Tag Archives: kurio

Parents@Play Gift Guide #7: There’s Still Time, But You’d Better Hurry…

You mean you haven’t finished your Holiday shopping yet? Not to worry. Here are some great last-minute options that are sure to please.


Compete Hot Wheels Edition Wearable (nabi)

nabi compete hotwheelsIn theory, this fitness tracker for kids is pretty similar to the one you may have your wrist, with its step counter and a promise to make exercise less boring. But unlike most trackers for adults, this one actually keeps that promise by truly making exercise fun by letting kids set distance goals such as a marathon or a run across the Brooklyn Bridge, giving kids info on how much activity they’ll need to do to burn of that bag of chips or slice of pizza (an approach that has been proven much more successful than simply listing calories and grams of fat), and providing all sorts of other incentives to get up and move. Ages 6+. Plain nabi Competes are under $40 for a pair. Barbie- and Hot Wheels branded Competes are under $30 for one. https://www.nabitablet.com/wearables/compete

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Summer Fun for the Kids

Many of us who have kids at home during the summer break spend a lot of time thinking about how to fill all those school-less days and weeks. Here are a few of our current favorite ways to while away the hours…

Nerf Action Camera

nerf cameraWith a colorful, Nerf-inspired design, this camera is the perfect way for your kids to document their favorite summer activities (while keeping their little hands off your own camera and phone). Although it’s made for kids (meaning that it’s sturdy enough to take a tumble), it’s also more stylish than most of our first “grown up” cameras were. Resolution is a perfectly respectable 5.1 megapixels (way more than our first digital camera), and kids can shoot videos in 720p HD’llThen they can preview it all in the 1.8-inch TFT preview screen. That’s pretty much guaranteed to keep them occupied (and laughing) for a really long time. Oh, and the Nerf Action Cam is waterproof too, which means it’s ideal for pool-, waterpark-, and beach fun. Around $50 at http://www.toysrus.com.

Kurio Xtreme 2

kurio xtreme 2If there’s a long trip—be it plane, train, or automobile—in your future, your kids will love the latest Kurio, which, according to the manufacturer, is the safest, most full-featured Android tablet built especially for kids. Of course, the kids can use it at home too, and the child-friendly styling will give them a little extra incentive to reach for it instead of yours. This Kurio Xtreme 2 comes with 60 apps, including smash hits like Fruit Ninja and Subway Surfers, some active, body-controlled Kurio Motion games, and a ton of parental controls (including the Kurio Genius Internet filtering system). It also connects to the Google Play Store, but requires parent permission. Kids can use their Kurio to read e-books, take photos, shoot video, and watch movies. This sturdy tablet is made tough, and comes with bumper and a screen protector, as well as a kickstand. Setup can be a little time consuming, so we suggest that you start the process while the kids are in bed so they don’t drive you insane. If you need help with setup or anything else, Kurio techs are available 24-7 and can even take over the tablet for you to fix what ails it. About $100 at http://www.kurioworld.com


budsies This has been the biggest hit of the season, by far. It starts with your child drawing a picture of an animal, mythical creature, or anything else he or she can imagine. Then, you scan the drawing and upload it to the Budsies website or text it to them (info is on their website). In about four weeks (you can pay more for faster delivery), a 16-inch high, stuffed version of your child’s creation arrives at your doorstep. Along the way, you get adorable emails giving you detailed updates on how your future Budsies is progressing. Have your camera ready, because the look on your child’s face when he or she opens up the box and sees a 3D version of something that had previously existed only on paper, is priceless. Sam’s son was thrilled beyond belief when his Budsies arrived—a polar bear with a rainbow sweater. Budsies are a wonderful gift, project, or memento for any child, and will be a toy you’ll never give away or get rid of. If your child doesn’t like to draw, try Selfies, which are plush stufies based on a photo that you upload or text in. Selfies are especially great for military families. Prices vary. Find out more at http://www.budsies.com

Parents@Play Holiday Gift Guide, Number 3

Still haven’t found the perfect gift for the little ones in your life? Check out some of these hot new toys before they get snapped up.

kurio smart tabletKurio Smart Tablet (KD Interactive)
Looking to help your youngster get ahead in school? The Kurio Smart Tablet might be just the ticket. It’s the first 2-in1 Windows device designed for kids. The 2-in-1 part means that your child can use Kurio as a computer or detach the keyboard and use it as a tablet. Comes with 32 GB of storage, Microsoft Office, a bunch of games and other useful software, and parental controls to keep your kids safe. Prices vary. Learn more at http://www.kurioworld.com/

happy dance snoopyHappy Dance Snoopy (Just Play)
With the new Peanuts movie still in theaters, Peanuts Happy Dance Snoopy is adorable and timely. Parents who grew up with Charlie Brown and the gang will fall in love again, and the newest generation will join them. Snoopy dances to the Peanuts theme song (aka “Linus and Lucy”) when you squeeze his paw. And because you won’t be able to resist, the loveable hound respond to kisses, (although he’s unpredictable—sometimes you’ll get a kiss, other times a laugh, howl, burp, or something else). Oh, come on—he’s a dog. Under $30 at Target, Amazon, and others. http://justplayproducts.com/

