If you are one of those parents who hasn’t kept up with consumer tech, you probably have no idea what type of holiday gifts to get for your kids. First, you have to understand the meaning of consumer tech itself. Everything is technology. A pencil and paper is technology. But we are clearly not talking about that. You might mistake anything that takes batteries or plugs into a wall for technology. But that isn’t what we mean either.
Today, technology refers to things that are computerized in some way. It either has a computer chip embedded, or is operated by something with a computer chip. It has some form of AI, AR, or VR. It can be connected to the internet, and it has or could have “smart” in its name or description.
This kind of tech is no longer the sole domain of some secret government lab buried in some unmarked bunker in the desert. This now describes some of the hottest toys for kids that you can buy this year. Here is a quick rundown of some of those toys you might want to get for your kids this holiday season:
There are camera drones that use computer tech, facial recognition, and AI to locate you and take your picture while in the air. There are also less elaborate drones with no camera that are the modern equivalent of stunt kites. One of the great things about the drone revolution is that they are great fun for boys and girls, young and old, and cover the range from toys to professional gear.
You can see the full range of possibilities online. One place you can start is https://www.protocolny.com/protocol-air/helicopters.html. You can’t just pair any drone with any kid. You have to consider skill level, temperament, and responsibility. Think twice about handing mischievous boys a flying hi-def camera. With a little research, you will find that there is a drone for just about every kid in your life.
Toys That Teach Coding
Holiday gifts do not have a gender. Many boys like dolls and many girls like trucks. So the same Christmas gifts you get for boys are likely equally good for girls. One of the reasons there is such a gender imbalance in the tech industry is that we segregate tech gifts by gender. A good example of this would be toys that teach coding.
We have to stop thinking of boys as coders and engineers and girls as school teachers and secretaries. The toys we give our kids are a reflection of how we want to steer them. If girls don’t get equal access to the chemistry and coding sets as kids, they have no hope of equal access to tomorrow’s jobs. Consider a high tech coding kit for the little girls on your list this holiday season.
You can spend hundreds of dollars on virtual reality headsets, and thousands on the computers that power those experiences, but the technology is still in its infancy and has much to be desired. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a taste of tomorrow’s technology today.
If your kids already have a smartphone, they can have AR and VR experiences in a variety of price ranges. Google’s Daydream headset is under $100. Apple’s ARKit powers many free and inexpensive gaming experiences. None of these experiences are fully baked regardless of platform or price range, but there are still a few compelling experiences that are fun for the adventurous early adopter type.
In a few years, tech gifts will be the only kind on offer. Tech toys already dominate the retail shelves. Right now, drones are flying off the shelves. Toys that teach coding are crushing former gender barriers, and AR/VR experiences are just starting to take off. You should have no trouble finding the right tech gift for your kid with so many products on offer.