17 Terrific Tech Gifts

17 Terrific Tech Gifts

With Black Friday coming up very soon, the rush begins to get our loved ones the perfect Xmas or Holiday gift. At The iMums we love seeing all the great new technology that is being created, and seeing how the connected home is evolving year upon year.  We have been busy creating all our Holiday Gift Guides to showcase some of our favorite products and help you choose the perfect gift for your loved ones. Here are 17 of our favorite Tech products for the adults on your gift list, be sure to also check out our kids gift guide, our gifts for health and wellness, our gifts for parents and our gifts under $30.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

[metaslider id=73985]

Orbi- Whole House Wi-Fi

rbk50_lifestyle_livingroom_00820_medresThe single most important thing to keep all our connected home, computing and entertainment technology working well is a strong internet signal. With all the connected devices a typical household has competing for bandwidth, it is important to have a great router to optimize your Wi-Fi signal. The Orbi Home Wi-Fi system is designed to meet high demands for Wi-Fi connectivity, and comes with a base unit and a satellite. It is a mesh Wi-Fi system with a difference- the world’s first Tri-Band Wi-Fi system that has one channel dedicated entirely to connecting the router base unit and the satellite. What this means in practical terms it is delivers fast internet speeds without dead spots over a 4,000 square foot area. It is also incredibly easy to set up. As you move around your home your devices automatically switch to whichever unit is giving you the best signal, and the dedicated channel makes sure the Wi-Fi from the satellite is as strong as from the router. The Orbi router and satellite create a single high speed network where your devices can move between bands and to different parts of the home without ever having to reconnect. I love how the Orbi has eliminated Wi-Fi dead spots from my home, even in hard to reach areas where the signal has to go through interior and exterior walls. Available from Amazon,  Best Buy and other retailers  RRP US$399

 

SingleCue Gen 2

singlecue2

Until recently the idea you could control your home entertainment with the hand movement was the stuff of science fiction but with SingleCue it is a reality. The newly released 2nd generation Singlecue allows you to control your TV and a whole host of other devices including Media Streamers such as AppleTV, Roku and Hulu; Cable TV boxes, audio systems; soundbars, and even your Nest Thermostat or Phillips Hue lightbulbs.  A full list of compatible devices can be found here, it doesn’t yet work with game consoles or DVD players but the manufacturer is working on adding new devices (Nest was only added this month.) You can set up shortcuts for your favorite combinations such as turning on your TV & Apple TV together and automatically switching the TV to the right output for the AppleTV. You can also mute your TV instantly with a simple ssh gesture.  You don’t need to wear any special ring or have anything in your hand, it is all controlled via simple finger movements picked up from the SingleCue box. SingleCue is a really cool device for your living room and saves hours of hunting under the sofa cushions for lost remotes! Available from Amazon for US$149

 

Sengled Pulse Link

sengledWith TV screens getting bigger and bigger we often find ourselves sitting further from the screen for an optimal viewing experience but that can lead to a less than optimal audio experience. The Sengled Pulse link is a simple solution providing surround sound without the need to wire in new speakers. The Sengled Pulse link starter set combines 2 products- a pair of Sengled Pulse Bulbs and a Pulse Link. The Pulse is an innovative smart bulb which combines a dimmable LED light and a JBL Bluetooth Speaker. The Link is a box that connects to your TV, via included 3.5mm or RCA cables. and allows it to remotely connect with the Pulse bulbs. They work with the Pulse app allowing you to control your lights from the app, listen to your TV through the Pulse JBL speakers and play music via Bluetooth from your phone or tablet. A really simple, flexible way to bring surround sound to your living room and play audio from your TV or audio device to JBL speakers . Available from Amazon for US$179.99

 

Petcube Play

petcubeplay The newly released Petcube Play might just be the ideal gift for the pet lover on your list. This new version of the Petcube is more compact and has an upgraded 1080 HD camera with night vision, 2 way audio and 3x digital zoom. It also features a built-in laser pointer controlled via the Petcube app so you can play with your pets when you are away from home, keeping them active and entertained. Even when your schedule is busy you can still get them playing by using the autoplay mode. The camera can recotrd 24/7 and for an extra fee you can subscribe to Petcube care for 10 or 30 day storage of recording history. Available from  Petcube.comAmazon , Best Buy and major retailers RRP US$199 BLACK FRIDAY SALE $50 OFF! $149

 

