For some people Christmas will always be about religion, but for others it’s the season for spreading joy, and for enjoying the giving and receiving of gifts between loved ones. If you ask me, Christmas is all about the kids. Nothing beats the smile on their faces (and your own) when you know you’ve given them a gift they really love.
But shopping for kids’ Christmas presents has become incredibly difficult – not because you’re short of options, but because there’s almost too much choice. And when it comes to choosing tech for a child who probably knows more about it than you do, you can feel out of your depth.
We’ve put together our ultimate tech gift list for kids, which contains more than 100 tech products any child would be happy to receive. We’ve considered all ages, from youngsters right through to teenagers, and focused strongly on value for money – Christmas is an expensive time, especially when it might seem that quantity of gifts can outweigh quality.
We’ve got everything from big-ticket gifts like phones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches and games consoles to smaller tech accessories that would make great stocking fillers or less expensive presents from their favourite aunt or uncle. For sure, there’s something here that every kid will love.
Amazon Fire 7 (2019)
Every kid wants a tablet, and no tablet offers better value than the Amazon Fire 7 (reviewed). It starts at £49 with 16GB of storage, but expect some significant discounts come Black Friday and Christmas. We’ve seen it go as low as £34.99.
It has a 7in IPS display with a reasonably low resolution of 1024×600 pixels, but it’s a great size for small hands and the 1.3GHz quad-core processor inside is more than sufficient for playing casual children’s games.
It’s reasonably easy to lock down the Fire 7 using parental controls, but if this is a particular concern we also recommend the £99 Kids Edition. It’s double the price, but comes with a tough bumper case and a two-year warranty that covers accidental damage, plus access to games, videos, music and more at Kids Unlimited.
Unfortunately, the one drawback of Amazon tablets is they do not support Google services, which means you don’t get access to the Google Play store and therefore your kids might not be able to access all the same games as their friends. There is a workaround that lets you add any Android app to a Fire tablet, but it’s going to need adult intervention.
If you are looking for a full Android tablet, you won’t find a better balance of specifications and value than in the £229.99 MediaPad M5 8 from Huawei. The £139 MediaPad M3 Lite is a slightly cheaper option, still with an 8in screen.
You’ll find more tablets primed for children in our round-up of the best kids’ tablets.
It wouldn’t surprise us if top of your kids’ Christmas list was a new iPhone, but few parents are going to have the budget for that without looking down to an older model. If you have made the decision that your child is old enough to be responsible for a smartphone, the most appropriate option you’ll find is the Moto G7 (reviewed), which right now costs £219.99 SIM-free.
We’d recommend pairing it with a GiffGaff Goodybag, which offer a kind of mash-up between PAYG and contract, stopping them going over a certain pre-paid limit but also ensuring they are always able to make calls and texts should an emergency arise. Plans start at £6 a month and offer great value.
Going back to the phone, the Moto G7 has an outstanding 6.2in full-HD display, a useful amount of internal storage at 64GB, and capable performance from the Snapdragon 632 octa-core chip inside. The cameras are great, too, with a dual-lens (12Mp + 5Mp) setup at the rear and 5Mp at the front, and there’s even a fingerprint sensor. The software is vanilla Android, and therefore straightforward in use. It’s everything they need.
If you are buying your kid their first phone, be sure to set up some ground rules – take it from me, Auntie Rie does not want 50 missed calls at 5am. We’ve got a great guide on setting up parental control software that can help.
See more best budget phone ideas.
You’ve probably seen PopSockets before, but you might not know what they’re called. Attaching to the back of a smartphone or tablet they lie flat but when needed can pop up and act as a stand or simply offer extra grip. If you’re worried about your child smashing their expensive new device as it tumbles from their tiny hands, they’re seriously worth a look.
There are tons of PopSocket designs out there, and it’s now possible to swap out the ‘PopTops’ rather than having to replace the entire thing every time you want to mix it up.
As a gift we love this personalised Custom PopGrip, which costs £16.99 direct from PopSockets. It comes in a range of colours, and you can apply your own photo to complete the design. And you just know your teenager would love to carry around a photo of their dear old mum on the back of their phone wherever they go. You can have some real fun with this one.
We’ve rounded up some more PopSocket designs we love.
Zendure Power Bank
Phones, tablets and handheld gaming consoles keep the kids quiet only so long as their batteries hold out. A power bank can extend the peace until you feel they’ve had enough screen time.
