Archive for category Kids Gadgets

The Zeus All-In-One Printer – who needs to buy toys when you can make them?

We seem to have an unending want of stuff. We’ll try to be choosy and make it things that will actually be useful and applicable to our lives, but when was the last time you went an entire month without buying anything that wasn’t groceries? If you have the capital and know-how, you can avoid needing to buy any tangible bobble again, since you can make it yourself.

Not too long ago 3D printers were something only found in science fiction, and now they can give your imagination and logic a run for their money. Zeus is a plug-and-play 3D printer that will let you start making your first print within 10 minutes of its unboxing. It can be used to make toys, school projects, prototypes, or recreate old objects with ease. It is also fully automated in regards to calibration, so you never have to do any bed-leveling or touching the insides.

Since the parts are modular, you can quickly get to the turbtable and extruder to deal with any potential issues and get back to creating. There’s also the added bonus of having the templates for a number of parts in the machine, meaning you can create backups to have handy or create a new part in a couple of hours. Its max build is 6 x 8 x 5.7” with a max resolution of 80 microns. The 7” color display will let you do on-board editing without needing an external computer, making this a self-contained thing-making machine. This will cost you around $2,337, and you’ll need printer filament spools at around $22 a pop, so it’s an expensive way to pass the time.

Available for purchase on Amazon
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Piper Computer Kit helps kids learn that the machines aren’t magic

For those of us that grew up when only one computer was in the household and phones were meant for little more than talking, it seemed like magic when the two became one in smartphones, and computers became capable of anything you can imagine. For kids who are growing up today, smartphones, 3D printers, and hover boards are just “how it is”. To make sure that they understand what makes them tick, you’ll have to educate them yourselves, as most schools only have kids learn on computers, not learn about them.

Just to make sure your little ones will be able to understand the basics, this Piper Computer Kit will help them build their first computer and much more. This has a wooden computer case, LCD monitor, Raspberry Pi Edition of Minecraft, and hardware components that they’ll be able to use to solve in-game challenges. The WiFi-enabled gameplay of a title everyone knows of even has extra levels and sharing capabilities so they can show off their discoveries with their friends.

There are LED lights, motion sensors, buzzers, buttons, and switches that will help your child learn how to connect the dots for making a machine, making it work, and having fun in the process. The computer aspect runs on a Raspberry Pi 3 project board with 1GB of ram and a 1.2 Ghz quad-core CPU. This isn’t cheap at $299, but will begin the journey of knowing about and understanding how computers work, which will be priceless information in today’s computer-driven world.

Available for purchase on Amazon
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The Fidget Hand Spinner keeps busy minds occupied

When you’re sitting during a lecture where the professor is going off on a tangent or are stuck in a meeting where your boss loves to hear themselves talk, your mind wanders. It’s hard not to be restless and start tapping your feet, fingers, and playing with whatever is nearby. You don’t want to be rude, but you also don’t want to be bored, and have to find a common space in between the two so you don’t go insane.

We’ve seen tools like the Fidget Cube in the past, but if that novelty has worn off or it has seen so much use that you need a new one, this Fidget Spinner might be a good replacement. This is a toy that has ceramic bearings that you can spin as much as you want without needing repairs, oil, or maintenance. If your spin is powerful enough, it could keep going for over 2 minutes.

These come in a variety of color options, and there’s even a glow in the dark version for those that need something to distract themselves before going to sleep. It’s only 3 inches in diameter, so it can easily go wherever you do. They’ll cost you around $9 a piece, and should survive constant use from both adults and children alike. If you are getting one for a child, check in with their teacher, as what might seem like a good idea could quickly become a nightmare in the classroom.

Available for purchase on Amazon
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The Night N’ Day Mechanical Globe teaches practical knowledge

You can never know what information is going to be relevant to your life until you need it. Our parents hound us to pay attention in school because every ounce of knowledge might be the thing that leads us to success in the future. That being said, schools don’t teach us everything we need to know about life, and in all honesty, they never could.

If you want to make sure your kids are learning information that you personally find important, then it’s your job as their guardian to teach them. This Edu-Toys Night n’ Day Mechanical Globe will help parents who are interested in clocks and calendars give their children a visual guide as to how things work. This is a real solar time rotating globe that acts as both clock and calendar, turning to show you where people on the earth are experiencing sunrise, sunset, and twilight times.

This is very easy to set up, is 11” in diameter, and won’t take up much space standing only a little over a foot tall. It even adjusts for seasons! This will cost you around $127, but for education it would certainly be money well spent. In addition to that, knowing when and where you are on the globe is helpful, especially if you ever have to coordinate with people on the other side of the world for meetings and have difficulty remembering when they are.

Available for purchase on Amazon
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The Artograph Projector – expand your artistic horizons

When you make art for a living, you never know when inspiration is going to strike in unexpected ways. You could exert your efforts in sculpting clay for three years and then decide to start honing your painting skills on the side. On the same page, you never quite know what sort of commissions will fall under your nose if you’re open to that sort of thing. You might work in excruciatingly small detail and have a customer wanting you to take a tiny piece of art and expand it over a larger space.

While tracing isn’t exactly considered art, this Artograph Projector will let you take flat artwork or small 3D objects and enlarge them on any vertical surface. You can be transferring a sketch to a canvas, or print something from the web and use that as a pattern. This has a 163mm lens that will enlarge the original sized image anywhere from 2-10 times over.

The copy size that you can use with this is 10.2 x 10.2cm, and you’ll want to use this in a darker room, as you won’t be able to see too much if it’s bright. You will have to get your hands on a 23W CFL bulb for this to be of any use to you, which will tack another $6.99 on top of the initial $29.99 purchase. It’s quite compact, and would be perfect for classrooms or artists who don’t want to (or can’t) pay much more for a gadget like this.

