12. 16. 2006
Holiday Gift Guide 2006 - Kids
Teaching kids the value of money is an important lesson that can never be learned too early. This ATM machine bank for kids works with real bills, and teaches children the concepts of depositing and withdrawing money. It uses functioning passwords and remembers how much money has been saved. The ATM Bank is available at the Discovery Channel Store for $39.95. (Ray)
I admit that when I hear "electrolysis" I think of permanent hair removal, but you can teach your kids to be smarter than I am with the world's smallest hydrogen fuel cell car. The solar-powered fueling station (can also use AA batteries) uses electrolysis to extract hydrogen gas from distilled water then sends the hydrogen to a balloon in the car which acts as a hydrogen fuel tank. This zero-emission vehicle is hopefully a glimpse into our future passenger cars, although hopefully the fueling time (10 minutes) to running time (3 minutes) ratio will be significantly improved upon before then. $130 at Hammacher. (Mia)
I don't know how they do it, but even infants seem to be able to detect when their toys are just plastic fake versions of the electronics that adults use. They want the real thing, even if they can't use it. The Kid Tough Digital Camera is kind of a hybrid -- very sturdy plastic exterior with big handgrips for still-clumsy hands, but it's also a working digital camera. There's a real 1.3" LCD screen for instant viewing, and enough internal storage for 60 photos (VGA resolution) with SD card expansion capability. USB connector so your little ones can become Flickr whizzes. There is a blue tough guy model for boys and a pink princess one for girls. I suggest being subversive and switching it up. $55 at Target.
If you're trying hard to please a little gentleman, the Aero Ace radio controlled airplane will surely put you in his good books. The airplane thrust is provided by two tiny motors placed on the wings. It's small enough to be flown in a backyard or even indoors and does not require assembly. And it's pretty inexpensive too � priced at around $30, and available from Toys R Us (currently not available online). (Kanchana)
The Sand Sculpting Kit could come in very handy for those times that you cannot take your toddler to the beach but still want him/her to enjoy the pleasures of sand sculpting. The kit includes sculpting tools and � of course � sand that never dries out. So your children can let loose their imagination and build castles right in the backyard. And if you think that you love your child�s creation so much that you want to preserve it, just bake the model and you can store them away for display. The kit is priced at $49.98 and the sand refill at $19.98; available online. (Kanchana)
iKaraoke: Griffin Technology cut it close, but they got this ready just in time for Santa. It's karaoke for your iPod. iKaraoke's all-in-one microphone/processor isolates the lead vocal track, then fades it, giving you room to make like a lead singer. Plug in or use iKaraoke's FM transmitter to play through your home or auto stereo. The mic has controls for the music, volume and reverb. Adjusts backing music volume. Pause, scan forward and back, skip tracks. Boost your voice with adjustable reverb. Don't blame me when the kids put on a concert and make you sit in the front row. $49.99 at Griffin. (Evan)
The iSkin site has paired with the popular tokidoki line to create some gorgeous covers for your iPod. They make them for the iPod with video, the mini and the first generation shuffle, and they're working on a nano cover as I type. Your only problem is going to be deciding on which one for your munchkin.
$29.99 at iSkin. (Evan)
Cosmeo: Give your child the cosmos, well, technically, Cosmeo, the amazing Discovery Education site, loaded with multi-media. With over 30,000 educational video segments, 20,000 images, challenging interactive games, and 40,000 math tutorials, it's easy to see how this could enthrall a child who is researching a project or just looking for homework help. Cosmeo is based on the multimedia tools from Discovery Education, and video from Discovery networks including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Discovery Kids. Using research that suggests that when children are exposed to a concept in more than one medium, they become more engaged, Discovery Education built Cosmeo to bring together all the resources of multi-media. For grades K-12, you can either pay $9.95 a month or $99 a year at Cosmeo. (Evan)
We've written about a number of these interactive speakers: the i-Fish, the i-Dog, the i-Duck, the i-Alligator (ok, I made that last one up.) Now we have the mi Flower. Each mi Flower has an inbuilt speaker, illuminated flower petals, moving leaves and an expression face LCD display which can also function as a clock. Connect it to any digital music device such as an iPod and mi Flower starts to move and sway to the music; its flowers light up in rhythmn and the animated face makes "faces" at you. When the music turns off, mi Flower goes to "sleep." I would swat it across the room if it woke me up in the morning, but my daughter loves it. $24.98 @ b2stuf or firebox. (Evan)
Get a geeky "newbie" onesie for the "newbie" in your life. Thinkgeek also sells baby tee sizes. I'm still shopping for my niece and nephew, and these may just be too cute to pass up this year. I'll be able to purchase it at thinkgeek.com for $12.99. (Ray)
Get your child started early on the Spielberg path with the Ani-Movie Studio. This little stage and camera set comes with backgrounds, and your kids can add drawings, action figures, or anything else they can think of to create stop-motion animations. $60 from Toys R Us. (Mia)
Finally a robot toy that does something useful -- battle other robots. DNA robots use infrared beams to detect and then take each other down. Battle moves are stored in memory so the battle bots get smarter the more they play. A little science education and a lot of non-gory voyeuristic violence, what could be better? $100 from FAO. (Mia)
Your kids have blinged out their phones, but what about that Pez dispenser? For $49.99 you can buy 'em a cartoon character -- take your pick -- immortalized in Swarovski crystal. Each is paired with its own keepsake suede pouch. $ 49.99 at FAO Schwarz. (Evan)
My nephew loves trains and cookies. Maybe he'll learn to love baking if he can make cookies in the shape of trains, planes and rockets. The Transportation Cookie Cutters are $24.00 from Willams-Sonoma. (Ray)
I love creative gifts for kids, like this Bubble Gum Factory kit. Kids actually make the gum and then give it a flavor, color and shape. This gift retails for $19.95 at the Discovery Channel Store. (Ray)
Kids love to cook, even if it's only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I think it may have something to do with feeling like that are just like adults. You can accentuate that with this great kid's Train Apron, which can also be personalized. Available from Williams-Sonoma for $24.00. (Ray)
Nothing makes me want to return to childhood more than an Easy-Bake oven. Now the oven is improved with a heating element that provides much more even baking than the traditional lightbulb which made for lumpy, hills-and-valleys mini-cakes. There's even a working burner for warming up toppings. The special magicool pan grabber lets your kid know when the pans are cool enough to remove from the oven. The little packets of powdered cakes and cookies are supposedly "improved" as well, but you can add the Gourmet Easy-Bake Oven cookbook for recipes from chefs like Rick Bayless and Bobby Flay, cut down to Easy-Bake size. $39.99. (Mia)
For more gifts for the baby and toddler set, check out the holiday gift guide on Babygadget.