We love Zendure’s range of power banks for their cool-looking and virtually indestructible design, and their careful balance of portability, power and performance. There is some great tech inside these batteries, with each bank in the range able to support passthrough charging, a much higher than industry-standard efficiency rating of 80 percent, and the promise of long-term standby up to six months.
This ultra-slim model is one of the newer models in the range with support for 18W Quick Charge 3.0 and Power Delivery. That’s important because, unlike many other power banks of this capacity, it can power not only a phone or tablet but also more power-hungry gadgets such as a Nintendo Switch.
From the 10,000mAh battery you can reasonably expect to charge most phones between two and three times.
Dodocool Fast Wireless Charger
These days more and more phones, smartwatches and wireless earbuds support wireless charging, and being able to simply throw down a gadget on a pad for it to charge is so much more convenient than having to find and then fiddle around with cables.
The down side of wireless charging is it can be slow, but this £13.99 Dodocool wireless charger is one of the faster models out there with a 10W output. It’s also really affordable, making this an ideal stocking filler for a child who has some compatible Qi wireless charging tech.
Every year we run into the same question from parents looking to buy the ultimate Christmas gift for their child: a laptop. But not just any laptop, a gaming laptop that costs less than £250.
So, time for a reality check: there are plenty of laptop deals to be found that will enable you to buy a laptop for your child for around £250. There are even some options below £200, such as the £189 HP Stream 11, while Chromebooks present particularly good value if you’re not fussed over getting a Windows or macOS operating system.
But while integrated graphics chips are getting more powerful all the time, to play the most intensive games your child is really going to want a dedicated graphics card and a powerful processor, and that you are not going to find at £250. You might actually find better value from a budget gaming desktop PC.
One of the best budget laptops you’ll find is the HP 250 G7. It has a 15.6in screen, an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, but it’s £399.99 and though it should cope with some gaming, including Fortnite, it’s still going to be no match for a proper gaming laptop.
If you’re just looking for a decent but affordable laptop for doing homework, writing emails, browsing the web and watching video, we also like the £249.98 Lenovo IdeaPad 320-14AST, a 14in laptop with an AMD A6 chip, 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive.
Expect to see plenty more laptop deals around for Black Friday. You can also view more options in our guide to the best budget laptops.
This 23.6in LCD TV from JVC is a good size and price for a child’s bedroom, currently retailing at £180 at Currys.
It’s a smart TV offering access to mainstream apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube, as well as Freeview HD and Freeview Play. There’s even a built-in DVD drive for playing your children’s favourite movies, plus two HDMI ports for consoles and other devices.
Expect reasonable audio with support for DTS TruSurround and DTS HD.
The colour scheme might not sit with all kids, but we also found this Rose Gold option from Sharp with much the same specs at the cheaper price of £169.
The best budget media streamer you can buy, Roku Express is cheaper than the Fire TV Stick and more user-friendly than Chromecast. Offering access to all the main free and paid catch-up and on-demand streaming services, it’s an ideal gift for an older child who is picky about what they watch.
A free mobile app adds voice- and remote control, but the diminutive Roku Express will sit unobtrusively below a TV where it will happily operate with the bundled infra-red remote control. Small and light, it’s difficult to believe such a tiny box can make such a huge difference to your entertainment experience.
You can pick up the new Roku Express for just £29.99 from Amazon.
Read our full Roku Express (2019) review
Creative Outlier Air
We predict wireless earbuds are going to be one of the most gifted consumer tech products this year – popularised by the Apple AirPods, but not everyone has an iPhone or wants to pay out £159 for a gift that could quite easily get lost. These Creative Outlier Air buds are half the price, and you will not find a better-sounding pair of true wireless earbuds at this price, especially if you like bass.
The buds have an offset design: their tips fit into your ear canal, and you rotate the body slightly backward until it fits snugly into position in your outer ear. The shallow silicone tips are designed to fit all ears, and surprisingly they do seem to.
Each bud has a button and an LED ring which tells you its status. A single, short press plays or pauses the current song or video, and a double-press goes to the next or previous track, depending upon which bud you press (right is forward, left is back). You can also control volume, and each bud has its own mic, with both used for phone calls.
Fully charged the buds last 10 hours, and the charging case adds two full charges taking that figure up to 30 hours.
Puro Sound Labs JuniorJams
A pair of headphones is the gift that keeps on giving – to you, since you no longer need to listen to yet another Minecraft walkthrough on YouTube.
