Off on your hols? This tech toolkit will help keep the peace
Flying anywhere with kids in tow has got to be right up there with moving house, divorce or losing a job for the levels of stress that it brings. On the one hand, you’re looking forward to your holiday and a bit of well-deserved downtime. On the other, you’re faced with the nailbiting prospect of playing entertainer for the next who-knows-how-many hours with children who are being kept captive against their will. With that in mind, think of the following list as an insurance policy. Hopefully the in-flight entertainment will be up-to-scratch and you won’t even need to reach into your emergency entertainment bag. But, just in case…
Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition
While the Kindle is a great choice as a kids’ tablet, it does come at a price premium. LeapFrog has been making tablets for kids for as long as Apple’s been making them for grown-ups – and this new-ish model can currently be found at bargain prices. With its five-inch screen, the LeapPad 3 is a nice size for smaller hands and it’s built to withstand the kind of rough treatment typically meted out by its target market of three- to nine-year-olds. The focus of this device is on simple tablet-like features (such as a camera) as well as educational games. You can’t load movies onto it – so if that’s going to be important then something like the Kindle will still be a better bet. Its battery should last for around seven hours on a single charge.
This version of Nintendo’s handheld console does away with the 3D display of the 3DS, as well as that device’s clamshell design. Instead, the 2DS is a flat wedge of a handheld, built with durability and ease-of-use in mind. Since it has fewer features than the 3DS, it’s a little odd that it currently costs around the same (and at some stores, a little more), but it’s a good choice if your kids are young. It’s capable of running any 3DS game, but without the (generally superfluous) 3D screen that Nintendo itself has previously warned under-sixes not to play. Battery life varies depending on the game they’re playing, but they should get a good five hours out of a single charge.
Philips SHK2000 headphones
Everyone needs a decent set of headphones on a long journey, if only to trade up from the naff plastic-wrapped jobs handed out when the in-flight movie starts. Kids should wear a pair with a built-in volume limiter to protect their hearing from over-exposure to too many decibels. These are a good bet for kids of any age – they look smart without being overly kiddy, and you can get them in blue/green or pink/purple. Check our round-up of top children’s headphones for more.
Despite the ubiquity of the iPhone and the iPad, Apple’s venerable iPod product line is still going strong. In fact, a new version of the iPod Touch (the sixth generation, since you’re asking) has only just been launched. Buying into this latest model brings with it a host of benefits since the innards of the thing are now pretty similar to the iPhones that cost three or four times more. That means a new iPod Touch will handle iPhone-quality games that can keep your kids busy from here all the way to holidayville.
£159.99 (16GB version), John Lewis