Christmas tech: The best gifts for the kids
One of these presents may even help your baby to sleep
Ollie the Owl
On the hunt for tech presents for the younger members of your family? Here are a few suggestions.
Ollie the Owl – €40
For the smallest members of your family, there’s Ollie the Owl. The high-tech toy looks fluffy on the outside, but on the inside, it has some very useful technology, in the form of a cry sensor. Set Ollie to play one of his four soothing sounds – rainfall, white noise, a lullaby or heartbeat – for 20 minutes at a time, and if your baby starts to cry when its stops, the Cry Sensor will pick it up and kick off the lullaby or white noise to soothe your baby back to sleep. It’s tuned for sharp or sudden sounds – so it will hear a baby’s cry but not a parent creeping in to check on the child.
Where to buy: Smyths
LeapFrog LeapStart – €37
The LeapStart is an interactive books system aimed at children from preschool age and older. It comes with an integrated stylus and a starter book that lets you get a taste for what the entire system can do. You buy extra books on maths, problem solving, science and other topics, at different learning levels so the system grows with your child. Every time you get a new book, you connect the LeapStart to your computer and download the interactive content to accompany it. The 3D version is a nice extra, providing animations for some of the books, but it’s not essential.
Where to buy: Smyths
Fitbit Ace – €100
Aimed at children aged eight and over, the Fitbit Ace is an activity tracker designed with a younger audience in mind. That means less of the focus on 10,000 steps a day and more on meeting goals and getting rewards. The battery lasts around five days, which means less charging too. If you are competitive in nature, you can set a family challenge that will pit you against your children in a daily step challenge.
Where to buy: Harvey Norman
Vodafone V Kids –€104
Knowing when to let your child have a little more freedom is tough. But the Vodafone V Kids may be the answer. The GPS-enabled watch will track your child’s location and give them a way to keep in touch, either through voice messages from a select list of people, or through the SOS button that will immediately notify you that they need help. It needs a virtual sim from Vodafone – at a cost of €3 per month to keep the data plan active – but the V-sim can be linked to a pay-as-you-go Vodafone sim instead of a bill if needed.
Where to buy: shop.v.vodafone.ie
Want to give your child a smartphone but aren’t keen on opening them up to everything it brings? Nokia has teamed up with iKydz to offer a subscription to the Irish company’s mobile protection software that will filter content, block inappropriate websites, manage social media, limit screen time and so on. If you buy a Nokia 1, you get a free three-month subscription to iKydz. Your children may be less enthusiastic about the partnership, but it will certainly bring you more peace of mind.