But kids’ ears are sensitive, and an adult pair of cans is neither going to fit comfortably nor build in proper safeguards that will avoid life-long damage to their hearing.
We like the JuniorJams from Puro Sound Labs, one of several recommended in our separate guide to the best kids’ headphones. These good-looking wireless on-ear headphones are lightweight and foldable. They feature volume limiting (to the standard 85dB), and sound quality is excellent – possibly the best we’ve heard on a kids product.
A cable is included so you can connect two headsets and then share via Bluetooth to a single phone or other music-giving devices. You can also use it to connect them to a phone when the battery runs dry (it should be good for 22 hours).
The JuniorJams are available at £54.99 in pink or blue from Amazon.
The JuniorJams we list above are kids’ headphones that look and feel good, but they might be priced a little higher than you’d like, or perhaps your child would prefer something linked to their favourite toy brand or superhero.
Argos stocks a range of children’s wired on-ear headphones from £14.99. Each features cushioned earpieces and 40mm drivers, connecting to a phone or tablet using a standard 3.5mm audio jack.
Even with the comfiest ear cushioning and the most ergonomic and easily adjustable headbands, some kids just won’t get on with proper headphones, while earbuds are likely to fall out.
We love these cute audio headbands from Argos, which cost just £14.99. They are lightweight at 50g, and feature a soft fleece band for the ultimate in comfort. A Velcro strip lets you size them perfectly for your child’s head, and they can accommodate from 38cm-58cm.
These are wired headphones, so will still need to be connected to your child’s tablet or phone via a 3.5mm audio jack. A 1.4m cord is supplied.
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock
You don’t need us to tell you kids love music, and sometimes it’s okay to let them blast it out for the whole house to hear rather than slapping on a pair of headphones. Bluetooth speakers used to go down a treat, allowing them to stream YouTube or Spotify music from their phones and tablets, but these days it’s becoming increasingly difficult to recommend budget models when we are faced with some excellent-value smart speakers.
With built-in voice assistants you can use your voice to demand that they tell you the latest news, check the weather, control your smart home kit and more. One of their most important abilities is streaming music, and they can do that over age-old Bluetooth or by utilising their web connection to stream online radio and all your favourite tunes from various subscription (paid and free) services.
New for the 2019 holiday season is the £59.99 Echo Dot with Clock (reviewed), which is in essence an Echo Dot 3 (reviewed) with a display that can show the time, the outside temperature, and a countdown timer. If you’re looking for something to stick in their bedroom, this is going to double up as a bedside alarm clock. It offers surprisingly good audio, too.
Echo Dot with Clock comes at a £10 premium over the standard Echo Dot, but if you don’t need the clock by all means save yourself that tenner. At this time of year, however, do not buy unless it’s discounted. We’ve seen Echo Dot go as low as £24.99. Check out our best Echo deals before you buy.
Google Nest Mini
This latest version has a few design tweaks including a new wall mount, and it is more responsive and able to play louder, clearer audio than ever before. In many ways it’s pretty much the same thing as the Echo Dot, but there is one important difference: rather than Alexa it uses the Google Assistant voice assistant.
Realistically, which model you choose is going to depend on what other devices you already own, particularly when it comes to smart home kit, and whether you are a Google household or an Amazon household. But in our humble opinion the Google Assistant wins this battle, largely because it is able to converse in natural language. It has a few other tricks up its sleeve, too, such as the ability to call anyone in your Google Contacts for free.
Expect Google to match Amazon’s pricing over the Black Friday and Christmas buying period, so despite the fact it’s already affordable at £49 it’s almost certainly worth holding out for a discount.
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple is still one of the coolest tech companies in the world in the eyes of most teenagers. If they have an iPhone, an Apple Watch would make like the best present ever. Except, as with all Apple stuff, the new Watch Series 5 is kind of expensive, starting at £399/$399.
What you might not be aware of is that when Apple announced the new Apple Watch in September 2019, it kept on sale the older Apple Watch Series 3 (reviewed) at a discounted price of £199/$199. (That’s for the 38mm version; the 42mm version starts at £229/$229.)
By buying the older model you miss out on some of the more recent developments in the line – the faster processor, a 30% larger always-on display, a more sophisticated heart-rate sensor and fall detection, a compass and some extra internal storage. But the Series 3 remains a great smartwatch, and a gift your child will love.
