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12. 18. 2007

Holiday Gift Guide: For Kids

We've got great gift ideas for babies and toddlers over at Babygadget. Here, Popgadget writers share their selections for olders kids and round out Babygadget's gift guides with a few techie toys.

Spaceframe Sculpture Kit
This modular building system, selected by Fortune Magazine as one of the 25 best products of the year, is made of recyclable polyester, and is appropriate for all ages. Keep kids busy for hours with the endless building possibilities; give them multiple kits so they can build whole cities - without turning over every chair in your house. $169 at Earthtech Products; also availalbe at Amazon.(Hoyun)

Wowwee Robopanda Interactive Robot
Even if the AIBO has been discontinued, robot toys still abound. The Robopanda uses its built-in AI to tell interactive bedtime stories. The plush version of Robopanda is included and the robot is programmed to recognize and hug its analogue friend. Amazonsells Robopanda for $150. (Ray)

Scientific Explorer's Fizzy Foamy Science Kit of Safe Chemical Reactions
Get the budding scientist in your life started on the right track. Besides having a great name, this kit offers multiple investigations to teach children why soda fizzes and bread rises. Amazonsells the kits for $20. (Ray)

Brian the Brain
Brian the Brain talks and uses voice recognition technology to converse, tell jokes, play games, play music, dial the telephone, and answer questions from its vast store of knowledge from the encyclopedia and dictionary. The $120 price includes a 3-month subscription to Brittanica On Line (student edition). Available at Hammacher Schlemmer. (Hoyun)

Multimedia movie projector
WIth this LCD projector, kids can turn a wall into a big screen theater up to 60 inches in diameter, to watch movies and videos, or play games. It plugs into any DVD player, cable box, gaming console, or video camera, and has a built-in speaker. $200 at Hammacher Schlemmer (where, sadly, it's sold out); the same or similar item is available at JCPenney for $150. (Hoyun)

Power House Kit
For older kids (12 and up), this is a great hands-on learning experience about sustainable energy. The kit comes with everything to construct a house with solar panels, wind turbine, greenhouse, and desalination system, and also incudes parts for building other systems, such as an electric train, windmill, solar cooker, solar hot water tank, electric motor, and sail car. The kit, which includes a 96-page manual, is sold by Gaiam for $175. (Hoyun)

Lomo Super Sampler Camera
Introduce your favorite digital kid to the world of real film photography with this Lomo camera that takes four photos in rapid succession to create a set of panoramic images. Takes 35mm film (how retro!), and no batteries are required. Available at the MoMA Store for $55. (Hoyun)

Lump of coal
Whether you know someone that has truly been naughty or just has a good sense of humor, this licorice-flavored candy is sure to garner a few laughs. Always a good tool to threaten the kiddies with when they are getting on your last pre-holiday nerve [Ed: we really don't condone threatening anyone, but we would probably look the other way if you did use it for this purpose]. Available at Crate and Barrel for $8. (Brian)

Sandisk Shaker music player
If your child has taken to borrowing your iPod, perhaps it's time to get them their own mp3 player. The Sandisk Shaker is affordable and durable, and has jacks for two headsets as well as powerful built-in speakers. It also adds sound effects to the music when the player is shaken. There's a safety feature for tender ears too - every time a headset is plugged in, the player makes sure the volume is at a safe level. Comes in pink and blue. $30 for 512 MB and $50 for 1 GB. Available from Sandisk. (Mia)

Dog or cat mouse
Now that most pre-schools have computers, it's never too early to get your kids used to a life of carpal-tunnel syndrome. These cute dog or cat shaped mice will help ease the pain. These USB optical mice are sized just right for small hands. $30 each, from Uncommon Goods. (Mia)

If your child is trying to play with your laptop, take the hint and get them their own computer. This is our choice for first laptop -- the ClickStart by Leapfrog, which introduces your pumpkins to many essential computing basics, such as QWERTY key placement, screen navigation and mousing.
ClickStart hooks up wirelessly to the TV so the screen acts as the monitor, and the software teaches many school skills, including letters, phonics, numbers, colors, counting, and shapes in entertaining games, led by a green dog named Scout. Geared to 3-6 year olds, it's $50 at Leapfrog and Amazon.(Evan)

Carnivorous plant set
Sure to be a hit with your morbid little one - this little terrarium produces not boring old buds and flowers, but insect eating Venus fly traps, pale trumpets, cobra lillies, and other meat-loving varieties of plant life. $22.99 from Think Geek. (Mia)

Aimed at 3-6 year olds, this is the perfect first camera for your budding Annie Leibovitz. Besides taking digital photos, it also features photo editing options, so they can put a moustache on Grandma.
The smartest move was to include a connector cable so they can plug in and watch a picture slide show, or view the movies on TV or PC. It comes with three preschool games to keep them busy while you stuff that turkey. $60 at V-tech or Amazon.(Evan)

Star Wars light saber
How many generations of kids have grown up wanting a Star Wars light saber that looks and sounds real? Hammacher Schlemmer carries 4 different models (some single blade and one double blade) of LED light sabers (encased in shatterproof polycarbonate). A built-in motion detector creates authentic sounds to the movement of the blade (and that ominous hum when still). The single blade model sells for $120, the double blade for $200. (Hoyun)

If your baby loves music (and they all do) here's a great gift - the Learn & Groove Counting Maracas by Leapfrog. Music Play mode encourages baby to explore and create music. In Counting mode, each shake encourages your child to count to 10 in both English and Spanish. Recommended for ages 6 months to 3 years. Or if a spontaneous jam breaks out at your next get together, borrow these from your munchkin! $11.24 at Leapfrog and Amazon.(Evan)

Meet Bailey Bear, an interactive learning bunch of huggable fur from Vtech. You can either play with Bailey Bear alone or plug him into V.Smile Baby Infant Development System (sold separately) which includes cartridges which teach body parts, matching, letters, opposites and motion. Bailey functions as the console basically, connecting wirelessly to a receiver that transmits from up to nine feet away. $24 together at Amazon.(Evan)

Posted by Hoyun    Category: gift guides 2007
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