Tech toys for kids for Christmas 2018

Photo: OSMO
Photo: OSMO 

So we've heard that many parents are choosing screen-free Christmas gifts for their children this year, with a huge return to board games and toys from yesteryear such as Tamagotchi, Cabbage Patch Kids and Betty Spaghetty.

There is a place, however, for tech toy gifts that are educational and fun, and used in a balanced way when it comes to screen time.

For all those kids into maths, coding, robotics, or who simply like a tech element to their play, there are a lot of choices.

We've chosen some of the latest and best tech toys that you may want to consider for your children this Christmas.

1. Anki Vector $449

According to  Nick Statt in his review of the new Anki Vector robot, "if you liked Cozmo, you'll love Vector."
Cozmo was last year's hit toy robot. Vector is sturdier, has a more vibrant personality and comes with a whole new set of features, the most charming of which is that Vector can dance to music. Make sure you read Nick's full review to find out the long list of things this neat toy can do. 

2. Osmo $155+

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Aimed at ages 5 to 12, Osmo is an educational gaming tool with many different games to choose from. Using an iPad, kids engage in both physical and on-screen play, blending both to explore activities such as coding, maths, tangrams, music, and words. There are also branded experiences like Disney art and Hot Wheels Mindracers if that's you child's thing.
The Osmo Genius starter kit is $155 from Purple Toys and comes with five games. The Hotwheels set is $145.00. 

3. Sphero BOLT $259

BOLT is an app-enabled robotic ball that provides opportunities to be creative while learning. Kids can create and customise games and learn to code by drawing on the screen, using Scratch™ blocks, or writing JavaScript text programs with the Sphero Edu app.

$259 at JB HiFi.

4. Robobloq Qoopers 6-in-1 Robot Kit $299

Qoopers is touted as the 'coolest metal smart robot for STEAM education,' and is a DIY robot that can be made and re-made six different ways in addition to original designs. Featuring drag-and-drop programming, Qoopers is a great gift for a budding coder. For more detailed information, see the Robobloq website.
It has an RRP of $299 however  Shop of Toys has it on sale for $239.95.

5. LittleBits Electronic Music Inventor Kit $189

Little Bits kits have been around for a while and keep going from strength to strength. Now kids can build a rock synth guitar of their very own but the fun doesn't stop there. Kids can then go on to other instruments such as 'an electric keytar or air drums, learning STEAM skills, and drawing inspiration from real-world musical inventors.'
The kit comes with eight bits  including an accelerometer, keyboard, micro sequencer, oscillator, proximity sensor and speaker - six paper templates and 12 accessories.

6. KD Interactive Aura Drone with Glove Controller $122

It's like something out of a surreal futuristic 80s movie but it's really available for your kid to crack open the box and start playing with. This lightweight drone is controlled by a GLOVE people, a glove.
Using 'gesturebotics' fly it in all the usual directions as well as mastering cool tricks. It can be used indoors as well as outdoors, providing they don't fly it into the ming vase you undoubtedly have.
Check out the full range of features on the Aura website