Before you go handing over your expensive iPhone or iPad, this year several tablet toys and gaming consoles for kids have entered the toy market. Developed specifically with children in mind for their durability, games and apps, there is a wide variety of tablets that include tablets for kids as young as 3, but high-tech gaming systems with touch screen interfaces for tweens and teenagers, that even their adult parents will enjoy.
The VTech InnoTab2 and InnoTab2s will replace the first generation InnoTab this year, with upgraded features that include a rotatable digital camera, video recorder, expandable SD card slot (up to 32 GB memory for games and apps). This touch tablet brings educational and gaming content to children ages 3-9. Cartridges can be purchased at retail stores, or apps can be downloaded online from the Learning Lodge Navigator. The InnoTab2s allows games and apps to be downloaded via a secure wifi connection.
This is a fully functional Android tablet with a 7 inch touch screen. There is a built-in microphone and wi-fi capability. It includes both front and rear cameras, as well as an HDMI and USB connections for movie watching and downloading content. Though there is 4 GB of internal memory, the memory is expandable to 36 GB with an SD card. The main feature of this tablet is the parental controls, limiting children access to only preferred apps and websites. There are 8 different profiles that can be created. Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja are also pre-loaded. There is a durable casing around the Kurio tablet for protection.
The second generation LeapPad, the LeapPad2, is touch screen tablet for kids ages 3-9 that includes educational content through apps and game cartridges. This new version features a faster processor, 4G of onboard memory, longer battery life, and front and rear cameras to take video and pictures. This is a great first tablet for young kids as it retails for $99.99.
This device has similar content to the LeapPad, but is a device that is more geared for gaming content. It includes front and rear cameras, a video recorder, and microphone that allows kids to be centered right in their own games. The LeapsterGS Explorer also includes a built-in motion sensor. It is recommended for kids ages 4-9 and retails for $69.99.
This 7 inch Android 4.0 tablet is a rugged, durable wi-fi enabled tablet with touch screen capabilities designed for kids ages 6-12. The device has a recessed screen that won’t shatter if the device is dropped. MEEP! also has cloud based parental controls that allow parents the ability to limit their child’s viewing of certain websites and keywords. Parents can limit time on the device and provide a virtual allowance using MEEP! coins. MEEP! coins can be used to purchase content in the MEEP! Store. This device is pre-loaded with Uno, Angry Birds and Toon Googles. Previously purchased content can be downloaded to the tablet with the USB cord. There is a built-in front facing video camera for taking pictures and video. Kids will be able to watch movies, play games, surf the internet, and listen to music. This device retails for $149.99 and is available at all major retailers.
This 7 inch Android 4.0 tablet is recommended for kids and comes pre-loaded with 50 different apps that include Angry Birds and Cut the Rug. Over 7,000 apps are available for purchase in the Tabeo Store. The device is wi-fi enabled and has parental controls for up to 8 profiles. There is a built-in sensor, microphone and front camera. There is a removable bumper case. The device has 4 GB of expandable flash memory and expandable memory up to 32 GB. This device is available exclusively at Toys R Us and retails for $149.99.
The Playstation Vita is a portable gaming system for kids ages 10 and up. It is also quite popular with teenagers and avid adult gamers. The Playstation Vita sells for $249.99, but a wi-fi version is available, which allows kids to surf the web, check their email, and play with and against their friends in various games. The device has a 5 inch OLED screen and includes both front and rear cameras. A rear touch screen provides additional gaming experiences. It also includes cross-platform play, so if a game is started on the Playstation Vita, it can be finished on the PS3.
The Wii U is a new Nintendo console. It includes the Wii U Gamepad Controller which is a portable 6.2 inch, LCD touch screen, that can be used to access menus, take notes and draw pictures. The controller also includes traditional buttons and analog sticks of past controllers. Game play can occur on the television in the home, or on the Wii U Gamepad. The controller includes a built-in camera and microphone, is capable of controlling the television, and has a built in gyroscope, accelerometer, and rumble feature. Additional accessories that can be purchased separately to enhance game play. All prior Wii games are compatible with the new Wii U console. An 8 GB Wii U will retail for $299.99, while a Deluxe Set 32 GB Wii U, will retail for $349.99. The Deluxe Set also includes the Nintendo Land video game..