Tracking down the coolest new gadgets for kids is one of our great joys as both parents and picky consumers. Each year sees a ton of launches, but not all of them make it to the next. Here, our very favorite launches of 2013 which both kids and parents can feel good about owning. More like this, please!
For years it’s been a challenge to recommend cameras for kids. They tend to be more novelty toys than good pieces of technology, but finally, nabi comes along, puts a foot down, and says, let’s change the game. For so many reasons, this is the one we’re getting our own kids.
You know this is an awesome gaming gadget when our kids ditch their Nintendo 3DS for it. It’s great for younger kids, perfectly sized for their little hands with a good grip. We also love the price–and the fact that there’s no more hinged case to break.
This year, Microsoft launched what is shaping up to be way more than a gaming system–although that’s how your kids will probably see it. It’s really an all-in-one home entertainment system through which you can stream your favorite music, movies, shows, and more. Of course the redesign (finally) of the 2010 Kinect doesn’t hurt. While it’s not doing as well as the PS4 in terms of sales, we’re keeping an eye on it as having greater staying power in the family entertainment center over the long run.
The Playstation you’ve known and loved for years is now nearly its own PC, with way more memory, speed, background downloads while you play, and best of all, Bluetooth connectivity. That means you can use the Playstation app on your iOS or Android device as a second screen for the system, and don’t need to invest in more gadgets, like a Vita. Plus the controllers are just awesome. Still, we’d like backwards compatibility for PS3 games and a few more great titles. Give it a few months.
4Moms Origami Stroller
While this one might not be appreciated by its juvenile passengers as is much as it is by their parents, this teched-out stroller is so cool, when our editor Liz demoed it on The Better Show this past spring, even the tech guys with no kids wanted to play with the running lights and the one-handed, push button close over and over. And over. And over.
Kudos to nabi who scores with not one but two of our favorite gadgets of the year. Jumping off the success of their original Android-based nabi tablet, the new nabi Jr is perfect for preschoolers ready for a tablet that goes beyond the typical “kid tablets.” It should cost way more than it does, but some how it rings in under $100. Thanks from parents everywhere.
MaKey MaKey Invention Kit
We’ve had so much fun with this gadget since Kristen bought it for her daughter’s birthday. It turns nearly anything (we mean anything) into a computer key or mouse, with more advanced capabilities for your older techy kids. What a genius way to teach kids about technology.
We never would have thought that Apple would come out with a phone that parents would actually race to buy their tweens and teens, but hey, there’s something about a $99 pricetag that does that. Ignore the cynicism about this phone that went around at launch; it’s a lot like the original iPhone 5 and pretty cool looking in person. If you have an Apple family, it’s nice to have an option that keeps a teen in your network.
Check our entire Editors’ Tech Picks of 2013 series to see all of our top picks of the year, and follow on Twitter at #CoolMomBestof2013