Published December 19, 2011
Not ready to buy your child an iPad? I don't blame you. It's an expensive electronic to buy a small child. Better to let your little one use your iPad while supervised and buy him some starter gadgets this holiday season. Here are a few of my favorite gadgets for children to put under the tree this year.
Disney iPad Cameras
Disney's newest gizmos are more than just a cute line of Disney-themed cameras; they also takes pretty decent photos. The newest shoot images in 7 megapixels -- just under what the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S II can do. They also allows for easy photo sharing online or on an iPad with an easy plug-in built into the bottom. I love the idea of letting children develop their creativity by photographing the world around them with a camera made just for kids.
Disney App Mates
When Junior is allowed to use your iPad, this app will knock his socks off. It allows your child to use actual toy cars to race on the screen of the iPad. The app turns the screen into a track and your child can drive the course himself. So cool!
iHome makes iPod docks, alarm clocks, and speaker systems for all rooms of the house -- including your children's rooms. The Disney line is decorated with characters like Kermit the Frog that your child wants to wake up to. It's easy to use: Just plug in an iPod, iPhone, or iPod Touch and the alarm clock is both a speaker system for impromptu dance parties and an alarm clock to wake them up on time for school.
If your child likes your smartphone as much as you do, you may be afraid that it will get dropped, drooled on, or dumped down a toilet. I know my 1 year old sure doesn't understand the concept of "fragile" just yet. That's why there's the Woogie, which turns your smartphone into a stuffed animal. You slide the phone or iPod Touch into a plastic holder and it readily seals shut. The animal looks like a multi-legged spider that your child can easily hold and throw around the room -- without breaking your device. Well, I guess they technically could break something in the Woogie, but they'd have to work really hard at it.
Want to play music in a room of your house where there is no speaker system? This is the system for that! The PlayGo lets you wirelessly stream music from the home docking system, which plugs into your computer. Then when you want music for more impromptu dance parties, you pull out the receiver and push play. Brush up on your Bieber moves because if your little one wants music, she'll have it with this.
For the budding musician in your house, the ION Audio system lets you use the iPad to learn to play the piano. The docking station has a real 25-note piano keyboard with built-in stereo speakers that your child can learn to use with the instructional app. The app is free and it works with iPad, iPod, or iPhone.
For the adventurous little one, the Air Swimmers are helium-filled animals and marine creatures that float through the air. They're driven with a remote control and can provide endless hours of entertainment. I flew my shark Air Swimmer into my son's room during story time last night and he laughed and laughed. Sure, he's a little too young to get a gift like this -- but Daddy will enjoy playing with it for a long time to come.