Technologically savvy and notoriously harder to please, kids ages 9 and up require extra attention when selecting software and gifts that will truly engage their attention and hold their interest. Fortunately, we've found a few pleasers.
In this gift guide for children ages 9 and up, we've included topnotch software, activity sets, books, and toys that kids will love receiving—and adults will feel great about giving.
for Kids 9-up
10+ TOP PICKS
Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL
The Nintendo 3DS is the latest handheld system from Nintendo (the Nintendo DS Lite mentioned below is still a good system, but the 3DS is the latest). It's backwards compatible with the DS, meaning it can play every DS game in addition to the newer 3DS games.
The Nintendo 3DS boasts improved graphics, a robust e-shop with digital downloads of full games, and some extra features. And, of course as the name implies, it has 3D capabilities. Games specially designed for the 3DS can be played in 3D without the need for special glasses. The intensity of the 3D can be adjusted to taste with a slider, and it can be turned off completely, as some of our testers have opted to do. Note that the 3D element is NOT recommended for children ages 7 and under, and some kids older than 7 find it disorienting and choose not to use the feature. The Nintendo 3DS XL includes larger screens. Although this can make it slightly less portable than the original version of the 3DS, it is far from unreasonable and can be more appealing to younger children due to easier visibility.
To buy, or for more information: Nintendo 3DS - Aqua Blue, Nintendo 3DS - Cosmo Black, Nintendo 3DS - Flame Red, Nintendo 3DS XL Black/Black, or Nintendo 3DS XL - Blue/Black at Amazon.com]
Nintendo DS Lite
The Nintendo DS Lite is a super improvement on the DS. This lighter, brighter, and more compact edition of a fabulous portable gaming system drew ooh's and ah's from our kid testers. It comes in Coral Pink, Polar White, and Onyx Black. Of course, many girls love the pink version. Like the DS, the DS Lite features dual screens, wireless features, a touch screen, stylus, and microphone. It's more interactive than the GameBoys (for example, with one game, kids can blow into the unit to create bubbles onscreen; in another (Nintendogs), they can speak commands to their virtual puppies).
Should you buy a DSi? If the kids don't play GameBoy games, then no. Stick with the DS Lite. If not, and you like the idea of having a camera in the DS, then go for the DSi. Our kid testers still play GameBoy games, and don't want to "upgrade" as a result!
NOTE: The better bet is to get the Nintendo 3DS (immediately above) as it is backwards compatible. The 3DS can play all DS games (not GameBoy Advance games) and boasts more features.
To buy, or for more information: Nintendo DS Lite Metallic Silver, Nintendo DS Lite Polar White, or Nintendo DS Lite Coral Pink and Nintendogs Labrador Retriever & Friends at Amazon.com]
Kid Genius - Magnetic Poetry
You've probably heard of Magnetic Poetry sets--magnetic word tiles can be arranged and rearranged on the fridge (or any magnetic surface) for wordplay fun and learning. Meant to inspire creativity with words, Magnetic Poetry sets are pleasantly addictive. Kid Genius Magnetic Poetry is extra special. Common words can be reversed to find less-used synonyms, making the set somewhat like a thesaurus. For example, on the reverse side of the "bird" tile is "fowl"; on the other side of "elephant" is "pachyderm"; on the flip side of "slow" is "sluggish". Kids are drawn to Magnetic Poetry sets...well, like magnets. This one is especially educational.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Magnetic Poetry: Kid Genius at Amazon.com]
20Q by Radica Games
Here's a game tweeners and their parents will enjoy. This electronic toy attempts to guess, in 20 questions or less, what the player is thinking. Players answer the questions by pressing buttons that read "Unknown", "Yes", "No", or "Sometimes". The toy's ability to guess the answers is almost always surprising, and the game gets lots of laughs. The teasing commentary is cute at first, although it gets old fast. Otherwise, this game is great fun, and portable. Very entertaining!
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: 20Q Version 3.0 - Blue at Amazon.com]
Nintendo Wii U Gaming System
Nintendo is always a great choice for children and families, and their newest gaming console is no different. The Wii U continues the tradition of the Wii with it's motion-sensitive controls and "Mii"s, their original customizable identities which are incorporated into many of their games, but expand on it with many new features that make it worth the purchase. It even now, for the first time, has HD graphics which adds beautiful, clear images that enhance the gaming experience. This can also be put to use for watching movies and television shows through it's ability to attach to your video streaming accounts as well as the Internet, making the Wii U a multi-purpose media center.