qixelsQixels (Moose Toys)
Boys have been largely left out of the bead-and-water craze of the past few years. But thanks to Qixels, that’s all in the past. Kids can either follow a predetermined pattern or use their imagination to create works of art using tiny cubes. Once all the pieces are in place, spray them with water and they fuse together into 8-bit looking creations reminiscent of Minecraft. Make monsters, ninjas, zombies, or anything your heart desires. Ages 6 and up (younger is okay, but because of the tiny pieces, adult supervision is required). Under $20 at Toys R Us and others. http://moosetoys.com/

cleverkeetLittle Live Pets CleverKeet (Moose Toys)
Kids are loving the tech pets craze right now, and CleverKeet is one of the cutest. This sweetie just flew into the Little Live Pets pet shop and would love to be adopted by your family this holiday season. Name your CleverKeet, and he or she will remember it. Just like a real bird, he likes to dance in front of the mirror and sing. He also knows all sorts of words and will answer your questions (often in silly ways). CleverKeet comes with one bird, a playground (he loves to swing!), one cart, an instruction booklet, and an adoption certificate. $59.99. http://moosetoys.com/

meccanoidMeccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot (SpinMaster)
Before you start unboxing Meccanoid, make sure you block out a big chunk of time. You and the kids will have so much fun putting together this 4-foot tall wisecracking robot that you won’t want to stop. He comes with voice recognition capabilities and more than 1,000 pre-programmed phrases, means he can respond to what you say. He’s also easy to program, thanks to his Meccabrain and an on-screen ragdoll avatar. You may want to send the kids to bed a little early so you can have him all to yourself. Under $400. http://www.spinmaster.com/

world village playset chinaWorld Village Playset—China (Whole Wide World Toys)
In an era when just about everything beeps and/or is made of plastic, the Whole World Playset is a joy from the moment you open the box. The 13 wooden puzzle pieces move smoothly across a soft, fabric playmat and take children on a trip to China, where they learn about culture and pick up a few bits of vocabulary along the way. There’s a 32-page story about China narrated by a brother-sister duo who are traveling through the country. There are also more than a dozen cards that encourage kids to make up their own stories. Ages 4+. $59.99 at http://wholewideworldtoys.com/

Take a Tablet and Call Me in the Morning

Given that full-featured tablets like the iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, Samsung Galaxy, Microsoft Surface, Google Nexus, LG G Pad, Sony Xperia, and others aren’t cheap, it’s no big surprise that a lot of parents are somewhat reluctant to turn one over to a child.  We worry—understandably so—that the cute little kid in the backseat will either break it, go on line and browse inappropriate content, or buy stuff we don’t want them to have. This week we take a look at four tablets that are fun enough to keep the kids entertained, yet safe and cheap enough to keep mom and dad from pulling out too much of their hair. All are Android-based, wi-fi-enabled, 7-inch touchscreens that come with a protective sleeve to protect against drops, as well as a number of ports, which may include mini/micros USB, SD, and HDMI. These tablets also come preloaded with a selection of kid-friendly games and apps, and parental controls. But let’s talk about the differences.

Meep! (Oregon Scientific)
Meep!Meep! is a good choice for very young kids or slightly older ones (up to 4th grade) who have no experience with tablets. If they’ve played on your iPad or other adult tablet, they’ll be frustrated. What sets Meep! apart, though, are the attachable accessories (purchased separately) such as a mic and piano keyboard. One especially great feature: The Meep! Store (for purchasing or downloading additional apps) takes only Meep! Coins, which you (the adult) purchase. You can then set a budget which the kids can’t exceed. http://www.meeptablet.com

Kids Tablet PTAB750 (Polaroid)
PolaroidLike the Meep!, the Polaroid Tablet is a good choice for tablet virgins. It’s the most rugged of the tablets we reviewed, and we loved its unique look, with large, easy-to-find buttons (home, back, power, and volume) right on the front. It also comes with a stand for hands-free operation. The Polaroid has a limited selection of pre-loaded games and apps, but you can download as many as you want through the Amazon app store or the Nook Android app. While not the most robust, the parental controls took only about a minute to set up. Screen resolution and camera (.3MP) were not great, but again, acceptable for a first tablet. http://www.polaroid.com/kids-tablet  

Kurio 7s (KD iNteractive)
KurioWhile it looks similar to the other kids’ tablets, the Kurio has some very unique features, including front and rear cameras and the preloaded full (commercial-free) versions of some of the most popular apps and games (including Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja) and great educational apps from Mr. Nussbaum. Kurio also has the best parental controls we’ve seen. The Genius web filtering system does an excellent job, and you can set up as many as eight unique profiles, each with its own time limits and app/game restrictions. And besides the Kurio App Store, you have access to a variety of other Android app stores. http://kd-interactive.com/ 

ClickN KIDS Tablet (ClickNKIDS)
clicknkids2This tablet takes ClickN KIDS’ award-winning reading programs and wraps them in a tablet. The emphasis is definitely on education—the ClickN KIDS comes with more than 100 reading lessons—but there’s plenty of opportunity for entertainment too. Unlike most of the other tablets in this category, which were designed mostly for kids, the ClickN KIDS will appeal to teens and adults as well. Once you log into the password-protected Grown Ups interface, you’ve got a small, but full-featured tablet that you can use for email, Skype, Netflix, etc. At 5 hours, battery life is a little short, but the tablet charges quickly.  http://www.clicknkidstablet.com/