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Great Tech Gifts for Toddlers

Updated on September 18, 2014

Tech Toys, or Real Tech Items for Toddlers? Deciding on Great Tech Gifts for Early Learners

If you are anything like me, you've given in to the curiosity of a toddler, and allowed your iphone to be a source of amusement to that little one, whether for a little while, or for a long spell. It's tough to regain control of your smartphone, when you've allowed the precocious toddler a taste of the fun that so many of the touchscreen apps provide. However, if your phone is your primary communication device, it isn't tough to realize that you have to regain control, and put your foot down. And you may find that once your tike has had a taste of touchscreen interaction, that nothing else will quite live up to the experience. Which tech toys are worthy of their attention, and your finances? Read on for an overview of some of the options.

LeapFrog has a good track record for providing relevant learning, in an age appropriate context, for kids, ranging from infancy, to the tween years. The varieties of choices over the years have changed, but the quality is always really good, and the emphasis on learning, great.

Texting Imagination Play

LeapFrog Text and Learn
LeapFrog Text and Learn

Kids love buttons, and LeapFrog provides lots on an interactive learning toy with a reader screen.


Toddler Tech: Ages 2 to 4

A toddler is generally a child in that 2 to 4 year old age range, and the skills and abilities change greatly from one extreme to the other. The 2 year old is just getting a good handle on manual skills, and is developing speech skills. There is a mountain of repetition, and mimicking in this stage, and familiarity with alphabets, numbers, shapes, and colors is often sketchy, and intermittent. These concepts will continue to form in the next couple of years, though the 4 year old may still be challenged with getting a 26 string of letters correct, and may not quite have their counting straight beyond the teens.

Many electronic toys for children in this age range look like real tech tools, but with a childish emphasis on color, characters, and themes of favorite cartoon characters. Toy phones have been made for this age range for years, though the modern ones include push buttons that evoke sounds, pronounciations, or directions. Toy laptops have been on the scene for many years, as well. Spelling and number toys, likewise, are not new, or unique.

The benefit of selecting such electronic toddler toys is the multi-modal approach that allows sight, sound, and touch to come together in presentation of a concept. Further, the operation of such electronics is often able to be done independently, with little adult intervention, allowing for free exploration, rather than programmed learning. There is something to be said about each of these aspects of learning, of course, but the benefit of immediate feedback through the response elicited by the touch of a button is what allows a child to put puzzle pieces of language together. A parent, of course, can interact while the child plays, asking questions, and making observations.

There are many worthwhile companies producing such electronics for kids, though the most commonly observed are LeapFrog and VTech. Fisher Price, as well, often has some great electronics for kids at this level.

Looks like a laptop for kids!

LeapFrog My Own Leaptop, Pink
LeapFrog My Own Leaptop, Pink

Violet laptop option is a great child's counterpart to Mom or Dad's laptop.


LeapFrog Tech Toys for Toddlers - Gift Ideas for ages 2 to 4

Shown here are a variety of keypad type toys aimed at the 2 to 4 year old toddler age group, with some toys obviously more suited to the younger end of the group, and with others better suited to the end of the toddler years. You'll find many related choices as you explore these particular selections. One of the things I love about LeapFrog is stylish design and alternative options for boys and girls. You can find pink versions of many of the most advanced toys from LeapFrog if you are looking for the right gift for a girl.

Texting for Kids- To Infinity and Beyond

VTech - Toy Story 3 - Buzz Lightyear Learn and Go
VTech - Toy Story 3 - Buzz Lightyear Learn and Go

Great for that inquisitive toddler, Buzz Lightyear creates a fun theme with the feel of button pushing that is integral in many of the cellphones of today. This is a fun way to encourage tactile activity and to provide that sense of using tech gadgets without jeopardizing your own cellphone.


VTech Toys for Toddlers - Gifts for ages 2-4

Featured is a sampling of the many VTech electronic toys aimed at educational play for toddlers. You'll find fun characters and shapes as in the items featured here. From Buzz Lightyear to school themes, your youngster can be encouraged in learning letters, numbers, sounds and songs.

Fisher Price Electronic Learning Toys for Ages 2 to 4

Shown here are a sampling of the tech toys made by Fisher Price, aimed at the toddler range. Phone toys are more appropriate for the early part of toddlerhood, while keyboard type toys are better suited to the 3-4 year old's ability to identify letters and numbers, and development of more fine motor skills.

Fisher-Price iXL 6-in-1 Learning System (Blue)
Fisher-Price iXL 6-in-1 Learning System (Blue)

The iXL system is like an eReader but made for the interests of tots. Great for encouraging sound and phonics skills and early reading experiences.


iPad Envy? Touchscreen Learning Tablet by LeapFrog - LeapPad Ultra

LeapPad leaps into real tablet technology by providing a kid-friendly browsing and app experience that no longer necessitates the use of cartridges and cables for getting apps.