Nintendo consistently releases games that are appropriate for children, yet still extremely fun to people of all ages, making it a hit for families. Their games also tend to have great replay value, which means children will return to this console and its games again and again. Although there was originally a lack of exciting games when the console was released, there are now a slew of new games and sequels to beloved classics such as Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, and Mario Party that make it well worth the purchase.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Nintendo Wii U Console - 32GB Black Deluxe Set or Wii U Exclusive Mario Kart 8 & Nintendoland 32GB Deluxe bundle at Amazon.com]
Nintendo Wii Gaming System
This fabulous gaming system by Nintendo didn't fail to impress us. Gaming is truly a family affair with the Wii, a console that fairly begs to be played. The Wii's controller is wireless and motion-sensitive. Selecting items on the TV screen is much like using a computer mouse--you point the controller to a "clickable" item and then press a button to select it.
The system comes with a package of sports video games, Wii Sports, and includes bowling, tennis, boxing, and baseball. Kids and their parents create their own identity--a "Mii"--by selecting hair style and color, face shape, skin color, and so forth. These characters roam around and are featured in the sports games. Players can create their own family and friends, and, as Mom bowls, Dad and the kids cheer her on. Baseball teams consist of your own group of characters. Baseball is played by literally swinging the controller and imitating a pitch. Wii plays Nintendo Game Cube games as well as the new titles designed specifically for the Wii. Parents can purchase and download classic games for the NES, Super NES, and more older systems, right on-screen --they'll need to wirelessly connect to their wireless internet connection in order to do so. Families will be able to surf the web from their couch.
Kids and adults alike enjoy playing with the Nintendo Wii because it brings players into the game. Players might use the remote to actually simulate playing tennis, baseball or boxing. Or, they might use a wireless steering wheel to direct their car while playing a racing game. The Nintendo Wii really allows players to bring their imaginations into their game playing, giving them a more satisfying experience.
It's a fantastic, appealing setup.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Wii with Wii Sports Resort - White or Nintendo Wii Console Black with Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort at Amazon.com]
Disney Infinity for Wii, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Playstation 3, or Wii U
For any Disney fan, this is a must-buy! This game brings many different worlds of Disney together to create a fabulous video game that is fun for the whole family. Using collectable figurines of your favorite Disney characters, you can synchronize said figurines to the game using the "Infinity Base", and unlock various play sets. There are two play modes: Play Set and Toy Box. Play Set allows you to use your characters to play games within the Disney world they exist in, such as having a Sully figurine allows you to play in a Monsters Inc universe and embark on adventures related to the Monsters Inc and Monsters University. In Toy Box mode, you can bring multiple Disney worlds together and customize to your liking using settings unlocked through Play Set mode. This game has a lot of replay value, and the number of play sets and figurines available means that there are always new aspects of the game to discover. This game is absolutely worth the buy, especially for families who love Disney!
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: DISNEY INFINITY Starter Pack, and All Disney Infinity Products at Amazon.com]
GelaSkins are stylish, trendy, and they protect your laptop, portable gaming device, iPod, and phone too! They make a unique gift for teenagers and young adults. GelaSkins are artist-designed skins designed to protect and spiff up laptops, iPhones, iPods, PSPs, Nintendo DS Lite, select cell phones, and Touch. They truly are delightful to look at, and extremely functional at the same time. They peel off and stick on, so that you can reuse them; and, if you have more than one GelaSkin, you can change the look of your device whenever you're in the mood. The designs are a must-see--truly creative and inspiring. these devices, downloadable for free at the GelaSkins website.
There is a selection of GelaScreens designed to match each GelaSkin. GelaSkins include a wide variety of styles and artwork. While some are straightforward (such as Golfer), most are alternative. Teens are sure to find something they like. In fact, they're sure to find many skins they love! You'll have to take a look at the GelaSkins gallery in order to get an idea of the sheer quantity and impressive quality of skins available. Skins can be purchased offline, but the best selection can be found at the GelaSkins site. Because we're talking art--and a lot of it--it's probably best to let your teens decide which ones they like best, so if you're planning on giving GelaSkins as a gift, your best bet is to buy a gift card, also available at the site.
