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The 10 best tech toys for kids in 2024

Put aside the video games for something a tad more physical.

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

"Tech toys" doesn’t have to mean video games –not that there’s anything wrong with some time curled up with excellent titles like Tears of the Kingdom and Spider-Man 2. But when it’s time to step away from the TV and engage with the real world, there are still ways to play that involve gadgets and science and all the other STEM goodness that we love here at Engadget. We’ve got playtime covered for kids and adults, as well as interests ranging from cuddly to competitive.

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

When your baby or toddler climbs in your lap during a tough round of Overwatch 2 or Street Fighter VI match, they aren’t trying to mess up your game; they just want to be part of the fun. You can keep them busy with this adorable facsimile of a real game controller – and it’ll keep their grubby hands off your real one. And even adult gamers will appreciate the easter egg hidden in this thing (hint: just enter the Konami Code).

$8 at Amazon
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$10 at Walmart$11 at Kohl's
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Weighted blankets have been huge for a while now, helping to calm users by applying pressure evenly across the body. But you don’t need to wear a whole blanket – or spend a lot of money on one – to get the same benefits. We’re in love with the Bumpas dolls, which apply the same principles of weighted blankets in a huggable form. This is something kids can wear around the house or outside, and it’s from the same designer that did Uglydoll, so you know it’ll be a big hit. Adults may even be tempted to steal it for themselves; why not wear one during your next Zoom call?

$39 at Amazon
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$40 at Discount School Supply
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

One gadget that kids just can’t keep their hands off is their parents’ phones. Which isn’t great when you consider how expensive some flagship phones are these days. So why not get them something phone-like that’ll keep them busy on long trips, during family gatherings and even just during everyday occurrences like diaper changes? Leapfrog’s Chat & Count Emoji Phone should do the trick, and its variety of activities will keep your kid busy throughout their toddler years while keeping their grubby fingers off your own device.

$15 at Amazon
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$15 at Kohl's$15 at Macy's

One big buzzy term from the past few years has been “screen-free time.” Pediatricians recommend keeping your children down to two hours or less a day, but we know it’s hard when you’re busy working and playing on your own screens. The Yoto Mini is handy because it’s a small speaker made especially for kids – they can just slide a card in and hear their favorite songs and stories, or even tune into Yoto’s original podcast and radio station, included free with the device. It’s a great device to have in your home, and the Mini version makes it a good companion for long trips as well.

$89 at Amazon

Even adults love LEGO sets, but a spaceship or medieval castle aren’t exactly things that most people keep on their coffee tables and mantles. In the past few years LEGO has tried to remedy that with sets aimed at grownup builders, like this insect collection. It includes three models: a Blue Morpho butterfly, a Chinese mantis and a Hercules beetle, and is both a fun build and an exquisite set to put on display. Budding entomologist or not, your giftee can put each of these on display and proudly exclaim, “I built these!”

$80 at LEGO
Tamagotchi

We’ll always have a soft spot for Tamagotchi, but we’re especially enamored with the latest addition to the 25-year-old brand, the Tamagotchi Uni. All a kid’s favorite activities are there, including playing with, feeding and yes, cleaning up the poop of their digital pet, but now there’s a whole universe for the little creatures to explore thanks to the addition of Wi-Fi, letting kids connect to the “Tamaverse” to visit new locations and make new friends. The Uni also comes with a handy wrist band, allowing kids to wear it wherever they please, ensuring their new friend doesn’t get lost.

$58 at Amazon
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$78 at Walmart$61 at Entertainment Earth

You want your kids to do arts and crafts because it’s good for them, but you’d also rather they didn’t because, well, it can be a real mess. Whether it’s crayon on the walls, paint on the floor or glitter on the…everywhere, clean up can really dampen your support of your child’s creative impulses. That’s what makes this Mini Potter Studio so great, because it’s designed to keep the chaos contained while still allowing your child to be creative and actually make something. It comes with built-in guides to assist your child in the process of crafting tiny vases and bowls, so they won’t get discouraged by common pottery pitfalls.

$18 at Amazon
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$18 at Macy's$21 at Walmart

Tamagotchi is the undisputed ruler of the virtual pet scene, but Spin Master took a big swing at the title this year with its new Bitzee toys. We are in love, and any kid you give it to will be as well. Instead of a little egg with an embedded LCD screen, your creature is displayed on lit plastic flippers, similar to those light message spinning toys you may have played with as a kid. But this one is way cooler, as it’s a creature you can play with, feed and yes, even pet by touching the top of the flippers. It’s a virtual pet for kids who actually want something they can physically interact with, and it comes in a nice little case that feels like getting a present every time it’s opened.

$25 at Amazon

Tamagotchis are cute, but not everyone wants something adorable on their wrist. For more action-minded kids, the Vital Hero is the perfect companion. It displays a tiny superhero on the screen, but which character exactly depends how active the kid is and how many missions they complete. Will they get Batman, Nightwing, Robin or maybe even… the Joker? It’s up to them to find out, with lots of gameplay that requires the kid to get outside to play and even interact with other users.

$38 at Amazon
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$45 at Walmart

Hot Wheels has always been at the forefront of trying new technologies, whether it’s AR-enhanced tracks or RFID-enabled vehicles. This year the brand combines everything it’s experimented with in the past few years into Rift Rally. Remember Mario Kart Live? This was made by the same folks at Velan Studios, but with Hot Wheels instead of a Mushroom Kingdom motif. If your kid’s ever been upset by blue shells and banana peels, know they won’t encounter those here. Though you will have to deal with your living room getting taken over as your children build their custom tracks. And you don’t need a Nintendo Switch to play it, either, as it works with iOS devices and even the PS5.

$33 at Gamestop