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra/Ultra XDI  Kids' Learning Tablet, Green (styles may vary)(Discontinued by manufacturer)
LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra/Ultra XDI Kids' Learning Tablet, Green (styles may vary)(Discontinued by manufacturer)

The LeapPad Explorer is a touchscreen learning toy that targets the 4-9 age range. With touchscreen interaction, the multi-modal electronic toy is operated by finger, or stylus, and has a slim, sleek appearance that make it very much like an iPad, from a young child's perspective. At a fraction of the cost of an iPad, this is a hot toy choice. The apps and software will be a bit more costly than many of the educational iPad apps, but the game cartridges include well developed activities that adjust to the abilities of your child, and provide the opportunity to track online.

In addition to interactive apps and software, the LeapPad Explorer includes a digital/video camera, making it a multi-tech device. While it may present some challenges to the young toddler, parent guidance can make it a viable toy choice. Independent play should be much easier at the later end of the toddler years, and the nice thing is that this toy can grow with your child, as they reach pre-school and elementary years.

The LeapPad Tablet is available in Pink or Green.


VTech InnoTab Learning Tablet - iPad Like Toys for Toddlers

VTech InnoTab 3 The Learning App Tablet, Pink
VTech InnoTab 3 The Learning App Tablet, Pink

As with the LeapPad Explorer Tablet, the InnoTab learning tablet toy is touchscreen operated, and provides software and apps for use with the apparatus. The major difference between the two systems, in terms of built in features, is the lack of a camera in the InnoTab. A VTech Kidizoom Camera is available for purchase, and can be used in conjunction with the VTech Tablet, for approximately $40. Alternately, photos and videos can be downloaded through computer synching.

Software will be different, and again, at the lower end of the toddler age range, the operation of such a toy may require some guided assistance from a parent, whereas the older toddler may well be able to operate the InnoTab independently. If you want a comparison, check out the Amazon reviews of VTech Mobigo, which has many positive reviews from parents, including some who found that the Mobigo was perfect for their toddlers.

The InnoTablet is available in Pink or Blue.


Real Tech Gifts for Toddlers?

While the costs may seem preclusive, there are those who would just as soon find a real tech gadget, rather than a toy, for their young learners. I tend to caution against this, as there is a lot of potential for calamity. If you are going to get a iPad for your youngster, set some strict rules as to its use, and store it in a safe, out of reach place.

An iPod Touch is probably the least expensive tech gadget to consider for this purpose, and it's not a bad idea to look into finding one used, in order to keep your costs low. There is a multitude of free and cheap iPod/iPhone/iPad apps, and this may be a great alternative to the tech toy craze, especially if you find that you aren't able to snag one of the popular kids learning tablets.

Finding Kids Tech Toys and Gadgets at Second Hand Pricing

Because the development of touchscreen technology has been explosively active in the last few years, there is a tendency to upgrade quickly to the latest and greatest. The LeapPad and Innotab have both been updated multiple times, but real tablets and cellphones have annually experienced dramatic improvements and frequent updates as well. eBay is the place to search for used products of yesterday and yesteryear, excellent for finding games for your existing system or to find a gently used system for a youngster.

You'll find that a couple of recommendations provided here are just the beginning, and you can explore similar items easily as you review pricing, features and condition.

Don't miss Tablets for Kids

There are numerous tablets for kids that have been designed with the destructive forces of strong-willed toddlers in mind. You'll find that kid-friendly interfaces and massive content libraries may make these the most affordable and sensible options in light of their ability to meet a child's needs at many developmental stages. Whereas the cute toy tech gadgets for kids are limited to just a short time of a year or two for interest, the real tablet for a child is able to meet developmental needs on into elementary school.

Kids Tablet Computer with Protection Plan Included

Fire HD 6 Kids Edition Tablet, 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case
Fire HD 6 Kids Edition Tablet, 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case

The Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet wraps many of a parent's concerns over gadget destruction and vulnerability into one device that is built kid-tough while carrying the guarantee that will allow for the device's demise to be rectified nearly painlessly. The kids' edition includes two years of protection with a promise of replacement free of charge. Additionally, Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is provided free of charge for a full year. This makes it possible for your tot or tween to use the device nearly wrecklessly without concerns over deductibles or other loss issues.


Tech Gifts for Toddlers: Comments

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      What cute items! My baby grandnephew should have one of these.

    • Rocker3 profile image

      Rocker3 4 years ago

      Cool ideas!

    • GuitarLessons101 profile image

      GuitarLessons101 4 years ago

      Really nice and informative lens ;)

    • profile image

      jillian22 5 years ago

      I really like the V Tech Follow Me Writer

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      These are certainly the gadgets that toddlers will adore.