To browse all styles and types of Gelaskins or to buy: All GelaSkins products
The Snap Circuits series is excellent. Each kit is designed to inspire budding engineers as they experiment with circuits. With the kits' unique block layout, kids can see how circuits work without having to deal with a mess of wires. There is a Junior version, Standard, Pro, and Extreme. Snap Circuit Pro, pictured here, includes parts and instructions to make over 500 projects. We tested Snap Circuit Extreme, which features colorful manuals with instructions for 692 projects! With its 80+ pieces, kids can build an electronic kazoo, transistor AM radio, a lie detector, and more. The experiments demonstrate such things as inertia, how batteries store electricity, how water conducts electricity, and so forth. It's helpful to have someone around who knows a little about engineering, just so that some of the concepts learned are reinforced, although this isn't entirely necessary. We set a group of kids (ages 8, 10, and 13) loose with the kit, and they were busy literally for hours, without parental involvement, although the 13 year old certainly was the one leading the group and was integral as a leader. It makes a fantastic parent-and-child activity. This isn't a toy that will be forgotten after the first play. Very recommended.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Elenco Snap Circuits SC-300 Physics Kit or all Snap Circuits at Amazon]
My All-Time Top 5
Most preteens love lists and quizzes, and this unique book by Klutz offers a whole slew of them. Here's kids' chance to "immortalize" their opinions on favorites, pet peeves, crushes, fears, and a whole lot more. Includes a pencil and eraser charm hanging on, plus keepsake pocket pages. Cute! Testers absolutely loved the coil-bound book.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Klutz My All-Time Top 5 at Amazon]
Sometimes ugly is cute, and preteens love to attach themselves to anything that's a little odd and special. Ugly Dolls fits the bill! Kids love their simplistic charm. With names like Big Toe (pictured here), Chuckanucka, and Ice Bat, each doll in the line has its own special appeal. Come in two sizes.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Ugly Dolls at Amazon]
Lego Mindstorms EV3 31313
One of the season's hottest intelligent toys, Lego Mindstorms EV3 31313 is a fresh update to the next generation of robots. With this set, kids create the smartest, strongest and most advanced LEGO robot. The new EV3 Intelligent Brick, the robot's "brain," features a powerful 32-bit microprocessor and more memory, plus support for USB, Bluetooth and more. Lego Technic elements combine with ultrasonic, sound, light, and touch sensors in a set that allows users to create humanoid, animal, or vehicle robots that respond to their commands. Programming software is included and available for both PC and Macintosh, plus with Bluetooth support, users can even command their robot from their mobile phone. The robot can react to touch, sound, light, movement, and color. The set comes with illustrated instructions.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: LEGO Mindstorms EV3 31313 at Amazon.com]
WowWee Flytech Hoverpod
This remote-controlled hoverpod will keep kids busy for some time. Whether it's in a race with a friend who has the same toy or after setting up an obstacle run. Controlling these vehicles is not too easy, nor is it too difficult. It's the perfect gift for kids who enjoy remote controlled vehicles. The good news is it is not too bulky, and can be played with on any floor or smooth surface. Keep in mind that this isn't a flying vehice, rather it hugs the floor.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: WowWee FlyTech Hoverpod - Blue at Amazon.com]
The Natural Beauty Book
For girls who love to pamper themselves, The Natural Beauty Book (formerly The Body Book) by Klutz is an exceptional set. Featuring natural body care tips and recipes, this book also comes with an exciting pack of supplies to get started--a face brush, scented oils, nail brush, pumice stone, nail buffer, and more. This gorgeous full-color spiral-bound book emphasizes good nutrition without being preachy, and offers one satisfying recipe after another. A sugar scrub for your feet or hands contains sugar, oil, and juice from a lemon; a peaches-and-cream hand mask is another all-natural 3-ingredient pleaser; and the strawberry salt rub is a luxurious and fragrant concoction designed to slough off dead skin cells, moisturize, and energize. This is a fantastic set that adults will love too. In the long run, kids will save money by making body care products at home.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: The Natural Beauty Book (Klutz) at Amazon]
Nikon Coolpix L28 20.1 MP Digital Camera
Top Pick for kids. Currently, we recommend the Nikon Coolpix L28 for children. Although not specifically designed for kids, this 20.1 MP of resolution and 5x optical zoom camera keeps it in the beginners' range of digital camera units, but it's a huge step above the cameras listed above, and not much more expensive! It's a good and reliable choice for families and children. Video clips can be taken, with audio. This digital camera combines affordability and reliability and makes a good choice as a camera you might want to buy your preteen or teenager. It also includes a few color settings for taking fun pictures. This camera is ideal for preteens and teens. This is a fantastic choice, and comparatively very inexpensive (as little as $85).
