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It’s never too late for these parent-recommended tech gifts for kids

Uh-oh! You finished all your Christmas shopping for your kids, but you forgot the other kids in your family until today. Or maybe you’re looking for a few extremely-very-up-the-the-last-minute gifts just to add a few more things for your kids under your tree. I’ve totally been there too — maybe even today. These recommendations can help all year long.

Batteries and extra chargers 🔌

Be the hero your family deserves. Go out to your closest retailer and buy some batteries. Lots of batteries: AA, AAA, those weird 9V batteries, maybe even reliable rechargeable batteries. We’ve all had the “batteries not included” experience, but it’s avoidable. If it’s too late now, stock up for the year ahead.

That covers the basics. Next up: spare chargers. Keeping up with one charger is hard enough when you’re an adult. Imagine how hard maintaining a working charger is when you’re a kid! And let’s face it: kids are brutal on charging cables — not unlike many adults.

Our family can never have enough spare USB charging bricks, Lightning cables, micro USB cables, and now USB-C charging bricks and cables.

It doesn’t hurt to have a dedicated charger for everyone in the family either. This RAVPower 60W 5-Port USB charger that we keep in the family room is powerful enough to charge my two kids’ iPods and iPads.

Protect those screens 💔

Sometimes I’m brave enough to use my iPhone and iPad without a case, but I cover all sides of my kids’ devices as soon as they come out of the box.

My daughter has the 2019 entry-level iPad. We keep tempered glass screen protectors around: one on the iPad and a spare one for when it takes the beating the iPad didn’t have to endure.

We also use Apple’s Smart Keyboard Cover on her 10.2-inch iPad. It’s the same one that works with the newest 10.5-inch iPad. It’s a useful stand for watching videos or video calling, and it turns her iPad into a full computer when she needs it.

Finding the right protective case can be tricky with this iPad configuration, however, because the cover magnetically snaps on from the side. That’s also where the Smart Connector for transferring information without batteries or Bluetooth is located.

OtterBox Symmetry for iPad 7 is designed with this in mind.

First, it’s a protective clear case that shows off the iPad color while keeping the back and sides covered. The front is also somewhat protected thanks to the bump around the edges that prevents the display from touching a surface when laying flat.

Then there’s the removable spin. If you don’t use the Smart Keyboard Cover or Smart Cover, you can use the optional spine insert to complete the case. Since the spine is removable, you can remove it as needed so the case is compatible with Apple’s keyboard cover.

It even has a stretchable band that holds the first-gen Apple Pencil or Logitech Crayon. Either stylus is a great pairing for the newest iPad, although Logitech’s version with the same technology inside is best for younger kids.

For my soon who is younger and inherited an older iPad mini, our family prefers an even more protective solution: this convertible handle/stand case. There’s also a pair of 2019 iPod touches in our house. For those, we use a budget-friendly 360-degree coverage case with a clear back to show the iPod’s color.

Apple Store is the best toy store 🧸

Tech parents like me love to see their kids learn how to master computers like it’s second nature, then eventually go beyond what we know and understand. We also love to live vicariously through our kids and experience the awesome tech toys that didn’t exist when we were their ages.

That’s why the Apple Store is one of my favorite toy stores. Not just for the cool iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads and Macs. Apple’s online and retail stores include a great catalog of toys and games with a tech focus. See for yourself at apple.com/shop/accessories/all-accessories/toys-games.

From Disney Frozen 2 and Star Wars coding kits by Kano to educational DJI drones and Osmo creative game kits, the Apple Store is full of great ways to do more with iPads and iPods besides watching videos.

This year we’re also trying out the UBTECH Jimu Robot MeeBot 2.0 App-Enabled Building and Coding STEM Kit.

Building on the success of its best-selling JIMU Robot: MeeBot Kit, UBTECH Robotics, a global leader in intelligent humanoid robotics and AI technologies, today announced the newly updated JIMU Robot: MeeBot 2.0 Kit. A buildable, codable robot known for its popular dancing skills, MeeBot 2.0 Kit adds new technologies for even more coding potential to make STEM learning and robotics more fun and accessible than ever.

MeeBot 2.0 Kit is part of UBTECH’s JIMU Robot line, an award-winning robotic building block system designed for children ages 8 and up. JIMU Robot engages kids in the fundamentals of STEM, giving them essential skills for a brighter future of success while having fun and expanding their creativity.

We’ve tried iPad-controlled coding robots before with other kids in the family, and this year our daughter is finally old enough to take on the challenge. Look for a review at the holidays. UBTECH also makes dragon- and unicorn-themed bots for building and coding.

For younger kids aged 3-6, check out the Fisher-Price Code ‘n Learn Kinderbot — no iPad required.

Even more 🚂

There’s another category of gifts and toys that may not be obvious to parents, but kids will soon tell you about: kid-friendly versions of tech for grownups or older kids.

VTech makes a really fun smartwatch with games, a voice changer, and even a camera that can be their Apple Watch. For even younger kids, check out VTech’s PAW Patrol learning watch. The two- and three-year-olds had to have the “Apple Watch” for Christmas this year.

Regular readers will know about my particular fondness for the Apple Watch and exercising, and that’s something that has clearly rubbed off on my own kids. As for the workout part, our family adores the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Smart Cycle. It works with racing apps on the iPad or Apple TV over Bluetooth, and kids can exercise to progress through their game.

Have your own favorite tech gifts for kids? Share your top picks in the comments!

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