Fitbit Ace 2
Older kids are going to prefer something like the £89 Fitbit Inspire HR, which sits at the top of our best Fitbits chart, or the excellent-value Xiaomi Mi Band 4 (£36.99), but for youngsters the Ace 2 is the one to choose.
Currently retailing at £69.99, the Ace 2 (reviewed) is a waterproof fitness tracker aimed at kids aged 6 and above. With accounts previously accessible only by those aged 13 and above, with Ace 2 Fitbit has opened up a whole new world of activity tracking for children, who are most likely going to want to use it because it feels like a grown-up thing to do.
For its younger audience Fitbit has made some tweaks, stripping out the calorie counting and adding in different modes for kids and parents. Through the Kid View, kids can see only their stats data, badges and clock face options, plus are able to connect with parent-approved friends.
Be sure to check out the best Fitbit deals before you buy.
Garmin Vivofit Jnr 2
Though Fitbit is by far the best-known maker of activity bands, we can’t help having our heads turned by Garmin’s second-gen Vivofit Junior trackers, which come in a range of designs that kids will love.
A little bit more expensive than the Ace 2 at £79.99, Garmin’s range caters to fans of Disney Princess, Frozen, Marvel’s Avengers, Star Wars and even Minnie Mouse.
For kids the lack of a rechargeable battery is actually a good thing, and these swim-proof bands are said to last up to a year before the battery needs replacing.
The Vivofit Jnr 2 tracks steps, sleep and daily activity, motivating kids by offering to unlock app adventures and games. Parents can also access chore management and reward tools.
What do you get the kid who just will not get out of their pit in the mornings?
For adults there is this £188.79 Pavlok 2 wristband, which does a great job of refining your early morning routine through electric-shock behavioural training. It’s also useful for helping to break bad habits such as smoking. But children are much more delicate little things, and the Pavlok is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 – at least not without a doctor’s advice.
Something much less painful and also age-appropriate is Clocky (£35.99), the runaway alarm clock. It’s all too easy to lean out of bed, hit snooze, then roll over and go back to sleep. That’s not so easy when you have to jump out of bed and chase the alarm clock around the room.
Clocky will actively hide from you, roll around the room, jump up to 3ft and beep itself silly until you catch it. Your only peace will come from getting out of bed, or when the four AAA batteries run out.
Oaxis MyFirst Drone
It might be aimed at 6-year-olds and above, but this MyFirst Drone from Oaxis is the kind of toy we can all get behind: it takes no skill to fly, and it’s pretty much impossible to break, though it’s one probably best kept indoors if you don’t want to lose it.
In essence, you charge up the internal battery over Micro-USB, turn it on and then throw it up into the air. There’s no complicated remote control to get your head around, you just use hand gestures to point it in the right direction. It has anti-crash sensors and a protective cage, so should it fall out the sky it will remain in one piece.
While we’ve had loads of fun with this kids’ toy, we admit it might be a bit young for some of those we are targeting with this round-up. The Science Museum sells a similar motion-controlled drone (£40) for slightly older kids, and we’ve rounded up a bunch of cheap drones in this separate guide.
For older kids (14+) there’s this cool set of Battle Drones (£50) – but be warned, these will break more easily.
Supplied by the Science Museum, the box contains a pair of mini drones that will last around 5-6 minutes in flight. With six-axis gyroscopes they can do tricks such as 360-degree flips, and they feature built-in sound effects.
But the whole point is to battle, so pick your opponent and take aim. Four fire blasts and you win.
The drones themselves feature rechargeable batteries but the two controllers require four AA batteries.
Nerf Fortnite RL Blaster
Tying together two things kids love – Nerf guns and Fortnite – this rocket blaster looks like an awful lot of fun for mummies and daddies as well as the kids.
Inspired by the game, this rocket launcher blasts foam rockets, two of which are supplied in the box. These are made from foam with flexible tips, so the fun shouldn’t have to end with tears.
Lenovo Star Wars Jedi Challenges AR Bundle
A huge discount on Lenovo’s Star Wars Jedi Challenges AR bundle at eBuyer makes this a bargain gift for Star Wars-mad kids. Originally retailing at around £250, two years on it’s down to £29.97 and still just as cool.
In essence, you don a VR headset and wield a Light saber, then work your way through various challenges that are overlaid on your view of the world.
We played a short demo back at IFA 2017 (check out our hands-on), and our first impressions were good. Lenovo’s Mirage AR headset is comfortable and the Light saber feels great.
