They might not all look as if they have a tech tie-in, but don’t be fooled by their cuddly or classic toy looks. The modern day toy is packed with tech features that likely work with one of today’s most popular gadgets — an iPhone or iPad. If you’re looking to avoid tech or electronic playthings for your little one this holiday season, you’ll want to close this page — here are our best tech toy picks.
It’s baaack. Oh yes, the Furby from 1998 is back with a high-tech twist. The little creature now has sensors all over, LED eyes that change based on its mood. And that’s not all — you can download the iPad app and feed Furby by swiping food into its mouth. It also translates Furbish, Furby’s native tongue, into English. Parents beware though: there is no off button! Furby either has to fall asleep to be quiet — or you have to pull one of his four AA batteries out. ($54, Hasbro)
Leapfrog LeapPad 2
The tech toys aren’t just about squeaking and laughing — the LeapPad 2 has much more depth. Leapfrog’s educational tablet for kids ages 3 through 9 is packed with fun games and apps, and also has some grown-up tablet features. It has two cameras, a stylus, a 5-inch touch screen and built-in apps. You can buy cartridges to add other apps and games like Animal Genius and Disney Tangled. The tablet doesn’t have Wi-Fi — you can transfer photos to a computer via the USB cord. ($99.99, LeapFrog)
If you believe the data, the kids don’t actually want kiddie tablets — they want an iPad. Whether you get your kids a new iPad or just hand them over your own, just make sure it’s in a durable case. The $35 M-Edge Supershell is one of the best ways to prevent a shattered screen. The shock-resistant enclosure helps protect your 9.7-inch tablet against bumps and drops. It also comes in a variety of colors, including blue, pink and purple. ($34.99, M-Edge)
Once the iPad is protected, Mattel’s Apptivity toys are the ones you’ll want your kids to use on it. They bring app characters to life. Real Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope OmNom figurines can be used to play with the actual games on the screen. Just place them on top of the iPad and you can swipe and use them to play. There’s also a Hot Wheels car. Download the Hot Wheels Apptivity app and you can use the car on the screen to race through the game or use the action button to shoot at obstacles. They’re a lot of fun, but the best part? The apptitvity figurines start at just $9.99. (Mattel)
Griffin Woogie 2
Sometimes your iPhone just wants to turn into an interactive stuffed animal. Griffin’s Woogie 2 is an incredibly soft, five-legged animal — or Woogie — but on the front is a pouch for an iPhone or iPod Touch. You can play a movie or video, or you can download Griffin’s Woogie app. With the app, you can choose a face to match your Woogie but also shake and tickle the stuffed animal and see its reaction. As with the Furby, you can feed and groom your Woogie too and, of course, put it to sleep. ($19.99, Woogie)
Check out our Gadget Guide: Best Tablets.