[Buy Nikon COOLPIX L28 20.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Zoom Lens and 3" LCD (Red) at sale prices from Amazon.com]
This highly innovative game helps kids use the power of their minds- literally! Many parents have complained that children these days lack focus and concentration. This game aims to change all that. The Mindflex game makes children use their minds to move objects through an obstacle course. The more they focus, the better they do! While we applaud the concept, this game might be a bit of one-trick pony. Therefore, we recommend the new Mindflex Duel which expands on this concept by adding friends to the mix. Kids may "battle" by seeing who can move the balls through the various different obstacles or challenges provided in this game. For example, one game involves a competition of throwing as many balls in a basket as possible within a time limit, all using the power of their minds! It also includes solo games, for optimal use out of this fabulous, interactive game.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Mindflex Game and/or Mindflex Duel Game at Amazon.com]
Nerf Lazer Tag System
Laser Tag is popular birthday party fare, and this Lazer Tag System by Nerf makes it possible to play the game at home. This set comes with two toy laser guns (they look very much like reworked Nerf gun classics) that load, rumble, and recoil. Players set a laser strength, and then start the tag battle, complete with shields, lights, sounds, and vibrations. It's fairly durable, exciting, and highly interactive. This set includes two laser guns; more kids can play if you buy extra laser guns that are sold separately.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: 2009 Lazertag System 2PK at Amazon.com]
The Best Software & Video Games for Children Ages 9+
Nancy Drew CD-ROMs and DVD Game
Nancy Drew Software Games Series is a fabulous, detailed series of mystery-adventure software games. Children ages 12 and up get the opportunity to step into teen sleuth Nancy Drew's shoes as she investigates a mystery, interviews mysterious characters, solves plenty of logic puzzles, and more. The latest Nancy Drew CD-ROMs are exciting, challenging, and involving.
Kids will relish the chance to play detective. Nancy Drew at Waverly Academy (#21...can you imagine?) is the latest installment in the series.
The latest are Nancy Drew DVD Games that play like the software, except that kids don't play them on the computer. Instead, they pop the DVD into their DVD player and use the remote control to navigate through the adventure.
Our Rating: A+
[For more information or to buy: Brighter Minds Nancy Drew Curse of Blackmoor Manor DVD Game and Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy. Other worthy titles include: Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy, Nancy Drew: Danger by Design, Nancy Drew: Secret of the Scarlet Hand, Nancy Drew: The Haunted Carousel, or Nancy Drew Danger on Deception Island at Amazon.com for approximately $20 US each.]
Crazy Machines: Wacky Contraptions
These are pure brainteasers—simulations that remind us what software should be. Parents will not only be pleased their kids are playing the game, many will want to join in on the fun. Exceptional!
Our Rating: A+
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Crazy Machines: The Wacky Contraptions Game (PC & Mac)]
Rock Band III & Guitar Hero V
Rock Band 3, whether the kids already have the first or second Rock Band or it's all brand new, is a fabulous product for teenagers. Kids have the option to play guitar, base, drums, and to sing along with well-established and diverse rock songs. Along with Guitar Hero, Rock Band is the most-played video game in our own household (three teens) overall. It allows them to play together, and they truly have a blast. Get the Special Edition if you're new to the series, since it includes the musical instruments. This set is currently available for the Playstation 2 and 3, the XBox 360 and the Wii.
