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Are tech toys taking over this Christmas?

Fijit Friends - Christmas tech toys

What’s on your child’s Christmas list this year? It’s increasingly likely to be something that resembles or hooks-up to ‘grown-up’ technology, according to industry predictions. Are tech-inspired toys taking over?

The in-store decorations are going up, Santa grottos are being swiftly erected and the toy industry has unveiled its bestseller predictions for the year.

Parents, prepare yourselves – ‘pester power’ season is getting underway.

With 35% of all toys in the UK bought at this time of year, the Christmas toy industry is big business. And toy makers seem to be doing their best these days to appeal to little techno-heads out there.

Kid-friendly tech

Walking around the Dream Toys 2011 event last week, which showcased the year’s top finalists, it struck me how many toys came with a technological twist – we rounded-up some of the highlights in this video:

Handheld, touchscreen devices like the LeapFrog LeapPad and VTech Innotab were dubbed ‘iPads for kids’ – though not nearly as functional. Cars, spy glasses and watches came with in-built cameras so children can (slightly disconcertingly) record ‘undercover’ footage, upload it to a computer and edit into home films.

An all-in-one digital camera, camcorder and voice recorder that connects to your TV was aimed at kids aged 3+! Its predecessor, the Kidizoom camera, was the biggest toy seller of 2010.

The onset of kid gadgetry isn’t a new phenomenon; I remember gleefully unwrapping a Super Nintendo one Christmas. But its infiltration does seem to be happening younger.

Even techno tots don’t miss out these days – Fisher-Price has a toy suitable for six months+ that doubles up as a iPhone protector, so you can safely let your little one loose on games and apps. And kid-friendly iPad apps seem to be all the rage.

Oldies still the goodies?

Patrick Steen wrote about little Apple-ites and gaming fans here on Convo this time last year. Back then, Danny told us:

‘How times have changed! When I was a child, we had Beano annuals, colouring books and crayons for Christmas… A bike or some such if we were very lucky!’

But low-tech toys aren’t dead in the water – the two fastest growing toy categories of the year are building sets and dolls, according to the Toy Retailers Association.

Making it on to the alternative Kid’s Choice toy list was a sticker-making kit, cuddly ball-shaped creatures and creative craft set – all £20 and under. Even a board game version of Angry Birds featured, taking it from single phone to multi-player, real-life fun.

And while you couldn’t describe Doggie Doo as ‘traditional’, the bizarre game (involving kids ‘scooping the poop’ of a plastic dog) isn’t what I’d call technology-inspired.

So what’s on your child’s Christmas list this year – hi-tech electronics or back-to-basics games and toys?


The toy camera looks as if it has a viewfinder, or two. Hardly realistic these days. 🙂

Kids always get the best things! I’m actually interested in the Fluffling…

As far as kids and gadgets, I’m not one to bash parents for it, but I think they need a bit more time before they’re addicted to these things. Though of course if the parenting’s good they can let their kids use these gadgets in moderation.

And these ‘tablet’ like gadgets look a little bit like a waste of space – the power will probably be so poor that they’re not worth the silicon their printed on. The holders that turn the iPad or iPhone into something more child friendly look like a better idea though.

Sophie Gilbert says:
2 November 2011

Why does anyone have to buy anything just because it’s on a child’s Christmas list??

Good point Sophie and I completely agree, I’m amazed that some of my friends have been buying their kids ‘what they desperately want for Christmas’ since their kids were old enough to talk! We don’t give our daughter an option yet so she doesn’t even consider what she might want – hold off for as long as possible on Xmas lists I say!

Personally, I’ll also be avoiding these kind of toys – especially the noisy ones as they just drive you mad. The only one from the video that tempted me was the camera – my little girl loves getting her hands on ours and clicking away. I don’t want to quash her curiosity but have to always remind her that it isn’t a toy, so a decent toy camera may be just the thing. Not yet for a while though…

I love playing with high tech kids’ toys though sometimes don’t get a chance until they need to be repaired.

Some kids are given a lot of toys nowadays. I wonder how many of these toys will be remembered for long. After nearly fifty years I still remember my clockwork train set, which eventually went to a jumble sale, and my Meccano set, the parts of which were gradually used to mend and make lots of things as I got older. Nowadays it’s called recycling.

Wombi says:
9 November 2011

I am a strong believer that technology not only makes the learning process much more fun, but it also creates allows a more hands-on experience for kids! I

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Tony Jarrett says:
12 April 2016

What is best iPhone protector?