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Toy Fair 2013: Best of Tech For Kids

Feb 20 2013 - 10:13am

Get ready to hand your tablets and phones over to your kids — for good! One of the biggest trends we saw at Toy Fair [1] was the integration of iPads and iPhones with tots' favorite toys. From classics like the Nerf basketball hoop and Fisher-Price [2]'s Little People Barn to new entries from Barbie and Crayola, everything is getting a tech makeover. Check out our 10 favorite tech toys for kids this year.

Nerf Rebelle With Mission Central App Cradle

The Katniss effect is going strong over at Nerf where the traditionally boy-oriented company will be introducing a new line of pink crossbows and accessories under the Rebelle name this Fall. The coolest among them is the Mission Central App Cradle ($15) that can be attached to the Heartbreaker Bow ($20) or the Crossbow ($25). The cradle holds an iPhone that, when using the free Rebelle Mission Central app, allows kids to join together (virtually) to compete as squads. They can create their own avatars, accessorize them, and then play games (and win prizes) in those characters. It's one of the first toys encouraging girls to do so.

Fisher-Price Imaginext Apptivity Fortress

Fisher-Price [3] and Mattel have their finger on the pulse of tech-obsessed tots — even those just starting out. Among the toys we can't wait to get our hands on is the Imaginext Apptivity Fortress ($40, available Fall 2013). The augmented reality toy has a Fortress case (complete with an attached cannon and sentry points) that serves as a backdrop to an app that loads different games depending on which character you're using. Tots interact with onscreen characters — a knight or a troll — to fend off trolls. They can even be knighted throughout the games. By using the iPad's camera, other toys (and friends) in the room become involved in your adventure.

Hot Wheels Triple Track Twister Playset

At first glance, the Hot Wheels Triple Track Twister Playset ($45, available in July) just looks like a fun racetrack that sets cars up for intense crashes as they loop around. But add in the included iPad stand, and download the free Action Capture app, and your car crashes become more intense, as graphics try to eat the cars on the screen, and the crashes can be replayed for future fun.

V-Tech Switch & Go Dinos Jagger the T-Rex

V-Tech introduced the Switch & Go Dinos line at the 2012 Toy Fair and the Transformer-esque dinosaur vehicles continue to grow this year. Jagger the T-Rex ($70) is the marquee product in the 2013 line and it's great. Using voice recognition, Jagger can launch drill bits in truck mode and then respond to commands in dino mode. Ask him to roar with you, and he'll do just that, in addition to providing you with facts about dinosaurs and prehistoric times.

Little People Apptivity Barnyard

Fisher-Price [4]'s Little People barnyard gets a big upgrade for 2013. The barn is actually moving onto the iPad — literally! The new Little People Apptivity Barnyard ($40) combines a barnlike plastic case with a free companion app that responds to the actions of the included figures and accessories. Move the pig from the barn to the mud, and you'll see his footprints behind him. Open the barn door, and all of the animals will appear to be running across the screen. Available for use both when the iPad's on and off, the set could redefine how tots interact with technology.

Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror

Perhaps the most groundbreaking kid tech product at the show, the Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror ($70, available in August) takes tot makeup application to a whole new level. A pink vanity slides right over the iPad, instantly converting it into a Bluetooth-enabled makeup mirror. The "mirror" interacts with an app that allows kids to "dip" a stylus-like makeup wand into a virtual palette of makeup and then to "apply" it to themselves. A made-up face appears on the screen without any eye shadow, lipstick, or glitter ever actually touching the tot's face. Face-tracking technology allows tykes to move around the screen without losing their makeup designs, and their images can then be emailed to family and friends when they're done!

V-Tech Innotab 2 Baby

The popular V-Tech Innotab 2 becomes more toddler-friendly with the new V-Tech Innotab 2 Baby ($70, available now). Using the same technology as the big-kid tablet, the baby version comes complete with rubber bumpers to protect it from falls and is preloaded with apps and games (think shapes, colors, animal sounds, etc.) designed for tots around 2 years old.

Nerf N-Sports Cyberhoop

The back-of-the-door Nerf basketball hoop gets a serious upgrade for 2013 with the new Nerf N-Sports Cyberhoop ($20, available Fall 2013). The actual hoop is now outfitted with a black plastic box with switches that, when turned on, "speak" to a free downloadable app on your iPad. Turn them on and watch as your iPad becomes a scoreboard, keeping track of each dunk, layup, and alley-oop during your game while providing an audio backdrop to your game. Then go back to the app and watch as it turns your moves into an ESPN-style highlight reel that can be shared with friends.

Crayola Photo Mix-Ups

It's tough enough for adults to master Photoshop while making over their photos, so imagine how hard it is for kids. Crayola’s Photo Mix-Ups ($40, available in July) takes Photoshop down to a tot level, making it easier than ever to stretch, morph, and otherwise play with their pictures (think adding digital stamps, melting, and adding backgrounds) before sharing them.

Battroborg

Tomy [5] will be bringing Battroborg ($70 for two Battroborgs and an arena), the wildly popular Japanese robots, to the US this Fall. The line of battling robots use motion-control technology to battle it out in a ring as tots use wireless two-handed nunchackus to control the action in the ring.


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http://www.lilsugar.com/Tech-Toys-Kids-2013-28159410