There’s nothing like the excitement of Christmas morning. Gobbling the final Advent chocolate. Pulling back the curtains to check if it’s snowed. Scurrying downstairs to see what tech toys Santa’s brought. And all before sunrise.
But while you might be the biggest kid in the house, at some point the sprogs get to go first. At which point, your Yuletide duty is restricted to shouting “he’s been, he’s been, he’s been,” before demolishing an entire chocolate orange while jealously watching your offspring tear into their presents.
Stumped for what to stash in their stockings? From fitness bands to child-proof tablets, these Christmas tech toys should make your role as Santa’s assistant that much simpler – and keep the little ones busy while you whip up a consolatory Buck’s Fizz.
Our pick of the best Christmas tech toys for kids
Belkin Soundform Nano
If you know all the words to Baby Shark then you probably should have bought your nipper some headphones a long time ago – and with these Bluetooth buds you can save your own ears from any more sonic torture while knowing the little one’s are protected. They have an 85Db volume limiter, offer five hours of playtime with another 19 stored in the charging case. They’re water- and sweat-resistant too, so hopefully won’t need replacing by January.
The kids might love your tall tales, but telling the one about the talking pineapple for the tenth time is likely to leave you as snoozy as them. Give your vocal chords a rest with Toniebox. Pop a Tonie figure on top of the box and the story will start. There’s a whole cast of characters available, from Simba to Lightning McQueen, each with a yarn to spin. You can also record stories of your own, so they can hear your spiel about Pineapple Pete repeatedly.
Lego Table Football
Lego’s listed its new Table Football set as suitable for ages 18+, but we reckon that just means you have a good excuse to help the kids assemble it. The 2339-piece set is both buildable and playable, with each minifig team having a goalkeeper, two defenders and two forwards. Another 12 fill the separate grandstand, because what’s the point of scoring a last-minute worldie if there are no plastic people there to see it?
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro
Handing a youngster a tablet doesn’t have to result in them spending four hours watching back-to-back Minecraft videos on YouTube. Amazon’s trusty Fire HD 8 tablet has been beefed up for 2022, and the education-focused Kids Pro variant is as feature-packed as ever. Intended for school children aged 6-12, it comes with the usual kid-proof case, as well as a two-year guarantee should that fail its duty of protection. It also includes a year of Amazon Kids+, which grants access to a mountain of age-appropriate apps, games, books, videos and more from the likes of Disney, National Geographic and Lego. Which should keep them both quiet and clever.
This delightfully tactile little speaker is the perfect way to keep inquisitive kids entertained while mum and dad are tackling the turkey. Audiobooks come in the form of physical cards that you slot into the top of the device, which can then be listened to through the built-in speakers or with headphones via the 3.5mm jack. Mini though it might be, the Yoto boasts all-day battery life, so it’s perfect for long trips.
Jurassic World Real FX Dinosaur
Jurassic World Dominion wasn’t a very good film, but at least it inspired a very cool toy that is sure to terrify grandparents this Christmas. This life-size dino looks, sounds and feels like a baby velociraptor. Controlled using a RealFX pistol grip controller mechanism that’s built into the handling glove, it reacts to the touch and features 20 sound effects. But like nan’s dodgy dentures, it can’t actually gnaw on stuff.
Nintendo Switch Lite
The Nintendo Switch Lite isn’t the newest Nintendo Switch, nor is it the very best version of the console you can buy, but its small size makes it the best choice for little hands. And because it’s a purely handheld console, it means the sprogs won’t be hogging the TV when you want to watch Bake Off. With a phenomenal library of child-friendly games that’s still growing all the time, this is a Christmas no-brainer.
Computational thinking will help your little one go a long way. Trouble is, it’s tricky to teach coding skills without, well, a computer. Sphero’s dinky Indi bot disguises its educational abilities in a friendly four-wheeled form. The set ships with 30 coloured cards which trigger different actions when the robot rolls over them, stealthily teaching kids the basics of problem-solving, without a screen in sight.
Offspring jealous of your Apple Watch? This kid-friendly ticker does a pretty good impression of one, but limits the feature set to mobile communication with pre-selected contacts, safety-focused GPS, a camera and a step counter. Mum and dad can activate a school mode to stop youngsters messing about with emojis in class, while an IP68 rating prevents the smartwatch getting water damage when they forget to take it off for bath time.
Tamagotchi Pix Party
The Tamagotchi has come a long way since the early 2000s. Sure, kids will still be nurturing a virtual pet from egg to adulthood, but these days the screen is colour, the buttons are touch-sensitive, there’s a built-in camera for capturing memories, and most importantly, they can invite guests around for a Tamagotchi party. Devices are linked using QR codes, and there are 17 different games to keep the digital animal pals amused.
Kikkerland Huckleberry Make Your Own Motor Boat
It’s easy to wow today’s kids with gadgets we didn’t even have the imagination to dream about when we were their age, but sometimes the simple things are still the best. All that’s in the box here is an unfussy waterproof motor with a two-bladed unidirectional propeller. It’s up to them whether they attach it to cardboard, a bottle or a plank of wood, but the end result is a boat. A bundled battery makes assembly plain sailing, while there’s just one button to push for full speed ahead.
Fitbit Ace 3
Most kids are always on the move. If you can get them to sit still for long enough to attach this tracker, they’ll know exactly how many minutes they’ve been active for. Built-in modes include sprog-friendly stuff like trampolining and skipping, while the step goal should keep them busy as they race around to hit the target. There’s no GPS, but the Ace 3 is pool-proof and its battery will last up to eight days between charges – which is longer than even the most energetic offspring can keep zooming for.
Build Your Own Pinball Machine
Ordinarily, you’d need exceptionally deep pockets if you were thinking about getting a child interested in pinball machines. But this is no six-digit ’80s restoration. Instead, it’s an eco-friendly tabletop version that they build themselves. Everything you need is supplied, including the elastic bands that power the flippers, and each cardboard part is pre-cut, so you just have to press them out as you build. And the best part? No carpet-wrecking glue required.
Hot Wheels Rainbow Road
Rainbow Road has always separated the good Mario Kart players from the pathetic amateurs, and we can only assume that this does the same thing for Hot Wheels. The eight-foot long recreation of the legendary kart racing game’s most maddening track features five rainbow-coloured lanes that can be straight or curved, and comes with Mario and King Boo die-cast karts. A pack of five racers is sold separately if you want to get the whole family involved.
VTech Kidizoom Duo 5.0
Today’s smartphone-pinching kids are probably baffled by a device that exists only to take photos, but if you want to introduce them to digital photography then Vtech’s Kidizoom Duo 5.0 is the ideal gateway device. Aimed at children aged 3-9, it takes 5MP snaps that are viewable on a 2.4in colour screen, features a 4x digital zoom, and even shoots video. Filters and effects can be added to snaps, because all kids need to be well prepared for Instagram.