More Outstanding Choices:
11Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0
One of the season's hottest intelligent toys, Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 is a fresh update to the next generation of robots. With this set, kids create the smartest, strongest and most advanced LEGO robot. The new NXT Intelligent Brick, the robot's "brain," features a powerful 32-bit microprocessor and more memory, plus support for USB 2.0, Bluetooth and more. Lego Technic elements combine with ultrasonic, sound, light, and touch sensors in a set that allows users to create humanoid, animal, or vehicle robots that respond to their commands. Programming software is included and available for both PC and Macintosh, plus with Bluetooth support, users can even command their robot from their mobile phone. The robot can react to touch, sound, light, movement, and color. The set comes with illustrated instructions.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 (8547) at Amazon.com]
Robosapien is a battery-powered "humanoid" that can dance, pick up objects, walk, whistle, yawn, push, kick, and even give a "high five" in ways that mimic human behaviors. Sensors in the robot's feet allow him to walk around objects. Robosapien was developed by former NASA robotic physicist, Dr. Mark W. Tilden, and is far more graceful than other toy robots. Kids operate the 14-inch tall robot with a remote control. The humanoid includes 67 pre-programmed functions and can be programmed to perform functions in a chain. Don't think that this toy is only for boys—girls (and parents, too!) will have a blast with this highly entertaining robot as much as boys.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: WowWee Robosapien at Amazon.com]
13Zoo Tycoon 2
We love Microsoft's Zoo Tycoon series, and this edition features improvements that enhance gameplay, not to mention offer an exciting visual experience for players. With Zoo Tycoon 2, players can build, manage, and maintain theite exciting exhibits, random and dynamic challenges enrich gameplay, and free downloadable content adds variety. There is now an option that but they use their brains as they do. They are managers as well, and they learn quite a bit about animals as they play. Although not explicitly educational, this program is excellent for developing thinking skills.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Microsoft Zoo Tycoon 2 (CD-ROM)]
FLY Pentop Computer
The FLY Pentop Computer is certainly something to marvel at. The pen "reads" what kids write on the special paper it comes with. To begin with, they use the pen to literally draw a Menu button -- they write a capital letter M and draw a circle around it. Kids can draw a calculator and then use it, hearing the answers to their operations announced! They can also draw a piano keyboard and then play it. Essentially, kids get audio feedback for what they write. Other applications, such as math, writing, and journaling, are add-ons available separately. Kids need to hold the pen upright (so that the pen's camera can "see" what they're writing) and write clearly.
It's certainly different and kids will most definitely want to try it out. However, it's not for everyone! It's pricey, and so are the add-ons (special paper and other accessories). Some kids will use it often, others will lose interest.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: FLY Pentop Computer at Amazon.com]
The Quantum Pad brings special books designed for the system to interactive life. Children use the attached stylus (a "magic pen") to activate hotspots on the pages of these books. Words and sentences are read aloud with a touch of the pen, maps come to life as children point their pen on different countries, states, and cities; and "paper keyboards" allow kids to compose their own tunes! The educational possibilities are endless for the toy. The Quantum Pad is a sleeker-looking unit than its LeapPad cousin--it appears less like a toy than the LeapPad, and thus it goes over well with older kids. But most parents know that even preschoolers are attracted to things that don't "look" their age. The point here is that purchasing a Quantum Pad for your kids will likely take care of your 3 year old as well as your more technologically savvy 9 year old, as long as you purchase a book or two that is appropriate for your 3 year old's educational level (which you would likely want to do regardless). The sampler book included in the package is terrific! The geography games are entirely addictive (for adults too)--you have to race the clock to find as many requested states, capitals, or, in the case of the map of Europe, countries. There's a solar system spread, work with fractions and multiplication, a spelling bee, and more. The system is very expandable -- which is both a pro and a con. The good news is that the system is not going to blow out of steam too quickly; and the bad news is that it can get quite costly.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Quantum Pad at Amazon.com]
Kids Travel: A Backseat Survival Kit
Surviving long car rides with minimal complaint is not an easy task, but Kids Travel: A Backseat Survival Kit can certainly help save the day. Car games, quizzes, activities, and song lyrics fill the sturdy, colorful pages of this fantastic spiral-bound book. An attached pouch includes supplies to enjoy the book's games (including markers, game pieces, and more) and a clip board holds pages of printouts that kids can use to play games such as Country Bingo and Lost on Earth. This kit is exciting, including directions for classic and all-new car games, quizzes that kids can give to their parents, and more. Best for chhildren ages 8-14. This kit has all the supplies kids need to play the car games, and features clear instructions and colorful instructions. Excellent!
