Best tech toys

Tech isn’t always bad for your kids: these great toys prove that

By Kitty Knowles 30 September 2015
Summary

Worried tech is killing your child's imagination? These incredibly creative electronic toys prove otherwise.

Ever guiltily looked on as your child is sucked into vacuous cartoons on your precious iPad? You’re not alone.

And, as technology becomes more and more commonplace around the family home, I’ve had increasingly worried conversations with parents who fear that technology is killing their kid’s imagination.

But this doesn’t have to be the case, and as digital skills become a perquisite for jobs in adulthood, it can even be a good thing for your child to get to grips with something like code, for example.

If we learned anything from BBC hit Girls Can Code, its just how important (and enjoyable) it is for younger generations to learn how to navigate new media.

So here are our favourite three tech toys to get your offspring started: all of which will prove far more stimulating and satisfying than the latest Angry Birds.

Zippy Kit

Founded by Elena Corchero (one of our five fashion tech leaders, and accessory designer in her own right),  ZippyKit is perfect way to engage even your youngest in creative technology.

Corchero created the brand in order to promote gender equality in electronics, finding that both boys and girls were interested in playing with technology that included textiles.

The MIT Media Lab Europe researcher started with Loopin, a little monster that children build and interact with, and form a lasting relationship to.

By playing with ZippyKit, children gain an understanding of volumes and how the smart puppet is formed from a 2D pattern into a 3D product.

And there’s not need to worry about accident-prone offspring either, as ZippyKit toys require no sewing, no specific tools or skills like soldering. (Listen out for the collective sigh of relief).

Find out more at www.zippykit.com

Kano Computer Kit

Nominated in the ‘Product’ category for Designs of the Year 2015, the Kano computer and coding kit has been particularly well-received by 7-14 year-olds.

A kind of Lego kit for the digital age, Kano is powered by Raspberry Pi, a tiny and affordable computer that you can use to learn programming through fun and practical projects.

After building the computer from its basic components, the doors of creativity open and young users can create games, record videos and music and more.

And, if you feel like you’re lagging behind the digital revolution, this is equally as fun and educational for adults to play with too. Steal it when the kids are sleeping…

Find out more at www.kano.me

Cannybots

“Built by kids, programmable and 3D-printable”. What magical, wonderful words!

Again, these car sets assemble like Lego, but with Cannybots you can drive your personally programmed car using Bluetooth (from a smartphone or tablet, or even your Pebble watch).

Adults can either purchase all the car parts, or your kids can print out the chassis with a 3D printer, and using the Cannybots app, they can even programme the cars to glow different colours.

Guided by light and colour sensors, the race-cars can be raced on the kit’s 6-foot long car track, or on limitless designs that your children can create and print out at home.

Say goodbye to your living room floor and hello to the Cannybots stadium.

Find out more at cannybots.com