Holiday Gift Guide

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Dear Hope,


What are some good tech gifts for my kids this holiday season?


Sincerely,

Julia S.


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Dear Julia,


Great question!  There are so many choices that it can be hard to sort through them. Here are some of my favorites:


If your child is interested in electronics, Snap Circuits are a great entry and they are reasonably priced.  There are several different kits, but two that would be a good starting point include Snap Circuits and Snap Circuits – Snaptricity.  Technology gifts often require a lot of assistance from adults, but these are great choices that kids can explore independently. This would be independent starting at around age 9-10.



For younger students ages 3 – 10, I recommend Osmo learning kits. These kits are fun and after the initial set-up don’t require a lot of assistance.  You can buy the games separately, but I recommend the starter kits, Explorer (ages 5 -10)  and Little Genius (ages 3 – 5) which include multiple games.  Please note that these kits require an iPad or Kindle Fire.  Make sure you check compatibility before purchasing!



I am also a big fan of engineering toys.  While not specifically tech items, they help build skills needed to be successful with technology and encourage creativity.  My favorites for kids ages 4 and up are the Keva Block line including Structures and Domino Rally.  Older kids will enjoy the added challenges provided by Marble Run and Contraptions.  Or try a twist on the classic Rubik’s cube with the GoCube.



Working Together: If your child is ready for some more challenging technology then you may want to consider choosing some more advanced projects.  These items may require more supervision especially for younger age groups.



Kano makes several create your own computer kits.  The most recent Kano Computer Kit Touch allows children to make their own tablet.  They also have an older version, Kano Computer Kit, that requires an external monitor.  These kits are a great introduction to how hardware and software work together.  For younger students, they also have some beginner coding kits that work with a tablet including the Frozen II and Star Wars The Force!



There are also many great robotics kits that combine building and programming.  If your child loves Legos, then I would suggest one of the Lego robotics kits – Lego WeDo or Lego Boost.  Another great starter building robot is the MakeBlock kit.  For most of these kits you will need a tablet to program the robots, so please check compatibility with your devices.  There are also some great beginner robots that don’t require construction including Botley the Coding Robot and Cozmo.



Family Fun:  If you are looking for some fun for the whole family, here are some of my favorite games: Gravity Maze, Suspend, Stratego, and Qwirkle.  Or you may even want to try out a Tello drone for some outdoor fun when the weather gets nicer.


I have added links for your convenience and information, but this post was not sponsored by Amazon or any of the companies. 


Happy gifting!


Sincerely,




Hope Mulholland is the iCAMP Curriculum Director and a Technology Integration Specialist. 





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