Parents@Play Gift Guide #5: WowWee! Robots, Coding, and More

These toys are so great they need no introduction!

CHiP (WowWee)

wowwee chipIn a word, CHiP is amazing. He’s a smart, trainable, affectionate robot puppy that’s always ready to play. Tell him to fetch, and he’ll bolt after his Bluetooth-enabled ball. Give him a kiss, and he’ll give you a slobber-free one right back. Tell him to do yoga, and he’ll do a perfect downward-facing dog (no cat-cow for this little guy). If you wear the SmartBand, he’ll follow you around the house. But if you ignore him for more than a few minutes, he’ll bark to attract your attention. The voice-recognition is great and so is the hardware, which enables CHiP to avoid obstacles and respond to a variety of touches and gestures. The wheels are especially cool and allow CHiP to move in any direction—even sideways—and on almost any surface. You can play with CHiP for hours on a single charge, and when his energy level drops, his eyes change color and he automatically makes his way back to his SmartBed to nap. Ages 8+. Around $180.

COJI (WowWee)

wowwee cojiAnother wonderful tech toy from WowWee. This highly interactive, smart, and wonderfully engaging robot will help your child learn to do basic coding by using emojis, hence the name: code + emoji = coji. There’s an app, of course, and it’s a good one, filed with games that encourage memory, problem-solving, and creative thinking. And there are plenty of coding challenges, such as navigating Coji through a maze. Your child does the programming on the app, and if you get it right, Coji spins around, does a little dance, and displays fireworks or other happy emojis on his screen. Your child can use the app without Coji or play with Coju without the app, using his remote control functions. Batteries not included. Ages 4+. Around $45.


Cubetto (Primo Toys)

primo cubettoCoding without a screen, apps, or even written instructions? Sounds impossible, right? Wrong! Primo has created a delightful—and beautiful—way to introduce basic coding concepts to very little kids. There are four components: Cubetto him- or herself, a cloth “map” for Cubetto to move around on, 16 coding blocks, and a programming “tablet.” Kids place Cubetto on the map, decide where they want him to go, and use the blocks (left turn, right turn, straight ahead, and even function) to make that happen. It’s very intuitive and hands-on, and does a great job of bringing the digital and tactile worlds together. We also love that Cubetto is made mostly of wood and is completely gender neutral. Ages 3+. About $225.


Edwin the Duck (pi lab)

edwin the duckThis is not your father’s, mother’s, or even Ernie’s (you know, from Sesame Street) rubber duckie, and that’s a good thing. While Edwin isn’t exactly a robot, he’s definitely smart, connected, and full of fun, educational games. Edwin is a lovely stand-alone (or float-alone) companion for your little one, but he also interacts with his digital world. Oh, and for you, he’s got a temperature sensor so you won’t plop your baby into a bath that’s too hot, a built-in Bluetooth speaker so you can stream your favorite music, and a nightlight for when bath time and playtime are over. Safe for kids as young as 8 months. Under $100.

Zoomer Marshall PAW Patrol Dalmatian (Spin Master)

spin master zoomerPAW Patrol’s Dalmatian fire dog is ready to roll, with more than 80 interactive rescue missions and tricks, and 150 sounds and phrases. He also plays the “PAW Patrol” theme song (and dances to it), has water cannons to shoot (not real water), and more. Just charge him up, pat his head, and get ready to save the day. AA batteries not included. Ages 3+. Available from KMart’s Fab15 list for about $70, prices at other retailers vary.