Kicking off our Read & Go 2014 Summer Reading Campaign with our technology bundle has me thinking about technology for kids. I often see my friends asking for advice about what to buy or pack for keeping kids entertained during upcoming travels. While kids’ electronic use should definitely be monitored and used in moderation, we consider vacations a great time to allow our kids to use their gadgets. Here are some of our favorites and other popular picks for technology for kids.
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These products seem perfect for preschoolers or early elementary age kids.
Leapster Explorer: This was the very first kid’s electronic device we ever purchased. It served us well on our travels. They have two options, the Explorer and the ExplorerGS, which includes motion movement sensors and a camera.
VTech MobiGo: This is the handheld gaming device created by VTech. It’s similar to the Explorer but includes a slide-out keyboard.
LeapFrog Reader: When we owned this is was the Tag Reader, and my youngest loved it. Great for kids who have a natural interest in books and stories.
Leapfrog LeapPad: You’ll pay a higher price for this one, but it’s moving into the tablet phase which some kids might appreciate, plus gaining a larger screen. They offer you two options, the LeapPad2 and the LeapPad Ultra.
VTech InnoTab: We started with LeapFrog early on so stuck with that brand, however many people love the VTech InnoTab as a competitor option to the LeapPad.
Once your kids get older, you’ll need to move past the early age electronics and there are many tablets to choose from.
Kurio: Priced at an entry level this allows your kids to move into an Android tablet without breaking the bank.
Nabi: The Nabi tablets seem to have been designed with the intent of being a kids tablet. That might appeal to some parents of slippery fingered kiddos.
Samsung Galaxy Tab: This is the choice we made for our girls. We purchased the Tab 3 version, but they just came out with a new Tab 4. Another Android tablet option, but this one isn’t tailored towards kids. We felt it was the best option for the price and power.
Kindle Fire: We’re running a Kindle Fire HD giveaway right now! The Kindle has some great features if you’re shopping for a kids’ tablet. The Kindle FreeTime is especially impressive in that it allows you limit the amount of time your child spends on their tablet or in specific types of activities (like games & videos).
Apple iPad: Perhaps you really love iOS, or you’re not concerned with cost, the iPad is the ultimate tablet choice in my opinion. I have one for my personal use and it really is an amazing piece of technology. Watching videos, reading books, playing games, and surfing the net are all seamless and enjoyable with the iPad. If you do decide to go the iPad route for your kids, you might want to consider a sturdy case like this Speck Products iGuy Freestanding Case.
Having a playlist of all their favorite songs is fun for many kids. But MP3 players aren’t just for music…audiobooks are available to borrow from most public libraries.
MP3 Player: This is a great and affordable option for a kids’ gadget on the go. This SanDisk is only $29.99, and partnered with a nice pair of kids headphones will keep the kids entertained, and the car quiet!
iPods: Before moving into the world of tablets from learning devices my oldest had an iPod touch. It was great because it was easy for her to handle and carry around, worked great for audio and games, plus she could even watch movies and shows. The portability of an iPod touch over a tablet is definitely a selling point, however you’re sacrificing screen size for gaming and videos. My youngest was given an old iPod nano by a family member which she uses for listening to music while traveling.
Watching movies while traveling is a favorite for most kids. Just look at all those parents swiping credit cards on airplanes to prove my point. :)
Portable DVD Players: Early on we owned a single portable DVD player, and it worked great for plane rides. However with two kids we invested in a dual screen dvd player system which we love for road trips. A few features to look for when buying portable DVD players:
1) internal battery – not all have them, so you might not be able to use them on a plane. And if you turn off your, car the dvd stops.
2) swivel screen – anyone who has ever ridden on a plane knows how scrunched your tray space can get when the person in front leans back, so having a swivel screen can make sure you can angle the screen so you can enjoy your movie.
3) dual movie option – this is the feature that sold us on our DVD players, each child could watch their own movie (especially great if you have kids with different show interests).
Letting your kids take photos is a great way to entertain your kids and capture moments through their eyes. Print off my Photo Scavenger Hunt as a great kids activity while traveling.
Tablet/iPod: If you already own one of the above items, it’s possible you already have a digital camera your kids can use. Just evaluate if it makes sense for them to tote it around to take photos.
Digital Camera: Another perfect way to hand down one of your old cameras if you’ve upgraded, or purchase a simple camera like this thekle. Be sure to print off my Kid’s Photo Scavenger Hunt as a fun way to entertain your kids and capture moments through their eyes.
Waterproof Cameras: As I mentioned in my Extras to add to your Cruise Packing List we like our oldest’s Kodak Camera. She loves being able to take photos at beaches, while snorkeling, and while playing in the pool. My in-laws own this Fuji FinePix and it’s a great option as well for a waterproof digital camera.
So, as you can see we kind of like technology in our family. All of these technology for kids options mixed with some great books and activities helps our family enjoy our time on the road (and in the air).
What’s your child’s favorite technology gadget?
Enter our Read & Go giveaway now for a chance to win your own Kindle Fire HD, $25 Amazon.com Gift Card, and Thirty-One Fold-It Up Organizer. (giveaway ended)