Six of the best gadget gifts for the tot in your life
Grab the cake and balloons, Prince George will celebrate his second birthday next week ... and these child-friendly gifts are more than fit for the special prince or princess in your life.
Vtech My 1st Tablet, £19.99, from www.vtech.co.uk
When you turn the toy on, you're greeted by a friendly bear who welcomes your very own little "smarty paws" to play. Then it's simply a case of sliding the bar across the four options at the top, or choosing one of the other activity buttons on the side. Toddlers will just think they're having a play, but little do they know they're actually learning - everything from the days of the week to answering questions about different animals. The photo fun option is, er, fun: after pressing a letter to take a photo, the letter you choose is "snapped" (it looks like a camera lens shutting around the letter) and you are told a word that starts with that letter, for example, the bear informs you "R is for rose". A well-priced gadget that will impress parents and children.
Caught on camera
Motorola MBP853 Connect Baby Monitor with wi-fi Internet Viewing, £159.99, from www.mothercare.com
Strictly speaking, this is more suited to parents than children, but if, like Prince William and Kate, you are a parent to a toddler and a newborn, this gadget will help you stay in control. The monitor is extremely easy to set up, gives a clear picture and you can pan and zoom easily. Plus, the sound quality is second to none. Where this monitor comes into its own is with the extras - it can play lullabies (the volume is adjustable), has a temperature display to make sure the room isn't too hot or cold for your child, and it comes with an in-built microphone so parents can speak to children whether they're at work or just in the next room. Visually pleasing, the device is also a nice dinky size and it couldn't be easier to operate.
LeapPad Platinum, £99.99, from leapfrogstore.co.uk (available in August)
Brand new on the market is the LeapPad Platinum - in fact, it's so new, as are the games - Leapfrog Imagicards (RRP £19.99) - they only hit the shelves in August. So, what can you expect? This is perhaps the most tablet-like product for children out there. If they've got this in front of them, you can be pretty certain they won't be reaching for your grown-up device. Suitable for children aged 3-9, it comes with apps to help them learn and play, and while it can connect to your wi-fi, they will only be able to access safe, age-appropriate content (it comes with a kid-safe browser). They can read eBooks, listen to music, play games and watch videos on the 7-inch screen.
Philips Disney Frozen Children's Night Light and Projector, £19.99, from www.amazon.co.uk
This will appeal to parents whose children require a little "encouragement" when it's bedtime. After they've had their goodnight story, you can pop this projector on, and turning film wheels will project images from the Disney classic onto the ceiling, helping your little one to drift off. In addition, it comes with a night light so if they wake up in the middle of the night, they'll feel comforted. Operated by 3xAA batteries, it comes with three film reels.
In The Night Garden Magic Mirror, £10.99 (down from £14.99), from www.argos.co.uk
In The Night Garden is still a favourite with toddlers, and this magic mirror will definitely amuse. Suitable for 18 months+, there are two modes, discovery and quiz, both of which help them learn numbers and colours. They'll love singing along to the original songs too, but it's the mirror that's particularly clever as the characters - including Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka - will appear in it alongside their reflection. It's powered by 3xAA batteries that are included.
Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo, £36.99, from www.argos.co.uk (available late July)
If your child loves singing and dancing, this is perfect. There are three main functions that children aged nine-36 months are encouraged to do: learn, dance and record tunes. The learning is done via 40 songs, which will help them get up and dance like mad things. With BeatBo's tummy featuring an LED grid that changes colour as music plays, they'll be entranced (it's a bit like those retro nightclub floor tiles that light up as you walk across them!) As for the final function, recording their own tune, as the tummy turns red your child says a phrase or sings a song which then gets mixed in to one of BeatBo's songs.
App of the week
Toca Life City, £2.49, from iTunes
Suitable for children aged five and younger, this game will see kids explore and visit different characters in the city and help them out with their daily activities — whether that’s choosing their hairstyle, outfits or the food that they’re going to eat. Best of all, there’s no third-party advertising or in-app purchases.
Top 10 bestselling apps:
1. Minecraft — Pocket Edition, by Mojang
2. The Chase, by Barnstorm Games
3. Tipping Point, by Barnstorm Games
4. Lifeline, by 3 Minute Games
5. Eggheads, Barnstorm Games
6. Plants vs Zombies, by PopCap Games
7. Card Wars — Adventure Time Card Game
8. Terraria by 505 Games
9. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, by Rockstar Games
10. Monopoly, by Electronic Arts