Your phone sits in a compartment in the headset, connected via a cable, and once hooked up it does all the work to provide the projection.
We’ve rounded up more Star Wars toys.
Oaxis MyFirst Camera 2
Digital cameras used to be a go-to gift for kids, but these days they all use their phones. That is unless they are too young to own a phone.
The MyFirst Camera from Oaxis is perfect for kids aged 4 and above. It’s quite a bit smaller than other kids’ cameras, which means it will fit easily into a pocket, and yet the buttons remain easy to press. The menu is simple to navigate, and to take a photo all they need do is turn it on, point and shoot.
We love the Lego-effect blocky design, and especially appreciate the included waterproof housing – even if they aren’t getting it wet the chances are it will get covered in whatever else their sticky little fingers get hold of.
Also in the box is a lanyard and an SD card reader for getting the photos off the digital camera and on to a laptop where you can treasure forever pictures of your knee, the floor, and 10 million selfies zoomed right into their eye. There are some stickers too, because kids love stickers.
The camera itself is fairly basic, with a 2in LCD screen and an 1,100mAh battery. The lens is 8Mp, supporting stills at 3264×2448 pixels and full-HD video at 30fps.
Currently difficult to find in the UK, Argos stocks the MyFirst Camera at the inflated price of £60. Interestingly, though, we’ve also found it on Amazon branded as the Kriogor Kids Digital Camera, listed at £33.99 with a range of colour options and good availability.
VTech Kidizoom Action Cam HD
The other time kids might need a camera is of course when they are participating in extreme sports. You know, climbing trees, jumping in puddles and so forth.
GoPro is easily the best known action camera maker, but many of its products might be a little too expensive for your budget (the Hero 7 is one of the cheaper options). And depending on your child’s age they could also be overly complicated to use.
For younger kids we like the Kidizoom Action Cam from VTech. Currently reduced to £37.99 at Smyths, it’s perfect for little adventurers aged 5 and above.
In the box you’ll find various accessories, such as a waterproof case and various mounts, but you will need to supply your own microSD card for storage.
Able to capture high-definition photos and video, kids can add a range of visual effects, enjoy three included games, and mess about with various shooting modes: stop motion, slow motion, fast motion and reverse video.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
The most affordable instant camera on the market, the £69 Instax Mini 9 from Fujifilm lets you print out the photos you love from the camera itself – very much like the old Polaroid cameras that were around when we were kids.
It’s very user-friendly, making it a good option for photography beginners and kids. Its design is chunky and retro, available in a range of colours.
The Mini 9 takes Instax Mini film, but shooting capabilities are limited. It relies on bright daylight, and doesn’t have any zoom capabilities, nor the option to turn off the flash. The camera does, however, come with some manual lenses that you can attach for things such as close-up shots.
We’ve reviewed the Instax Mini 9 in full.
They’re better than instant cameras in that you can print photos taken on a better-quality camera, or the one you have to hand all the time (your smartphone).
For prints the Sprocket uses ZINK (Zero Ink) paper, 2x3in in size and sticky-backed for easier application wherever your heart desires. A pack of 10 is provided in the box, and thereafter it costs roughly £10 per pack via Amazon, though you can save money per print by buying bigger packs.
The Sprocket couldn’t be easier to set up and use, pairing with your smartphone over Bluetooth 5.0. There’s a free mobile app that hooks up to Instagram, Facebook, Google Photos and your smartphone gallery, though you can also send snaps stored elsewhere to the app using the Share menu.
With an image open in the Sprocket app, you can use pinch and pull gestures to rotate or zoom in closer on particular parts of the image. You can also tap the pencil icon at the top right of the screen to access editing options such as brightness and contrast adjustments, filters, borders, stickers and freeform text or doodles.
Frozen 2 & Spider-Man Electric Scooters
Halfords has begun selling a couple of models that are just right, priced at £129. They have smaller 80W motors and can reach speeds of only 8km/hour, but it’s still faster than walking. Operation is super-simple with a twist-and-go accelerator, a rear footbrake and handbrake.
We probably don’t need to attempt to put into words just how much fun these things are, but they can also be dangerous: please ensure your child wears a helmet.
You should also know that electric scooters are not legal for use on the roads in the UK, so you must keep these to private land.
Tech Will Save Us Electric Dough Fantasy Kit
Fun and educational, this Electric Dough Fantasy Kit from Tech Will Save us is an ideal gift for kids aged 4-6, teaching them about electrical circuit building and creativity through play and tactile technology.
