Top Christmas gadgets for kids
What will Santa be putting underneath the Christmas tree this year? If he's still scratching his head for some inspiration, perhaps we can be of some assistance. These six gadgety gifts are sure to make eyes light up and keep your kids busy on Christmas Day and beyond. Just don't forget the batteries...
KidiZoom Smart Watch
With the Apple Watch set to launch in the next few months, 2015 looks set to be the year of the smartwatch. Although this child-friendly version is just a toy, it has a decent number of features including a colour touchscreen and a camera that can shoot video as well as taking pictures. Other functions include a motion sensor and three games.
While older kids will be hankering after a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One this Christmas, this entry-level games system is ideal for three to eight-year-olds. It's been carefully designed to appeal to this younger age group, with a simplified on-screen interface and a hint button on the controller that helps them out if they get stuck. Games can be played with either a classic games controller, a Wii-style 'pointer' or a Kinect-inspired motion sensitive camera. One game is included with the system, additional titles weigh in around the £25 mark.
My Friend Cayla
This doll's big party trick is that you can have a conversation with her about...well, pretty much anything. Taking her inspiration from pub quiz cheats, Cayla will look up your question on the internet and then, quick as a flash, give you the answer. She gets online by syncing with your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and uses speech recognition technology to make her searches. A pre-defined blacklist of specific words and topics ensures Cayla keeps it clean.
Find this at Argos
Xeno Interactive Baby Monster
If you've been keeping an eye on the toy shops over the past couple of Christmases, you'll have noticed Furbys making a comeback. Now those furry friends have got competition from another interactive robot: Xeno, who can display emotions and respond to touch. Xeno's LCD graphic eyes show you how it's feeling, while the eight sensors in its body include two in the feet that make Xeno laugh when tickled. Sure to delight any primary school child is a trail of snot hanging out of one nostril. When Xeno sneezes, the snot must be gently pulled to clean its nose. Delightful.
The official site for this iPad add-on is festooned with positive reviews by everyone from Yahoo to The Wall Street Journal. Its achievement is that it transforms the iPad into a multiplayer games machine that can interact with the real world. In the Osmo box you get a stand for your iPad, plus a mirror that redirects the front-facing camera downwards. Thus, when games are played via the Osmo app, the iPad can recognise real-world objects and include them on screen. If you're buying this for Christmas, bear in mind it ships from the US so you'll be waiting at least a week for delivery.
Price $99.99 (including shipping)
Vtech Innotab Max
As kids get older and more tech-savvy, kiddified tablets just won't cut it any more. Vtech's Innotab Max strikes the middle ground; a child-friendly tablet that is nonetheless powerful enough to offer the same features as the kit the grown-ups are using. Alongside a seven-inch touchscreen, the Innotab Max features built-in WiFi, Android 4.2 and a selection of pre-installed apps including MP3 and video players, a camera and a child-friendly web browser.