Do­ing it for the kids

Here are some clever toys to en­ter­tain and ed­u­cate your chil­dren, writes Rod Chester

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH -


RO­BOTIC dogs have been with us since the 1990s but their ap­peal never fades. This pup will dart around like a real one and is ca­pa­ble of fol­low­ing about a dozen com­mands, al­though it took a bit of pa­tience get­ting him to lis­ten. The com­mands in­clude “sit”, “shake a paw”, “speak” ( he barks) and “come here”. He’s also recharge­able. Zoomer is likely to be a big hit this Christ­mas and never needs feed­ing, walk­ing or tak­ing to a vet. toysrus. com. au


A BA­SIC pe­dome­ter is likely to quickly lose its nov­elty for kids but this de­vice has a lot of po­ten­tial. It works with a free Ap­ple app, with the wearer’s phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity linked to progress in the app game. It’s a well- made de­vice and when used as part of a group of ac­tiv­ity mon­i­tors it ev­ery­one in the fam­ily. The down­side is the app kept crash­ing for us and a par­ent has to reg­is­ter with a credit card ( to prove they are an adult) be­fore they can get the de­vice to work.


IF you saw Hugh Jack­man’s box­ing ro­bot movie Real Steel and thought it would make a fun game, this is for you. The Bat­troborg Bat­tle Arena comes with a pair of bat­tling ro­bots with other bruis­ers sold sep­a­rately. To make your ro­bot fi ght, you punch and swing your re­mote, mak­ing it more fun than your typ­i­cal re­mote- con­trolled game. You can bat­tle against a drone by your­self or chal­lenge one or more friends in a brawl that can in­volve up to 20 ro­bots. There’s also a free app ( Ap­ple iOS and Google An­droid) that lets you take your ro­bot boxer through boot camp. au. bat­troborg. com


LEAPFROG has long been a lead­ing brand in ed­u­ca­tional tech­nol­ogy toys for kids. Think of this tough tablet as be­ing the kid- specifi c ver­sion of the tablet mum and dad use, with apps in­clud­ing an e- book reader, cam­era and games. The strength of this de­vice is that it’s de­signed for kids, with high- qual­ity ed­u­ca­tional apps, and you know they’re not be­ing ex­posed to the wider in­ter­net. The down­side is that we found it slow com­pared to a “nor­mal” tablet and older kids will prob­a­bly still pester you for a turn on an adult ver­sion. It’s aimed at four to nine- year- olds but the older kids in that range might fi nd it too ju­nior. leapfrog. com


BIG Hugs Elmo does ex­actly what you ex­pect – he wraps those arms around you and hugs with an en­thu­si­asm only Elmo can muster. He does a few more things as well, in­clud­ing chat­ter­ing away, en­cour­ag­ing you to imag­ine var­i­ous things. One of the fea­tures likely to be pop­u­lar with par­ents is when you lay him down he be­comes tired and sings a lul­laby. One down­side is his belly, which holds his smarts. It’s fairly hard when he hugs you, but the rest of him re­mains life­like, in an Elmo way. has­bro­

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