The latest results for the fastest and best performing fixed internet providers for Q4 2021 have been revealed in Ookla’s new Internet Performance Report….
We all hear the naysayers tell modern parents that kids should spend less time indoors and more time outside playing with traditional toys such as a football or some such. I certainly encourage my son to spend time playing outside but with the integration of modern technology into our daily lives it would be foolish of us to try and completely alienate our children from the wealth of high-tech gadgetry available to them as they grow.
But what exactly is on offer? Luckily there are a plethora of high-tech gadgets aimed at children that aren’t all branded and gimmicky. I’m not talking about the traditional iPad apps either, so sit back and see how many of these you can resist buying for your child (or the kid inside you).
Gyroscopes are used in countless gadgets, from game controllers to smartphones. With the Gyrobot, your kids can build seven different motorised models all the while learning about science and gyroscopic principles. Models include a gyroscopic robot, a balancing personal vehicle, a gyro (or artificial) horizon, a tightrope walker, a balancing game, a flight simulator and a gyrocompass. At the core of all of these is a motor-driven gyroscope. Of course, we really want this because it’s pretty cool.
As an adult I find the thought of this a little creepy, but I know that as a child I would have loved something like this. Although I never got into the digital pet Tamagotchi craze, there’s something about motorised fluffy toys that make a child’s heart do all sorts of crazy and irrational flip-flops. Not only can you snuggle it and it won’t fight back, but “it’s the only line of interactive puppy and kitten plush pets that you can play with, train to perform tricks and make more than 25 silly sounds”. At the moment, four characters make up this fluffy menagerie, three puppies and a kitten – named Bentley, Sport, Chance and Mittens. Of course you’ll be sucked dry by the playsets and accessories as well. Not yet available for purchase but keep an eye out, they should be available from around Easter.
I’m certainly not one to criticise handwriting as mine has shockingly deteriorated in recent years. That said, the art of penmanship is still something worthwhile investing in, and the LeapReader will not only help your child write legibly but will also help with sounding out words and guiding letter strokes as well as comprehension skills and building vocabulary. Included in the pack is not only the pen, but an activity book, a Learning Paper writing sheet designed specifically for the pen, plus free downloads to use with the kit. The grammar/spelling Nazi in me loves this.
Although this is a terribly named gadget, it appeals to me on so many levels. As the name suggests, it’s a pen applicator filled with conductive paint. You can paint it on pretty much any surface (except skin, don’t be stupid), and it will conduct electricity. Once it’s dry you can actually paint over it and then add another layer of circuits and the two won’t interact. It does wash off with water, so don’t be alarmed if your budding engineer draws all over your walls and lights them up in odd places, however this is something you might want to keep an eye on just in case.
Teach your kids about blending and refracting light with the Light Tech Lab kit. Using LED’s and a variety of lenses, they can figure out the hows and whys of mixing and bending light. Anyone in digital will know the RGB colour theory, which in this case can be blended to create a myriad of other colours. The different lenses and mirrors help complete the ten different experiments you can conduct with this kit. On the downside, if your kid is not that into science it’s fairly expensive if they discard it after one foray, but with any luck that first journey will spark a large number of “why” questions which might be annoying, but will get their little minds ticking over.
I would have loved something like this as a kid. This camera allows you to apply colourful and crazy animations to your pictures, and then act as a projector and display them onto a wall for everyone to see. You line up your shots and choose one of 50 animated effects from the camera’s built in editing software, and then a simple flip of a lever displays the show. It stores up to 1000 images, which isn’t too shabby for a couple of performances.
If your child is a LEGO fan, then this is possibly the next logical step. Laser Pegs allow your child to build all sorts of models, then light them up with LED lights. The components are made of clear plastic, and you can see not only the coloured LEDs within the blocks, but also the circuit boards, lending their designs a futuristic look. If you do want to go this route, there’s a free companion app that allows you to look up manuals as well as create and share your designs with others. Parts can be bought separately, or as kits which range in price from about US$24.99 all the way up to US$100 and over. Honestly, I would buy this. For me. My kid will have to fight me for it.