[For more information, or to buy: Kidstravel: A Backseat Survival Guide/Includes Book, Pad, and Pouch With Game Pieces at Amazon.com]
The Shrinky Dinks Book
We love Shrinky Dinks! But we weren't impressed with the Shrinky Dinks oven that we tested. A more economical way to make shrinky dinks--a delightfully fun art activity for kids--is to get the book, The Shrinky Dinks Book. You may want to purchase a refill kit at the same time (it contains 8 plastic sheets). You will have to bake the artwork in the "big" oven, but baking is brief and accurate this way. Excellent activity! Children trace objects onto the included special plastic sheets (this book is brimming with great things to trace), and then fill them in with color. Once baked, they magically shrink and harden.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: The Shrinky Dinks Book or Extra Stuff for Shrinky Dinks (Klutz Extra Stuff) at Amazon.com]
Wee Enchanted Garden
This fabulous kit will delight children for hours. Kids construct a "wee" garden in a wide bowl by adding soil, planting seeds, adding a tiny house, and arranging tiny items in the planter. The plants grow quickly.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Wee Enchanted Garden Kit at Amazon.com]
A Book of Artrageous Projects
For creative kinds, A Book of Artrageous Projects makes a fantastic gift. Filled with art starters and packaged with supplies to get started, this spiral bound book contains inspiration like no other. Even the cover itself can be used for an art project--it's a sheet of copper designed to be used for an embossing activity. Collages, stained glass, painting, and more.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Book of Artrageous Projects at Amazon.com]
My Fabulous Life in Pictures
This scrapbook truly is "fabulous". It's a spiralbound keepsake for kids, filled with pages designed to showcase their life--their family tree, favorite things, best friends, pets, and so forth--through photos, drawings, and picture cut-outs. There's a page that frames photos of faces with goofy hairstyles; spaces for collage projects; fill-in-the-blank questionnaires; party pages; "My 20 Year Predictions" page complete with an envelope bound into the book to be used as a time capsule; and even a "Page of Shame" for those unavoidable bad photos. Included are stickers to help kids decorate the pages along with a package of templates to use for cutting photos just right. This is a very creative--and creativity-inspiring--book by Klutz Press. See more products from Klutz in our article.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: My Fabulous Life in Pictures at Amazon.com]
Draw Thumb People
This creative stocking stuffer idea is a little spiralbound book with a marker and stamp pad attached. Flip open the book and you'll find ideas and instructions for making thumbprint art of many different people in different situations! It's surprisingly addictive, and very creative and enjoyable for kids at varying ages. It's an adorable idea, sure to inspire plenty of unique designs.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Draw Thumb People (Fine Art at Your Fingertips) at Amazon.com]
Scrambled Egg Silhouette Puzzle by Binary Arts
This metal puzzle set contains nine colorful pieces within an egg-shaped frame. A challenge booklet, containing 36 puzzle challenges (birds, ducks, and other shapes) using the metal pieces, slips in and out of the back of the frame. Also available is the classic Tangram Silhouette Puzzle. Both are attractive and appealing sets.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Scrambled Egg at Amazon.com]
A Classical Kids Christmas
A collection of joyous Christmas songs and carols make up this superb children's audio recording. Children embark on a Christmas adventure complete with an engaging storyline, an exceptional children's choir, and the true meaning of Christmas. Excellent for children ages 8 and up! See also more selections from Classical kids in our article.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: A Classical Kids Christmas at Amazon.com]
Giga Pets Explorer
The popular handheld Giga Pets games can now be played through the TV with the Giga Pets Explorer. Plug this unit into your TV to interact with the electronic pets. There are tricks to unlock, toys to earn, and games to play after inserting your Giga Pets into the game. It's easy to set up--a plug and play unit.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Giga Pets Explorer at Amazon.com]
LeapFrog's Explorer Globe is a fantastic learning globe with a touch-sensitive pen. Kids (and adults) use the pen to explore the globe, picking up geography facts as they do. Kids can listen to musical samples, learn facts about population, discover the time in different parts of the world, and more. Fun games allow kids to test their knowledge--in fact, the games reinforce geography in a powerful manner. This is a fantastic tool for learning--it's responsive and fun for kids, and sophisticated enough to impress adults as well. We have had the original release of this globe for over 4 years now--it is still turned to repeatedly and has held up exceptionally well.
[Buy Explorer Globe at Amazon.com]
The Hasbro U-Dance Game is a plug-and-play unit for the TV featuring an all-in-one sensor system that detects motion. Donning special foot tags, as kids dance, their steps appear onscreen--no special mat to dance on, and nothing to hold. Let your feet do the talking. Kids learn and practice authentic dance moves as they dance solo or in a "dance-off" with a friend. There is an option to add some fitness to the mix via a "treadmill" game. Such fun, and truly innovative!
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: U-Dance at Amazon.com]
Faces by Buffalo Games really gets kids talking, laughing, and thinking. Designed for 3 or more players, kids draw faces (cards) from the deck and place them in a line-up. A player then draws one of the Impression Cards (example, "The one who is obsessed with neatness"), and all players vote for the face that best fits the impression. Of course, it's all in the interpretation, which is really what makes the game interesting. The comical faces are male, female, and animal.
[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Buffalo Games Faces Game at Amazon]
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