Drop Connected Scale

drop1The Drop Connected Scale is the perfect gift for the home baker or chef. The smart scale connects to the Drop Recipes app on your iPad or iPhone. Drop Recipes is an interactive cookbook with hundreds of tested recipes for Cooking, Baking and Cocktails. The Drop Scale weighs your ingredients accurately and can scale a recipe based on how much of an ingredient you have on hand. If you are out of an ingredient I will suggest substitutions, and there is even a community section in the app where users can upload and share their own recipes. Available from Amazon, Target and other retailers from  RRP $99.99 Currently US$78.99 at Amazon

 

Arlo Pro by NETGEAR

animated-arloIf you know someone who wants to keep a secure eye on their home inside or out, but wants the freedom to quickly and easily install cameras with the minimum of fuss the new Arlo Pro system from NETGEAR is a great gift. Like the original Arlo the cameras are totally wireless and mount via magnetic ball and socket style joint- making them a snap to install and move. The new Pro cameras run on rechargeable batteries with a staggering 5 MONTH battery life in normal use! The cameras are weatherproof and  have 2 way audio, night vision, motion detection, 130° camera angle, a smart siren, local backup option plus 7 days free cloud storage. A great gift for use in or outside the home  – for home security, watching a babies room, checking on a pet or elderly relative when you are away from home or a myriad of other uses. Available from  Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers systems from US$249

 

JBL Pulse 2  Portable Speaker + Light Show

jblpulse2The JBL Pulse 2 is a great sounding. splash proof,  portable speaker  with colorful light effects that make it fun to take the music with you where ever you go. It has a battery life of up to 10 hours and you can use it as a standalone speaker, or wirelessly connect multiple speakers via the JBL connect app. The Pulse2 can be used to answer calls and connect to Siri or Google Now. I really enjoy its interactive light show, which is also controlled via the JBL Connect app.  There are 8 different light shows to choose from including fire, rain, fireflies, stars, fireworks, traffic, hourglass and canvas- where you draw the light pattern. You can interact with each of the shows, for instance increasing the size of the flames, or the intensity of the rain or adding shooting stars. Many of the light shows also have accompanying sound effects. If you switch off the music you can listen to the sound of a fire crackling or rain pouring down as the light show mirrors the sounds. You can also change the light color to match a color in your environment by scanning it with the light sensor.  The Pulse2 is a 84mm diameter x 195mm tall (approx 3″ x 7.7″)  and weighs 775gm (approx 1.7lb)  A great gift for the music lover, this speaker sounds great, has a good battery life and some really fun interactive light shows with accompanying sound effects. Available from  JBL.COM, Amazon and other retailers RRP US$199.99 (currently on sale for $119.95)

 

Royole Moon 3D Virtual Mobile Theater

moon_airplane-closeupFor the movie lover or serious gamer the Royole Moon 3D Virtual Mobile Theater is the ultimate gift. With the Royole Moon you can enjoy an immersive 3D cinema or gaming experience anywhere you wish. Two Full HD 1080p AMOLED displays at over 3000 ppi resolution simulate a giant 800” curved screen with stereoscopic 3D, and active noise cancelling headphones complete the experience. Moon’s screen is scalable, allowing full control over the screen size for a personalized viewing experience. It features a patented foldable design, ultra-soft headphone covers, and a premium breathable eye cover to ensure comfort even after long periods of continuous use. It also includes 32GB of internal storage and battery life of up to 5 hours of continuous video playback. Advanced optics allow most eyeglass wearers to enjoy Moon without their corrective lenses. Available www.royole.com and Amazon  MSRP  $799

 

01: The World’s First Dimensioning Instrument

instrumments_01_main_hero_rgb01 from InstruMMents is  billed as the world’s first dimensioning instrument. This makes it a great gift for anyone who wants to easily measure things- crafters, home handymen, and anyone who wants to design or create .01 rolls over straight, curved or contoured objects to intuitively capture, log, and share dimensions. Elegantly carved in aluminum, 01 is contained within a pen, pencil or stylus, and wirelessly connects to smartphones. Although it is currently being launched via Indiegogo it is already fully functioning and due to ship in time for the holidays.  Available from Instrumments.com or Indiegogo from US$159

Custom Made iPad or iPhone case from Dodo Cases

dodo-case-ipadair2_grandeEvery tablet or smartphone deserves a case to protect it. A really personalized gift is to have a case custom created just for your loved one’s iPhone or iPad. Dodo Cases is a San Francisco-based company that uses traditional book binding techniques to create iPad and iPhone cases, and offers a custom case making service. For the iPad cases you can choose from a range of solid or patterned fabrics or 4 colors of leather. You can choose a single or two-tone exterior. For the interior fabric you can choose from a variety of solid colors or patterns or  from a selection of city maps. The maps are a great way to personalize if you choose a city that has particular significance to the recipient. You can add final touches by picking the color of elastic and even have a name or message embossed on the front on gold or black letters. A truly one-of-a-kind gift! Available from DoDoCases.com custom iPhone cases start from $49.99 and custom iPad cases from $79.99.