What’s not to love about making cute creatures out of dough, especially when they light up? The kit includes a selection of pop-out card designs, dough colours and circuit tools.
The Orboot is an educational toy for kids that combines a physical globe with an augmented reality app for Android and iOS that can take them on an adventure around the world.
With more than 1,000 fun facts to learn the Orboot can stimulate their curiosity about the wider world, focusing on cultures, cuisines, monuments, inventions, animals and maps.
Oaxis MyFirst 3D Pen
Help your kids bring their drawings to life with a 3D pen. These work by heating up and then extruding through a nozzle coloured plastic that can be shaped in any way you like, allowing for hours of fun.
Drawing with 3D pens can be tricky to get the hang of, and when you’re dealing with hot plastic and components you want to ensure your kids are safe, so 3D pens tend to be targeted at different age groups.
These USB-rechargeable devices are chunky enough for little hands to clutch on to, and there are no accessible hot parts. One-button operation simplifies use, so the only hand-holding they’ll need is in clean-up – but even that should be simple thanks to the non-adhesive filament that can be easily lifted from hard surfaces. (6m of filament is included in the box.)
3Doodler is another well-known vendor of 3D pens, with a couple of models in particular that are worth a look (we’ve reviewed them here). The Start is aimed at kids between 6 and 13 years old, and it costs around £49.99 from Amazon, Smyths and Very. The Create+ is a more grown-up version best suited to kids 14 or older that costs £79.99 from Amazon.
Light Painting Crayon
Used in conjunction with a free smartphone app, this Light Painting Crayon from the Science Museum lets you create awe-inspiring light paintings.
Six interchangeable colour nibs and the necessary batteries are supplied in the box.
It’s a steal at Argos for just £15.
We expect you’re familiar with the concept of Pictionary: players work in teams whereby one person draws an item as instructed by a card and the others have to guess what it is; the team with the most points wins.
Aside from the fact most people are not as artistic as they think, which can lead to some hilarious outcomes, the problem with Pictionary is you have to draw on a little pad that is not only difficult to see if there are several people playing but also wastes paper.
Pictionary Air is the tech-inspired workaround, allowing you to draw your creation in thin air and it displays on a smart device such as a TV, tablet or phone. Moreover you can record these drawings, allowing you to relive that time Little Johnny drew a potato and you all thought it was something more sinister.
smART Sketcher Projector
Feed kids’ creativity with this Sketcher Projector. For children aged 5 and above this neat gadget is able to project an image on to a piece of paper on a desk that they can trace and then colour in.
You can upload your own images or make use of the preloaded designs, which means they can draw everything from their favourite characters to friends, family and pets.
There is also more than 50 smART activities with interactive sounds and special effects.
Similar to the Sketcher Projector above, the Pixelator helps your children create masterpieces based on any image they like, but here using pixel beads rather than hand-drawn.
As always with these sort of products, the fun lasts only as long as the beads, especially if you’re using some colours more than others. smART Pixelator comes with 1,300 beads; a 4,000-bead refill pack costs £22.64 but you’ll find pixel beads cheaper if you shop around online.
Tech Will Save Us Arcade Coder
Another cool but also educational product from Tech Will Save Us, the Arcade Coder promises to change family game night forever.
Aimed primarily at kids over the age of 6, the Arcade Coder is a games console that plays on their creativity and basic coding skills by enabling them to invent and then code games for up to four players. Games can be created from scratch, or they can ‘reinvent’ old favourites.
Brand-new for Christmas 2019 it’s currently up for pre-order, shipping on 25 November.
This is one of the smartest robots we’ve met. It’s tiny, but offers an impressive number of intelligent features including the ability to recognise faces, play games and learn. Cozmo comes with three LED cubes that he can interact with as you play, too.
The most endearing thing about Cozmo is that it really feels like he has a personality. Kids are going to love him – or his older brother, Vector, which comes packed with extra smart features, like a cuter version of Siri or Alexa.
For more awesome robots for kids (and big kids too), visit our round-up of the best robots here.
Funko Pop! Dolls
These pop-culture and gaming-inspired vinyl figures are the 21st century’s answer to Barbie and Action Man. Our little darlings are more interested in adding to their Pop! collection than they are in saving Jem from their older brother’s Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Available in a range of series, you’ll find everything from superhero and Disney to gaming characters. The most recent is the Star Wars Episode 9 collection, to coincide with the upcoming movie, available from GAME from £12.99.
