It’s not your imagination, parents: Kids’ toys are far more sophisticated today than what we remember from our childhoods. (If we can even recall that far back into the pre-digital, Mesolithic Era.)
Among the top toy trends for the upcoming holiday season are toys that teach the basics of coding — even to preschoolers — and take for granted kids’ innate technological savvy. But many of these gadgets come with a hefty price tag. Do they really hold up against the timeless classics like trains, dolls and puzzles?
We put this question to the test at our annual toy test for 15 children from the metro area. We took note of which toys held the attention within their designated age groups and which had crossover appeal. We also talked to parents to find out which ones they consider worth the money after observing their child playing with them.
Here are the winners and losers.
Note: Prices are the manufacturer’s suggested price. This time of year, you can almost always find better deals. Unless noted, toys are available at retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Toys R Us and Target
Ages 4-6: School Zone Little Scholar with Green Bumper
School Zone Little Scholar with Green Bumper ($129.99): Each tester spent some time with this beginners tablet encased in a sturdy bumper. Most of the children and parents concluded that it was too young for children who are used to playing with more sophisticated tablets at home. One child already owned a Nabi and another had a kids Samsung Galaxy, which has a far superior camera. One parent said it could be a good starter tablet for an even younger child