Whether you’re looking for a clever (and of the moment) birthday gift or a spring break surprise to kick off the week vacation from school, the following gadgets for kids are one of a kind when it comes to surprising and delighting your smalls.
It’s the ideal present for aspiring gardeners: Herbie ($59) is designed to equip your kids with an indoor gardening adventure that lasts for 12 weeks (aka the perfect amount of time to get them ready for outdoor gardening adventures come spring and summer). Over the course of three months, your kids will grow their own herbs—oregano and Genovese basil—and learn everything they need to know about seeding, planting, pruning, harvesting and more. Instead of taking over your countertop (dirt everywhere! water spills!), Herbie plants grow hydroponically with help from an 8W LED grow light so there’s no soil and no mess: Parent approved. When the plants reach peak growth, a 32-page activity book that comes included will help your kids throw their own pizza party using the herbs they grew themselves.
On it’s way from Fitbit, the Ace ($99) ships in late May, and promises to be a fitness and activity tracker designed with kids in mind. Completely waterproof (so kids can shower or swim with them), the durable wristband tracks steps, active minutes and sleep, and will send badges and happy notifications when kids meet their goals or reach milestones. A multi-day battery life keeps up with your kid, day and night, and bands are comfortable and kid-sized. An app allows for parents to check in and make sure kids are staying active.
Your kids know the drill. They’re supposed to brush their teeth for at least two minutes for maximum effectiveness. Still, 120 seconds can be hard to keep track of in the rush of the morning—or the night. Benjamin Brush ($80) is the first-ever electric toothbrush with an integrated music store so your kids can time their oral hygiene session by cueing up Beethoven (or Bieber) while they clean their teeth. In fact, the tunes (which cost 99 cents each) will play for exactly two minutes, vibrating every 30 seconds to remind your children to move on to a different part of their mouth. There’s more: The toothbrush has two different silicone brush heads designed for different mouth sizes, but also to prevent over-brushing and better protect tooth enamel. There’s even an app—called BleepBleeps!—that turns oral hygiene into a game by recording when and how long your kids brush your teeth for and rewarding them with points so they can compete with other family members for best tooth brusher in the household. Fun!
Just because your kid wants to listen to music doesn’t mean you have to hand over your iPhone. Jooki is a nostalgia-driven (and jukebox-like) wireless speaker works with or without WiFi to stream music or audio book playlists created by you for your kids. But here’s the cute part: Each playlist is linked to a molded character—think a fox or a whale—that your kids can pop on top of the speaker to cue up the tunes they’d like to hear. For example, say the whale is pre-loaded with lullabies; the fox has more lively tunes for when your kids need an energy boost (or an impromptu dance party). You—the parent—are in total control of what your kids are listening to, the volume they hear it at and more. Still, my favorite part is the fact that Jooki provides a screen-free experience that’s still modern and digitally driven, not to mention totally cool.