Gone are the days when expensive gadgets were reserved for adults. Now children are even more addicted to technology than their parents, with products even being geared at toddlers. We take a look at the best on the market for the little ones in your life. You never know, it may even stop them trying to steal your ipad.
Portable DVD players
Let’s start with a parent’s best friend on long journeys. No matter how many times you play I Spy, or our own family favourite Yellow Car, where you get points for spotting unusually-coloured vehicles, it won’t be long before the cries of “are we nearly there yet?” start. But hang one of these on the seats in front of your kids and you get at least 90 minutes of peace, as long as you choose the right movie.
For Peppa Pig fans, try the pink-branded edition from the makers of the popular television show. It comes with a seven-inch screen and six-hours of playback from the built-in rechargeable battery pack, hopefully long enough to get where you’re going. It also has pink Peppa Pig pouch straps to secure the player to the back of your headrest. On the down side, the supplied headphones are earplug types that young children could find difficult to keep in their ears so you might prefer to swap them for something more traditional if you want to avoid regular pit-stops to reinsert. RRP £99.99
Or if you have two older children, how about buying a twin set? Nextbase has a double pack, coming in at £199.99. The two players have nine-inch screens and can be used to view a single DVD on both or, to save arguments, you can view an individual movie on each unit.
Tablets for kids
The LeapPad is aimed at youngsters aged between four and nine and may stop them from trying to use your own expensive gizmos. Costing around £80, it features an in-built camera and video and around 100 games and apps. There are even apps to improve school skills such as reading and phonics, maths, art, music and geography so you don’t have to worry that they’re just wasting time. Skill levels are set for each child once you input their age into the profile.
Rivals Vtech have the InnoTab kids tablet, costing the same and with the same age target. Larger than the LeapPad, it still has the same size screen and, while both work by touch or stylus, the InnoTab is easier to use by little fingers. It also has educational apps if you want your child to have a break from playing games.
If your youngster aspires to be the next David Bailey but you don’t want to let them loose with your own digital camera – you never know whether it will be dropped in the sand or swimming pool – Vtech have a model just for little fingers. It has two megapixels and twists round so they can take self-portraits. Children can also add frames and other wacky effects to the pictures they’ve taken. Costing between £40 and £60, the camera comes in blue or pink or character effects like Toy Story and Disney Princess.
Aimed at ages three and upwards, it will soon feel too babyish for your growing child though, so for older ones, something fairly inexpensive in a funky colour will probably do the trick. How about the Fujifilm Finepix L55, which is aimed at anyone looking for a budget, hassle-free, point and shoot digital camera and comes in a range of colours like purple, red and blue.
Whichever gadget you choose, it could prove a godsend when it comes to keeping youngsters entertained while travelling to your summer holiday destination. Whether you’re driving, flying or boarding a ferry or train, it should help to make the journey feel shorter for your little ones.