Deeno-Saur Electric Toothbrush
Of all the products we wrote about during last year’s holiday buying season, electric toothbrushes were arguably among the most popular (quite possibly because there are some great deals to be had). The kids want to get in on that action too, and for us adults anything that is going to help convince them to actually brush their teeth is a win-win.
With soft bristles it won’t be too harsh on their teeth, and the head is wrapped in silicone protection to guard their teeth and gums. It uses sonic brushing technology and an intuitive bristle pattern to get into all the hard-to-reach areas, and there’s a tongue cleaner on the rear.
A timer makes sure they keep brushing for two minutes, and when connected to a companion app (iOS and Android) they will earn Deeno coins as a reward. In the box you’ll find two heads, some stickers for customising Deeno, a tiny egg that hatches into a dinosaur, and three AAA batteries.
But Deeno-Saur is just one of many electric toothbrushes aimed at kids, and with the upcoming release of Frozen 2 we think this £17.49 Elsa toothbrush from Oral-B will also go down well.
For older kids Oral-B also makes the £29.99 Junior Kids Electric Toothbrush, aimed at those aged 6-12.
Of all the games consoles out there, the three big ones are PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Younger kids are probably going to be best off with a Switch, older kids will want all three, and no-one will ever agree on which is the best – though we do recommend you check out the brand-new £199 Nintendo Switch Lite (reviewed).
Before buying any games console, look for deals. There are loads around over Black Friday and Christmas. Most will involve bundles with various games, so it will help if you know what sort of games a child is into.
We’ve done the hard work for you:
Turtle Beach Recon 70
If your child is playing games online with their friends, they are going to need a headset – but where on earth do you start?
We like the Turtle Beach Recon 70P. It’s PlayStation colours, but it’s a wired headset (with a 1m cable) so will work on all platforms. It has an adjustable headband, and swivelling ear cups to help find a comfortable fit.
Turtle Beach has placed a flip-mic and volume controls on one of the earcups rather than using an in-line control, making it easy to adjust volume and mute your mic in the heat of battle.
Like other budget headsets on the market, the Recon 70 sports 40mm drivers opposed to larger 50mm drivers favoured by premium headsets, but despite the size reduction, the quality of the headphones is still great, providing booming bass during Earth-shattering explosions and crisp vocals during those heart-wrenching emotional gaming moments.
Essentially, the Recon 70 is a no-thrills headset that’ll get the job done, with surprising sound clarity for a headset for this price. We’ve got some more budget options here.
X Rocker Video Rocker Gaming Chair
A chair might not be a particularly exciting gift for a child, but a gaming chair is a completely different kettle of fish. They can be incredibly expensive (as you’ll discover in our round-up of some of the best), but they can also be very affordable. Either way, your kid is going to love it.
There’s really only one question you need to ask yourself: legs or no legs?
With legs you’ll typically pay more, but remember that there is a bunch of gaming-inspired chairs available at outlets such as Amazon for around £50 – you don’t have to go for the biggest brand names. We like this Langria model that costs £50.99.
Trust GTX 830-RW Light-Up Keyboard
Okay so it’s definitely true that it’s possible to spend a ton of cash on keyboards aimed at gamers, and there is a lot to be said for some of the more premium models and how much they can enhance your gameplay. But, at a certain age, it’s also true that all a child wants is for their keyboard to light up in funky colours. You’re welcome.
This Trust GTX 830-RW might seem like a substantial present, especially wrapped up under the tree, but in fact it’s available at a tiny £23.46 at Amazon.
It’s a full-size model, and supports rainbow wave illumination with adjustable brightness. For gamers there’s anti-ghosting, and you can disable the Windows button to stop accidental presses meaning the Start menu will pop up at exactly the wrong time.
It’s a wired keyboard, so setup couldn’t be easier: you just plug and play, with no worries about what happens when the batteries run out.
For some more premium options see our guide to the best gaming keyboards.
VersionTech Light Up Gaming Mouse
Fortunately, everything we just said about keyboards above also applies to mice, and we’ve seen 10-year-olds seriously lose their, ah, bananas, over this £12.99 mouse (currently reduced to £7.99) from VersionTech. Why? Because it lights up in seven different colours. Seriously.
It’s a pretty basic optical mouse in other respects, although almost certainly a little less basic than the generic mouse that was sold with their desktop, and an improvement over many laptop trackpads.
