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Toys & Games

Spotlight: Kids’ Tech Toys

We had the chance to attend the Kids’ & Family Tech Expo in New York, where attendees showed off the latest in tech innovations to hit the toy shelves.

The name of the game is STREAM, and to be more specific, programming and engineering. But while many toys were meant for a younger set, the price point was relatively high—targeting the pure-play offerings topping retailer’s top holiday toy lists.

To that end, we saw everything from sturdy kid’s laptop/tablets (with a detachable screen) to computer kits that kids can build and program themselves. Tanoshi’s 2-in-1 computer retails for around $200, while kids can make their own from Kano for $150–250.

Naturally, the bulk of new toys were robotics of various shapes and sizes. For the younger pre-school set, the emphasis was on old-fashioned wooden block play, with a twist. Kids can program a robot to move, speak, and light up depending on the sequence of blocks they stack. Examples include offerings from Primo Toys and KinderLab Robotics.

Code isn’t the only thing that requires sequencing, and companies like Technology Will Save Us and Pai Technology also showed off circuit conductors.

Older kids’ toys are more intricate and introduce app-connected elements where they code on-screen. LEGO Boost actually made it onto top toy lists, but it will also compete with similar offerings like Little Robot Friends.

And then there were the “toys” actually designed for parents—as teaching aids or monitors:

  • Urban Hello debuted a combination sleep moniter/alarm clock meant to age with a child in much the same way Mattel’s Aristole is designed to do.
  • A sticker chart for the digital age, Kudo Bands combine the concept of charm bracelets with a behavioral app.
  • Bowhead Technology showed off a water bottle with a built-in Tamagotchi-esque display, meant to encourage kids to drink their water.

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