If your kids, grandkids or other young family members have made it clear they’re looking for gifts that need to be plugged in, charged or powered on, then I have some suggestions for you. The quest to find a gadget that’s suitable for kids and teens can be challenging, but it doesn’t need to be impossible. From smartwatches to vehicles, there are plenty of great ideas to choose from.
Even though it might seem best to shy away from electronic devices for kids, not all will keep them glued to a screen. For example, the Nighthawk NextGen and NIU scooter will get kids outdoors and moving around. Even Switch Sports, played on a Nintendo system, is interactive and made for groups of people to interact together. As always, the prices listed may fluctuate over time.
Rollplay Nighthawk NextGen
My kids have been using the Rollplay Nighthawk for about a year and love the unique, balancing electric vehicle. But as they’ve grown, the regular one has become too small for them. The Rollplay Nighthawk NextGen is a great solution to continue the fun. The Nighthawk NextGen replicates everything the small model does but adds expandable handles and foot pedals for extra room.
This vehicle features a 24-volt lithium-ion battery that helps riders reach 6.5 miles per hour. The recommended age is 6 years and older with a riding weight of 110 pounds. The unit itself weighs about 20 pounds but does fold up so it can easily fit in the trunk of a car to take wherever you go.
Buy at Walmart for $207.08.
Fitbit Ace 3
For kids 6 years and older, the Fitbit Ace 3 is a neat way to introduce them to activity tracking and get the time on their wrists. If other people in the family have Fitbit devices, the Ace 3 allows kids to join in friendly movement competitions.
Ace 3 is swimproof and water-resistant up to 50 meters. It has eight days of battery life before it needs to be charged. Besides encouraging movement throughout the day, it can track sleep and offer bedtime reminders and alarms. Of course, parents are able to control the settings for younger kids through their phones.
Buy at Academy Sports Outdoors for $79.99.
Nintendo Switch Sports
A video game is no substitute for playing outside—even Nintendo would tell you that. But if getting out during the winter isn’t possible, this game might be the next best option. Nintendo’s Switch Sports is a successor to Wii Sports and offers gaming of soccer, volleyball, bowling, tennis and badminton, among others.
Bowling and tennis are probably the crown jewels of Switch Sports. It’s really hard to beat how much casual fun the games provide for a group of people. But all the other games have been great to play, as well. In fact, badminton on Switch Sports makes me want to go outdoors to play the real thing whenever I have the chance.
Buy at Nintendo from $39.99.
Apple Watch SE
While the Fitbit Ace 3 makes for a great, simplified smartwatch, the Apple Watch SE is another way to connect with your kids. The Apple Watch SE with cellular connectivity can be used by kids who don’t have a phone. You’ll still be able to call or message them for after-school logistics, but you won’t have to worry about giving younger kids the full mobile phone experience yet. Apps and other functions can be controlled through an adult’s phone.
Buy at Amazon for $299.
Hot Wheels Lightyear Remote Control Spaceship
For younger kids interested in flying their own drone, the Hot Wheels Lightyear Remote Control Spaceship might be the place to start. The spaceship comes with a remote control that can be worn around the wrist and only has three buttons. A green button lifts the plane off the ground while the yellow one will do a few tricks, and a red button will land it on the ground. It even comes with a tiny pilot that is removable from the plane. One word of warning: You will want to have a large space in which to fly it. Inside a bedroom is just too small.
Buy at Amazon for $79.99.
Otterbox Kids EasyClean iPad Case
This Otterbox Kids EasyClean case for the latest 10th-generation iPad doesn’t feature any electronics itself, but it should keep your tablet investment safe. This case has a wide handle that doubles as a stand, so the iPad can be used to stream shows wherever you go. Best yet, the case is dishwasher safe.
Buy at Otterbox for $69.95.
Niu KQi Youth Scooter
Ever since my kids got a taste for electric vehicles with the slow motorized play cars, they’ve been itching to go just a little bit faster. I found the Niu KQi Youth scooter is a way to ease them into the more powerful ones. The scooter provides about 70 minutes of riding time per charge and can go up to 10 miles per hour. If that’s too fast to begin with, there’s also a slower 6.2-mile-per-hour setting.
The scooter itself weighs just over 18 pounds and supports a rider up to 132 pounds. It has front and rear brakes and features a prominent ambient light to show braking, charging and current battery capacity.