Parents@Play Holiday Gift Guide, Number 3

Still haven’t found the perfect gift for the little ones in your life? Check out some of these hot new toys before they get snapped up.

kurio smart tabletKurio Smart Tablet (KD Interactive)
Looking to help your youngster get ahead in school? The Kurio Smart Tablet might be just the ticket. It’s the first 2-in1 Windows device designed for kids. The 2-in-1 part means that your child can use Kurio as a computer or detach the keyboard and use it as a tablet. Comes with 32 GB of storage, Microsoft Office, a bunch of games and other useful software, and parental controls to keep your kids safe. Prices vary. Learn more at http://www.kurioworld.com/

happy dance snoopyHappy Dance Snoopy (Just Play)
With the new Peanuts movie still in theaters, Peanuts Happy Dance Snoopy is adorable and timely. Parents who grew up with Charlie Brown and the gang will fall in love again, and the newest generation will join them. Snoopy dances to the Peanuts theme song (aka “Linus and Lucy”) when you squeeze his paw. And because you won’t be able to resist, the loveable hound respond to kisses, (although he’s unpredictable—sometimes you’ll get a kiss, other times a laugh, howl, burp, or something else). Oh, come on—he’s a dog. Under $30 at Target, Amazon, and others. http://justplayproducts.com/

qixelsQixels (Moose Toys)
Boys have been largely left out of the bead-and-water craze of the past few years. But thanks to Qixels, that’s all in the past. Kids can either follow a predetermined pattern or use their imagination to create works of art using tiny cubes. Once all the pieces are in place, spray them with water and they fuse together into 8-bit looking creations reminiscent of Minecraft. Make monsters, ninjas, zombies, or anything your heart desires. Ages 6 and up (younger is okay, but because of the tiny pieces, adult supervision is required). Under $20 at Toys R Us and others. http://moosetoys.com/

cleverkeetLittle Live Pets CleverKeet (Moose Toys)
Kids are loving the tech pets craze right now, and CleverKeet is one of the cutest. This sweetie just flew into the Little Live Pets pet shop and would love to be adopted by your family this holiday season. Name your CleverKeet, and he or she will remember it. Just like a real bird, he likes to dance in front of the mirror and sing. He also knows all sorts of words and will answer your questions (often in silly ways). CleverKeet comes with one bird, a playground (he loves to swing!), one cart, an instruction booklet, and an adoption certificate. $59.99. http://moosetoys.com/

meccanoidMeccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot (SpinMaster)
Before you start unboxing Meccanoid, make sure you block out a big chunk of time. You and the kids will have so much fun putting together this 4-foot tall wisecracking robot that you won’t want to stop. He comes with voice recognition capabilities and more than 1,000 pre-programmed phrases, means he can respond to what you say. He’s also easy to program, thanks to his Meccabrain and an on-screen ragdoll avatar. You may want to send the kids to bed a little early so you can have him all to yourself. Under $400. http://www.spinmaster.com/

world village playset chinaWorld Village Playset—China (Whole Wide World Toys)
In an era when just about everything beeps and/or is made of plastic, the Whole World Playset is a joy from the moment you open the box. The 13 wooden puzzle pieces move smoothly across a soft, fabric playmat and take children on a trip to China, where they learn about culture and pick up a few bits of vocabulary along the way. There’s a 32-page story about China narrated by a brother-sister duo who are traveling through the country. There are also more than a dozen cards that encourage kids to make up their own stories. Ages 4+. $59.99 at http://wholewideworldtoys.com/

Take a Tablet and Call Me in the Morning

Given that full-featured tablets like the iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, Samsung Galaxy, Microsoft Surface, Google Nexus, LG G Pad, Sony Xperia, and others aren’t cheap, it’s no big surprise that a lot of parents are somewhat reluctant to turn one over to a child.  We worry—understandably so—that the cute little kid in the backseat […]