Let’s face it, we live in a world where all things Internet are becoming connected in one way or another (hence, the term “Internet of Things”). Gone are the days of the Tinker Toy and Furby. Sayonara to the Slinky and Simon. But hey, if you are still holding on to a pristine-condition Teddy Ruxpin or ThunderCats figurine, they are now worth some serious cash.Kids of this era are more interested in toys with flashing lights, robotic movements, and loud noises—you know, the ones that leave us parents wanting to rip our hair out in patches. However, Internet-connected toys aren’t all bad, in fact, some of them are great for education and development. So with an
“if you can’t beat them, then join them” attitude, I bring you these pretty cool, techy toys for connected kids.ToymailPrice: $59Ages: 3 and upYour child chooses their favorite of six animal “mailmen” (Snort, Milksop, Fairfax, Rochester, Buck or Bushwick). After connecting to WiFi, parents can use the free app to send their little one a message. It is delivered using a fun, animated voice, and your kid can instantly reply—by voice, directly through the toy. Sure beats buying your toddler a cell phone, doesn’t it?My Friend CaylaPrice: £49.99 in the UK (from Amazon)Ages: 4 and upThis little know-it-all can tell your daughter the square root of 480 within seconds. She can even tell you who the Secretary-General of the United Nations is. You could call her a child prodigy—or simply an 18” talking doll that connects to an Android or iOS device through Bluetooth and utilizes Google to spout off random facts. Oh yeah, and she comes with a hairbrush and mirror—because being smart never looked so good. (Ok I will admit that she
does have a cute little accent.)XODO Wireless Spy CarPrice: $89Ages: 12 and upGot an uber-techy pre-teen? This might just be the perfect gift. The WiFi-connected “spy rover” is controlled through an Android or iOS device, boasts real-time video surveillance through its built-in camera, and has a control distance of 30 meters (indoor) or 100 meters (outdoor). And if
that weren’t enough, it also has night vision. We just hope it doesn’t make its way into the master bedroom.LeapFrog LeapPad3 Learning TabletPrice: $99.99Ages: 3-9Offering three color choices (green, pink and teal), the WiFi-enabled LeapPad3 gives your child access to $1,000+ games & apps, and pulls up only age-appropriate videos and more from the web—all approved by learning experts. And its durable design will make you happy you didn’t pony up your new Galaxy Tab or iPad.Parrot AR.DRONEPrice: $299.99Ages: 14+I’ll be honest, I came pretty close to buying this one myself. This drone can take flight, hover, flip and land, all while capturing photos and video that are recorded directly onto your smartphone. Its sleek design, camo-style options and intuitive features make it hard to resist. Your teenager may have to pry your fingers from the controls.And one more to keep your eyes on: the DynePod
, which launched on Kickstarter
this past weekend. According to their press release, DynePods are educational toys that connect to Bluetooth and allow children to create “a multitude of unique, useful programs that involve both the digital and physical world.” It’s also promises to grow with your child through cloud updates. While semi-hesitant, I’m certainly intrigued. Head over to Kickstarter to check out the video. It just might be the next big thing in the Internet of Toys.