Christmas gadget gift ideas and tech kits for clever kids


Ah, the unbridled excitement of Christmas morning. Gobbling the final Advent chocolate. Pulling back the curtains to check if it’s snowed. Scurrying downstairs to see what Santa’s brought. And all before sunrise.

Alas, while you might be the biggest kid in the house, at some point the sprogs get to go first – and your Yuletide duty is restricted to shouting “he’s been, he’s been, he’s been,” before demolishing an entire chocolate orange while jealously watching your offspring tear into their presents.

Stumped for what to stash in their stockings? From construction kits to fitness bands to headphones designed for little ears, these clever gifts should make your role as Santa’s assistant that much simpler – and keep the little ones busy while you whip up a consolatory Irish coffee.



Logitech G435

Kids might grow into the giant jumper granny’s knitted, but oversized cans are no fun for little heads. Logitech’s G435 headphones are designed for smaller noggins. Aimed at young gamers, they work via Bluetooth or with Logitech’s Lightspeed wireless tech using the bundled USB dongle. And when your first sprog eventually outgrows their pair, the ‘phones make a far better hand-me-down than some tatty pullover.


Toniebox

It’s tricky being a gifted storyteller. Sure, the kids love your tall tales, but telling the one about the talking pineapple for the fifteenth time is more likely to snooze you than them. Give your vocal chords a rest with Toniebox. Simply pop a Tonie on top of the box and the story will start – or resume from where it left off. There’s a whole cast of characters available, from Simba to Baloo to Lightning McQueen, each with a yarn to spin. Everything is downloaded at the start, so the next adventure is just a moment away. You can also record stories of your own, so they can hear your spiel about Pineapple Pete repeatedly.


Gingko Smart Moon Lamp

Buy the Smart Moon Lamp here from Gingko Design

The Moon is the original night light. Trouble is, leaving the curtains open isn’t great for winter insulation. For lunar vibes without sky-high heating bills, stick Gingko’s levitating lamp on your little one’s bedside table. Unlike the real cheesy sphere, it defies gravity to float above a wooden base. But like the actual orb, its 3D-printed surface is textured, so you can feel its craters as it slowly turns. And once they’ve nodded off, you check for flags to see if the Apollo landings were actually staged by Stanley Kubrick.


The Blipblox

Buy the Blipblox here from Playtime Engineering

Hoping to raise the next Jean-Michel Jarre? This little synth looks more like a toy than a laser harp, but it’s also a surprisingly capable instrument. Designed for kids as young as three, it features 300 built-in melodies plus a 5-pin MIDI input at the back. There are no labels on any of the buttons, knobs or levers, meaning your mini music maker has to experiment to find their sound. What starts out as a cacophonous racket will hopefully morph into a deep electronic groove. With a bit of improv, your little one could well stumble across the next Rendez-Vous.


Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen) Kids

There’s nothing funnier for sprogs than asking Alexa to play animal sounds. While the Echo Dot Kids is functionally identical to the standard sphere, it comes with a few child-friendly extras that set it apart. Little ones can still order the smart assistant to entertain their ears with oinks and neighs, but it also comes bundled with a batch of audiobooks, games and educational skills. It ships with an extended two-year guarantee too, in case it wears out after too much mooing. Oh, and it has the face of a tiger or panda. Alexa, what noise does a Panda make?


Polaroid3D Candy Play Pen

Preparing Christmas lunch would be much easier if you could simply draw the food you want to eat. Polaroid’s CandyPlay 3D is the next best thing. Instead of ink, it’s loaded with edible candy cartridges. Use it to add intricate decorations to cakes and biscuits, or doodle your own sugar-free, vegan-friendly sweets in one of six different flavours. Polaroid’s website also has free templates to follow when layering your tasty creations, so they don’t all come out looking like blobs.


Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

Floor space is prime real estate over the festive period, but it’s worth pushing aside some presents to make room for Mario’s hybrid driving game. A clever combo of augmented reality and remote control racing, Home Circuit has you lay out a real track using cardboard markers, before steering compact camera-equipped karts using your Nintendo Switch. A live feed is streamed to your screen, where virtual hazards and boosts show up. Race online or against your mates as you weave to avoid Red Shells, rival karts and Uncle Fred’s slippers.