There’s an ergonomic design with a rubber scroll wheel, and it’s wired so you simply plug it into a USB port and you’re away. A dpi button on top lets you switch between 800, 1200, 1600 and 2400dpi resolution, and there are two side buttons. Simple, but they’ll love it.
Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition 2020
Children have an incredible ability to remember the most random of facts. Guinness World Records have always been a firm favourite for kids, but even more so when it’s focused on their favourite subject.
There’s a 14-page Fortnite special inside the 2020 edition of the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition – the 13th in the series – but all your children’s favourite games and characters are covered, from Mario and Luigi to Pikachu, Sonic, Minecraft and Spider-Man.
Only £4.99 at Amazon, this is a no-brainer for a stocking filler.
Games Gift Cards & Subscriptions
You might think kids who are into gaming are easy to buy for, but do you know which games they like to play, which games they already own and what other people are intending to gift them? It can be a real minefield.
Why not save yourself the hassle and let them choose. A subscription to the exclusive membership service or a gift card for their preferred game store would go down a treat. Here are some options:
Kids always seem so desperate to grow up, and one of the things they can’t have until they get older is a debit- or credit card. GoHenry is an alternative option for children aged 6-18, a prepaid credit card that lets them stick it on the plastic rather than carrying (and quite possibly losing) cash.
It’s more than just a card for kids, however. GoHenry is the digital equivalent of pocket money, allowing you to award bonuses for chores and impose weekly spending limits, without fear of them spending whatever money you don’t have.
GoHenry can help kids learn about money before they are old enough to get themselves into debt, and through the companion app you can control where and how much they are spending.
Cards are personalised, too, so rather than GoHenry your kid can get their own GoAlex or GoLucy card, for example.
It’s not free, with a £2.99 monthly charge that allows you to make one payment on to the card per month. Additional payments carry a 50p sub-charge.
Movie Streaming & Cinema Subscriptions
Give them the gift of great movies – with minimal wrapping.
While it’s still cool to gift DVDs and Blu-rays for the films kids really love, increasingly we’re living in a streaming world. Rather than a physical gift, buy them a subscription to a movie-streaming platform, or a gift card for their local cinema.
NowTV’s range of gift cards offer better value than a normal subscription, with a two-month Entertainment bundle costing £10, and two months of Cinema for £15. It also sells Sky Sports passes – a week for £10 or a month for £25. They can apply them on their phone, tablet, laptop or smart TV, or you can buy a NowTV Stick (£19.99) or NowTV Smart Box (£49.99) that plugs into a TV comes with a subscription.
Don’t forget your local cinemas, because kids still like to occasionally leave the house and hang out with friends. While Unlimited annual passes for Cineworld and Odeon can be expensive, you can find much cheaper gift cards (you choose how much) at both Cineworld and Vue.
Kids learn an incredible amount through having so much free-to-play and streaming video at their fingertips, but it’s important that they keep reading in order to get a good grasp of spelling, grammar and the written language.
If you really can’t drag them away from their gadgets, consider a Readly subscription, which puts a whole world of digital magazines in their hands – they can read as much as they like. Not all titles are going to be age-appropriate, but with 4,525 available (including our own), they are sure to find something of interest.
You can get a Readly gift card direct from the site, with options for one-month (£7.99), three-month (£23.97), six-month (£47.94), nine-month (£71.91) and annual (£95.88) packages.
Wizarding World Gold Subscription
An ideal gift for Harry Potter fans, the Wizarding World Gold subscription is now available to pre-order ahead of its imminent release this autumn. It is an annual subscription that costs £59.99/US$74.99.
A welcome gift includes a personalised Keys and Curios journal that contains “interactive secrets and surprises”, unlocked via the new Wizarding World app and updated monthly, plus a postcard print of J K Rowling’s original Hogwarts sketch and a collectable pin badge.
Subscribers will also gain access to the new Wizarding World Originals video series, e-book versions of all seven Harry Potter books, exclusive discounts at official stores, priority booking for Wizarding World events, early access to new merchandise, the ability to claim more collectable pin badges, and other perks such as quizzes, puzzles and competitions.
Spotify Premium Subscription
If not movies nor magazines, how about music? Spotify Premium promises ad-free, high-quality audio with unlimited skips across all their devices.
To buy a Spotify gift subscription you need to go through PayPal, and can order a one-month (£10), three-month (£30) or six-month (£60) subscription.