Available for purchase on Amazon
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The Treepod is a treehouse that requires no building skills

When we’re kids, just about anything can be an amazing palace or rocket ship that will get you to space. The imagination of a child can take them anywhere, and they need little more than sticks and sand to come up with completely different worlds. When they get older, they usually want more tangible items like toys or tents to ground them in reality a bit more, but still have their own space for play.

If you don’t feel like building a treehouse so that your little ones can play Tarzan or Swiss Family Robinson, then the Treepod is going to be a great holiday gift. Probably not going to be able to use it until the Spring, but hey, less work for you down the line! This is a hanging tent that can hold about 500 pounds, and has a 5 foot diameter, making it a perfect play space for kids.

This weighs less than 10 pounds on its own, but will support those on the inside whether they’re going to roll around or take a nap. This will cost you $270-325, with additional costs for the stand or equipment to hang it from a tree, but it’s a nifty playhouse nonetheless. The time and energy spent would also be around the same for building a simple structure on your own with supplies and labor, so as long as its quality up to par, it seems worth the price tag.

Available for purchase on Amazon
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MudWatt can teach everyone about clean, dirty energy

You can make someone sit down in a classroom and read a book about how to put together an IKEA chair, but until they’re building it, not all of the dots are going to connect. Humans need real world experiences to understand why and how things are happening around them. Any day you don’t learn something new, you’ve probably died.

If you don’t know what to get someone for the upcoming holidays, a science project is always a fun idea! Well, that’s assuming the recipient has a vested interest in bettering themselves through play, like they would have to do with something like the MudWatt! This fun project is an award-winning STEM kit that will teach you about electricity, microbiology, and energy. Don’t be fooled by its cutesy looks, as this can teach first graders and seniors alike.

The kit harnesses the power of bacteria that creates electricity, and the best part is that you can use dirt from anywhere in the world to make this work. Not only that, but you can add food from your fridge and change the temperature to alter their power output. As the bacteria grows, you can track the progress through an app which will unlock an educational comic to give further insight into what’s happening. The classic version is a $39.99 kit, but there are several different sizes at varying prices for groups or classses ranging small to large.

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This Lunch Box Placemat keeps kids healthy and parents sane

Having kids is like signing up for a full time in-home job, with a boss that doesn’t know how to be professional. On top of trying to mold your child into a functioning human being, you also have to keep up with your own life, and the wrenches your bundles of joy throw into the works. Cleaning up messes will be a constant state of existence, making anything that’s not machine-washable or something that can be thrown into the dishwasher another chore on top of your already busy days.

Since you have to steer your tot in the best direction you can, you need to make it easy for them to not mess up. This Neoprene Lunch Box Placemat will do just that, by making sure that all the mess of their school lunch stays in one place. Since kids don’t really understand the concept of germs, their lunch boxes go with them outside, in bathrooms, and on the floor in the classroom. This same lunch box is going on their lunch table, and you can imagine that they’re not going to bring a sanitary wipe to clean off the surface before they eat off of it.

This Neoprene mat will zip up on each of the four corners, and when unzipped will reveal lunch, as well as a clean space to eat on. Most lunch boxes are just vessels for food, so this method ensures your kids have lunch and a place to eat it. These come in regular or large sizes with a variety of color combinations, costing around $18 a piece, and yes, they are completely machine washable.

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The Sphero Force Band controls BB-8 with the wave of your hand

When you watched Star Wars for the first time, how badly did you wish you could use the Force? While it is more complicated than simple telekinesis, that part is the one we all hone in on. For kids, that is amplified by a thousand, and they will pretend they have it and wave their arms around like mad regardless of whether or not they actually affect anything in the tangible world.

If you are a kind and giving parent who has gotten your child a Sphero BB-8, or are just young at heart and bought one for yourself, your interest might be peaked by this Force Band. It’s a wearable bracelet will let you control BB-8 through Force gestures like push, pull, and drive. Of course, this wouldn’t be worth spending $79 on if it was reliant on having BB-8, so there are plenty of cool things you can do without having the little droid around.

This toy has two modes, which includes Droid Control and Force Awareness. One obviously needs the Sphero droid, while the other will let you practice channeling the Force to wield a Lightsaber, battle with a blaster (both of which require more toys that are separate costs), or record and view virtual holographic messages in your environment. It’s in the same vein as Pokemon Go in that you would need to have it on and active to find these messages, but you’re not necessarily capturing any cool Star Wars creatures.

Available for purchase on Amazon
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Cozmo is a mischievous robot that wants to be your friend

It may not be today, or tomorrow, but we really are approaching the time when robots will have sentience. While that could either be a good or bad thing, we won’t know until it happens. Until then, we can have little robot friends that have a bit of a human streak programmed into them.

While Cozmo might sound a bit like WALL-E, he certainly doesn’t have the same temperament. This little droid is quite curious, wanting to learn, plot, plan, and play with whoever is around. It is meant for children to play with, and comes packed with content and games of speed and skill. He even comes with three interactive Power Cubes for specialty games. Thanks to its bright blue eyes that emote, it will be easy to forget that you’re hanging out with a piece of plastic!

You don’t have to worry about putting anything together, as Cozmo only needs to be juiced up through its drive-on/drive-off charging dock. There is the matter of having an iOS or Android device around, but at this point, who doesn’t have one of them? While Cozmo will learn and grow in your home, you can expedite its learning through the SDK if you have a creative imagination. While Cozmo doesn’t have a microphone, you’ll be able to program things for Cozmo to say, such as the weather or remind you about buying milk. This will cost you $179.99, and starts shipping tomorrow.

Available for purchase on Amazon
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