Technology has changed the way we work, and especially how we play. The new generation of youngsters is able to intuitively swipe a parent’s tablet and operate a smartphone with ease.
The release of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will have teens and tweens scrambling for the new gaming systems, which may be problematic for households with children of different ages.
The dilemma? If you invest in one of these systems, your younger children may feel left out. Realistically, your older children may not want to play an “E” rated game. Plus, some of the new technology is not intended for younger audiences. Nintendo even has a warning on its Nintendo 3DS that reads “Viewing of 3D images by children 6 and under may cause vision damage.”
However, there are alternatives for the little ones. Here are four of the hottest tech toys that everyone in the family can enjoy.
Recommended for: Age 7 and younger
Speaking of Nintendo, the company came up with a solution for the toddler set — a 2-D version of the popular hand-held game system. The new system works like its 3-D counterpart with all the same features, except for the 3-D viewing. The only other big change is that the system does not fold up, which makes it more durable for younger children, who tend to drop things. The 2-D is compatible with all 3DS games and most Nintendo DS games, so older siblings will be able to hand down games. There are also parental controls to manage the system’s content.
LeapPad Ultra Learning Tablet
Recommended for: Ages 4-9
The souped-up version of the popular children’s learning tablet has a bigger, 7-inch backlit touch screen, video recording capability and 11 pre-loaded apps that include voice memo and MP3 player app. It really is a tot version of an adult tablet. One of the best improvements is a built-in lithium-ion battery that provides up to 9 hours of rechargeable battery life.
Recommended for: Ages 7-10
The LeapPad’s competitor also has a 7-inch screen and is a true Android tablet with more than 100 software applications. The tablet includes a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, media player and Wi-Fi. Parents can check on their children’s learning progress on the tablet with the Wings learning system, which gives stats such as how much time a child spends on a task, proficiency levels and recommended areas of improvement.
Recommended for: Age 10 and older
Would you like to be in the crowd during the Monsters University races? Or go on an adventure with Jack Sparrow? The virtual video game system, which was launched in August, allows players to interact and play with their beloved Disney and Pixar animated characters. You place action figures on the Infinity base, a USB game platform, which transfers the characters into the game. Another cool feature is that users can create their own content for the games and upload their creations onto Disney’s server. Disney curates and releases the best ones for all gamers to use. The system works with Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Wii and 3DS.
Cost: $75 for a starter kit