Youngsters monopolising your kit? Get them some gadgets of their own…
Any dad of young kids knows that nothing is sacred any more – and certainly not your prized gadgets. That pristine iPad, that shiny PlayStation 4, even that brand-new Apple Watch; all are fair game for sticky fingers and inquisitive minds. There aren’t many grown-up gadgets that are tough enough to withstand the full force of an excitable toddler, so if the time has come to reclaim the tech, how about kitting out your little one with these pint-sized versions of some very familiar gadgets…
This fully functional digital camera is cleverly designed so that even very young children can use it. The chunky handgrips on either side make it easy to hold and two viewfinders on the top meant they can line up their shots without having to squint down a single window. Although it looks like there’s a lens in the centre of the camera, all the image shooting smarts are actually built into that circular section at the top. That’s where the ‘twist’ in the title comes in; the lens can be rotated backwards enabling quick and easy selfies. On the back is a 2.2-inch colour screen, while there’s a two-megapixel sensor inside. Video shooting and voice recording are also possible, and there’s a range of games that can be played on the camera’s screen too.
We reviewed this games console from LeapFrog back in February; it’s a simple cartridge-based system with a decent range of games featuring well-known characters from Spiderman through to Dora the Explorer. As with the other gadgets in this round-up, it’s intended for use by kids as young as three and the clever controller ensures that’s possible. Its chunky grips make it easy to hold, but it also folds out flat into something more like a pointing stick. In that format, it’s motion is picked up by the system’s camera, enabling Wii-style gameplay. You can also go controller-free, Kinect-style, when the camera will track the motion of the player – perfect for youngsters who are still developing the coordination to handle the controller.
£60, Amazon (games extra)
VTech Kidizoom Smart Watch
Smart watches are still a fairly rare sight, as anyone wearing an Apple Watch and constantly fending off comments of ‘ooh, is that an Apple Watch?’ will testify. So pick up one of these for your bubba and they’ll undoubtedly be the talk of the nursery. And a pretty smart gadget it is, too. A built-in camera will take snaps and video, which can then be viewed on the 1.4-inch touchscreen, edited on the watch and downloaded onto PC via the microUSB connection. There are three games, a voice recorder and all the standard digital watch functions such as a stopwatch and alarm clock. The time-telling function itself can be customised with 50 different watch faces to choose from.
Griffin KaZoo MyPhones
There are few parents who can get through a long car or plane journey without a laptop or tablet on hand to dispense the odd few hours of Peppa, Raa Raa, Night Garden or other show of choice. And although it won’t bother your kids one iota that they’re watching the same episode for the tenth time in a row, everyone in the surrounding area might get just a touch fractious. Some headphones would be handy. In common with all kids headphones, these jolly efforts include volume limiting to protect little ears. There are several designs to choose from, including monkeys, frogs and penguins.
Another tablet for kids, this one stands out thanks to its built-in keyboard and rotating screen, which effectively makes it a laptop hybrid. It runs on the Android operating system and has a seven-inch touchscreen and 4GB hard drive. There’s also a range of built-in games, as well as parental controls. This one is good for slightly older kids; it’s Office-style software can help them get to grips with simple word processing and presentations.