sooner rather than later? This tiny kid’s computer focuses on education and replicates the look of a real computer with a screen, keyboard, and mouse, and adds some fun piano keys. Keys on the mouse resemble an animal paw.
The computer comes with 20 sing-along melodies and four modes of play that teach letters, phonics, music, shapes, and stories. It can even be customized with your child’s name, stories, favorite songs, and personalized e-cards. Ideal for pre-K kids, it comes with a handle so they can easily carry it from room-to-room, along with a USB cable. It also requires a pair of AA batteries.
3 Baby Einstein Octopus Orchestra
Baby can become their own musical conductor with this playful octopus that helps them make music. It plays music with lights to keep a baby giggling and thoroughly entertained. The large buttons are purposely so to accommodate tiny hands that haven’t yet fully developed their fine motor skills.
The 9 x 5 x 8.2” octopus-shaped toy dons a cute white sailor’s cap and has five musical buttons featuring shapes of different instruments, like a guitar, horn, harp, and drums. It requires 3 AA batteries.
2 Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Light-up Learning Vacuum
Teach kids the importance of cleaning up after themselves with this cute kid-friendly vacuum that they can push along the rug or floors and pretend they’re cleaning. While the switch is flicked to the “on” position, they’ll hear vacuum sounds as they push it. When off, it will play learning songs and phrases.
A light-up canister button features more songs and phrases, while a dial clicker offers more realistic fun. The device, which actually tilts up and down like a real vacuum (so kids can pretend to clean under their cribs and in hard-to-reach places), it requires 3 AAA batteries.
1 Sesame Street Let’s Dance Elmo
What kid doesn’t love Elmo? This cute version of the popular red and furry Sesame Street character is suitable for kids aged 18 months and up. Standing 12” tall, he sings and dances through three musical modes, bopping to the beat, swinging his arms, tilting his head, and shaking his hips.
Each musical mode teaches about a different thing – colors, animals, and songs, and Elmo says different phrases to encourage kids to join him, like “that was some great dancing!” or to educate them, like “let’s think of other things that are red.” To activate a mode, simply touch Elmo’s headphones. His heart even changes color and beats in tune with the music. It requires 4 AA batteries, but they are included.
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