Futuristic electronic toys have been around since the seventies and eighties. Do you remember Bigtrak, Teddy Ruckspin or Tamagotchis? They’ve always been big sellers, especially around Christmas time. If you look at top sellers over the years, toys like Tamagotchis and Furbys have been right at the top of the charts of interactive Smart Toys. People seem to love to be able to play with cute adorable life like pets. Even though it might be on a tiny LCD screen, you can still feed it, pet it and take care of it, and that speaks to something inside of us. A lot of toys are still like this and now there’s so much more out there.
There are some pretty cool smart interactive robot toys nowadays, and we’re not talking about a Roomba! Take the Novie on Wheels robot where you can teach it tricks from a guide. They also shows personality with some hilarious sounds and expressions on their tiny pixelated faces. These are great fun and are a nice cheap stocking filler.
If you’d prefer to build something on Christmas day that can chase the cat around then Tobbie might fit the bill. It’s a brightly coloured six legged robot with cute flashing eyes that only takes a couple of hours to build. It comes with a great instruction manual and is 16cm tall. It has two modes. ‘Follow Me’ where it uses its infra-red sensors to lock on to anyone that goes near it. The other is ‘Explore’ ,where it uses sensors and AI to find its way around its environment.
There seem to be many toys that are considered Smart, as they can talk to an app on your mobile phone. One of these includes Hot Wheels id Smart Track Kit. Cars can race around a configurable track and stats like speed, and number of laps are measured and stored. Then in the app you can get rewards and complete challenges. If your child gets bored with the 20 plus track configurations, it can be easily extended using some classic Hot Wheels track. You might already have some lying around!
Building your own vehicles doesn’t come better than Lego’s Technic range. They’ve been making sets that teach you how things work and look awesome since the 80s, and you could power them back then too if you bought some add on motors. One of their latest offerings is this LEGO 42099 Technic Control 4×4 off road monster. It has wicked suspension and you can control it with an app for your phone. It uses bluetooth to communicate with 3 different motors ……
The Sporty minded have fit bits and Smart watches and things like that, but this self counting keepy-uppy ball is really cool. It has a speaker and a sensor inside so it keeps track of how many times you and your mates have had it up in the air for. The sensor can be replaced with a bung so it’s not damaged when you play a proper game of football. It does only count to 100 though and it arrives deflated so you’ll probably need a pump.
If all that’s a little too much you can still buy Tamagotchis…