Sphero Indi

Computational thinking will help your little one go a long way. Trouble is, it’s tricky to teach coding skills without, well, a computer. Sphero’s dinky Indi bot disguises its educational abilities in a friendly four-wheeled form. The set ships with 30 coloured cards which trigger different actions when the robot rolls over them, stealthily teaching kids the basics of problem-solving, without a screen in sight.


Xplora X5 Play

Some kids can’t be trusted to find their own shoes, yet they still want a phone to call their own. Teach them responsible ownership with this SIM-equipped smartwatch. Xplora’s X5 Play can be used to make calls and receive texts from up to 50 approved contacts. Built-in GPS means you can keep track of wandering little ones and receive alerts if they stray from designated ‘safe zones’. There’s also a school mode to prevent distractions during class. And the fact that it’s strapped to their wrist will make it pretty difficult for even the most hapless minions to misplace it.


myFirst Sketch Book

Buy the myFirst Sketch Book here from myFirst

Stick a pen and paper in your offspring’s stocking and they’ll probably look at you like you’ve suggested they sweep the chimney to earn their keep. Swap the old-school scroll for this 10in digital doodle pad and they might be a little more pleased. Its pressure-sensitive stylus makes stylish sketches a cinch, plus the internal memory can save every scribble. You can also transfer their artwork over to the app, for sharing with relatives or pinning on your virtual fridge.


Geomag Mechanics Loops And Turns Construction Set

Buy the Geomag Mechanics Loops And Turns Construction Set here from The Toy Shop

Many a Christmas morning has been ruined by the absence of batteries. Avoid the drama of a cell shortage with a toy that doesn’t need them. This 130-piece set harnesses nothing but the forces of gravity and magnetism to fling ball bearings around a track. Find your own bearings by following the instructions, before adding other kits from the range to create custom chute runs which sprawl across the carpet like an analogue Scalextric set.


Fitbit Ace 3

Most kids are always on the move. If you can get them to sit still for long enough to attach this tracker, they’ll know exactly how many minutes they’ve been active for. Built-in modes include sprog-friendly stuff like trampolining and skipping, while the step goal should keep them busy as they race around to hit the target. There’s no GPS, but the Ace 3 is pool-proof and its battery will last up to eight days between charges – which is longer than even the most energetic offspring can keep zooming for.


BuddyPhones Cosmos+

Christmas music is made to be overplayed, but there are only so many times you can hear the Frozen soundtrack before you say ‘let it go’ to your sanity. Stick these careful cans on your little one’s head for double peace of mind. With no wires to tangle and a 24-hour battery life, your mini listener can do their Disney thing without driving the whole house mad. Active noise-cancelling blocks out the grown-ups’ merry melodies, while a dedicated Study Mode delivers crisp vocals for improved focus. And thanks to volume-limiting circuitry which caps playback at 85dB, the only thing harming their lugholes will be the jokes you tell at dinner.


Divoom DIY Pixel Art Drawing Board

Somewhere between an Etch-a-Sketch and an 8-bit video game, Divoom’s Pixel Factory lets junior doodlers produce retro pictures in a flash. Chunky mechanical controls and a 16×16 touchscreen make creativity tactile. Once they’ve got to grips with the basics, little artists can experiment with layering up to 60 frames on top to make pixellated animations. Proud of a particular cartoon? Transfer it via Bluetooth to the Divoom app to share their work with the world.


Polaroid Go

Shopping for a whippersnapping snapper? Instant cameras are a cracking way for budding shutterbugs to explore the fun of photography – and they don’t come dinkier than Polaroid’s pocket-friendly Go. Built to be simple, its fixed focus, automatic flash and foolproof interface make it accessible for youngsters, yet self-timer and double exposure modes allow creative shooters to get arty with their Mince Pie montages. Square prints appear in a jiffy, with all the analogue warmth you’d expect from a Polaroid camera.



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