Technology is ever-present in today’s world, so it’s difficult to determine the best ways to introduce our kids to play-based devices. It might also be challenging to find things that aren’t connected to the internet which helps to alleviate any concerns about accidentally wandering on sites or making purchases. Today, we’ll take a look at a few devices that my kids have enjoyed this year to highlight some safe low-key options that still provide a ton of fun.
Both of our kids, now ages five and six, received one of these watches as Christmas gifts this past year. They love getting time on their VTechs, so this particular item has withstood the fatigue effect which sometimes happens with gifts when they only get played with for a few months. The versatility of this device is probably why they enjoy it so much.
Along with having a ton of different watch faces available which they often scroll through to change, this watch provides kids with an opportunity to take videos and photographs. It’s especially neat that this watch has two cameras, one for selfies and one for taking pictures of everything else. Plus, there are various backgrounds and stickers to make those shots even more entertaining. Additionally, there are several game options, including a “Monster Catcher,” puzzle and mazes, and an adventure game where they try to avoid obstacles and collect items.
Overall, our kids laugh extensively each time they’ve used these devices – which is also a great road trip option. They’ve used the video to record their voices, so they can repeat silly phrases over and over.
My son received a camera for his birthday a few months ago. Although the length of time isn’t as extensive as the watches, the novelty of this gift has not worn off. This camera offers a wide variety of stickers and backgrounds. For example, Marshall took pictures of me this past weekend with giant red lips in one and a Santa Claus hat, beard, and glasses in another.
This device is straightforward, since it’s dedicated to taking pictures; however, there are a few options that make this camera fun and dynamic. The LEGO-like top allows for kids to add antlers or bunny ears to the top of this camera. The best option, something especially popular for my wife and I, is the waterproof case. This device can be completely covered to take underwater shots while also acting as a buffer in case it gets dropped.
The additional waterproof feature lets kids take this outside during water activities without any concerns of the device getting ruined.
There are additional options from Nintendo that most kids will enjoy playing, but I’m selecting the 2DS since it closely resembles the Game Boy that I adored as a kid. Although our family doesn’t own a 2DS, it’s definitely a wish list item that I would feel comfortable putting in the hands of my kids.
The Nintendo 2DS system, as well as the 2DS XL, includes Parental Controls, which means parents can control what their children access. This is an important feature for this device, since there is a built-in web browser and you can watch videos from apps like Netflix. If you have family or friends that also have one of these Nintendo systems, there’s an added benefit: “Use wireless connectivity to play with friends…with Download Play², only one person needs the game!”
This device also lets kids record video stop-motion animation, as well as take photos. Your kids will also be able to customize their device with software already included. Families can create characters, customize the look of your Home screen, while also using the Nintendo eShop to purchase new games. A huge plus with Nintendo is a parent’s ability to demo a game, since “Many games have free demos available on Nintendo eShop or Nintendo.com.” This really provides kids an opportunity to get a feel for a game to see if they’d want to continue playing long-term.
This type of device allows kids to play a variety of games, while providing them with independence to play in their rooms, at a friend’s house, or on a road trip, much like my years as a pre-teen. Parents can compare the 2DS devices to see what works best for their kids.
All of these devices are small and portable, which is perfect for earlier ages like my kids. I believe it really gives my own kids a sense of independence to be able to “connect” like I do, since they see me writing on my computer or sending texts or tweets from my phone. (No, I do not recommend social media for my tots, but kids often want to connect with their parents by trying similar things.)
Again, my kids only have access to two-of-three options listed here, but I can guarantee they would absolutely love having a handheld device dedicated for games. Well, they love board and card games well enough, so it’s safe to say they’d love a 2DS, too. Much like their watches last year, perhaps an NES is in their future for this year’s holiday.
In separate articles for “Best Video Game Consoles for Kids,” both parenting.com and reviews.com listed the Nintendo 2DS, but check out their lists to see if other devices might also be suitable for your family, depending on age.
What other devices should I have on this list? Are there larger gaming systems you would recommend? Share your comments below or head over to Facebook or Twitter to share your thoughts with us on social media.
Until next time, happy parenting and happy geeking.