 

SanDisk iXpand Flash storage for iPhone and iPad

ixpand1A problem most iPhone and iPad users suffer from is lack of storage space- unlike Android phones you can’t just slip in a micro-SD card to increase storage and it costs a lot to buy iOS devices with large amounts of internal storage. The iXpand Flash drive from SanDisk is a simple solution to this problem.  It is a very small, light flash drive that connects via the Lightning port of your iOS device.  It is very easy to transfer content from your iOS device to the drive to create space and you can then use its USB connector to transfer them to your computer. You can also set it up to automatically backup your camera roll whenever it s connected. If you are traveling and want to take a movie with you, you can load it on the drive from your computer and watch it directly on your device without ever downloading it ! It has a flexible connector that allows it to be used with most cases, and is available in 32GB, 64GB and 128 GB versions.  Available from Amazon and other retailers  from US$59.99

 

RazorPlatinum Powerbank from MyCharge

razorplatimunumOne of the cool features about the new MacBooks is that they can now to powered via a USB-C instead of needing a proprietary Mac charger. This opens up more possibilities for charging on the go. The new RazorPlatinum Powerbank from MyCharge has a built-in USB-C port and enough power to recharge a MacBook as well as USB-A port for your other devices. This 13400mAh Lithium Polymer battery has ultra fast charging and recharging. It measures 6.5 in x 4.8 in x 1.1 in and weighs in at under 1lb, making it very small and light for a battery of this capacity. Available from MyCharge.com and Best Buy for US$99.99

 

Amazon Echo

echoOne noticeable trend in the Connected Home market in 2016 is that more and more connected home devices are having Amazon Alexa integration . This means that if you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot you can control them via your voice. The Amazon Echo is a pretty cool device all by itself but with the integration of other connected home devices its uses keep multiplying. The Echo has immersive 360º omni-directional audio with far-field voice recognition so it can hear you from across the room even while music is playing. It plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice, and controls a whole host of connected home devices. Echo also answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and lets you shop on Amazon using the Alexa Voice Service. Available from Amazon  for US$179.99 BLACK FRIDAY SALE $139.99

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo DotIf you already have a speaker system in the room you are using your Echo in, you may prefer to get the more affordable Echo Dot, as it can connect to your existing speakers via a 3.5mm cable. Apart from the large speaker it has all the other features of its bigger brother the Amazon Echo. Like the Echo it has far-field voice recognition and can plays your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more. It also controls a whole host of connected home devices, answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and lets you shop on Amazon using the Alexa Voice Service. It has a small built-in speaker and you can use Echo Dots in multiple rooms to provide Alexa enabled control throughout the home. The Echo Dot is Available from Amazon for US$49.99 BLACK FRIDAY SALE $39.99 and is also available in 3 packs at a $20 savings or six packs where you buy 5 and get one free.

 

SMARTvr Virtual Reality Viewer from Dodo Case

shopify_smartvr-hero_grandeWith the invention of Google Cardboard there is more and more Virtual Reality content becoming available in iTunes and Google Play stores. This is great as it means more people can access Virtual Reality content without needing to buy an expensive VR headset like the Oculus Rift.   SMARTvr is a great way to access the content made available by Google cardboard on your smartphone, but using a more stylish and durable viewer than the original Cardboard. If fits most iOS and Android smartphones and folds to a flat package about the size of an iPhone 5  when not in use. The case is made from cast aluminum and ballistic nylon with a microsuede lens cover & light blocking shield. It is Google Cardboard certified and really simple to use You just unfold it, scan the QR code to link, slip the phone into the clips on the back, fold down the light shield, and you are ready to enjoy your VR apps. It is a great VR viewer- compact, portable, durable, affordable and flexible to fit different size smartphones

Available from DodoCase.com for US$39.99

Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar from Belkin

 

belkin_lightningaudiochargerockstar_1 The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus no longer have an audio jack as they are designed to use Bluetooth headphones. However, not everyone likes Bluetooth headphones, so there are several new headphones on the market that use the iPhone’s Lightning connector as an innovative way around the problem. This does however create a new problem- if your battery starts to run low you can’t charge the phone and continue to use your Lightning headphones at the same time. Belkin has solved this problem with the Lightning Audio Charge Rockstar which doubles your Lightning ports – providing one for listening and one for charging. RRP $39.99  Available from Belkin.com, Apple and other retailers.

VIDBOX Video Conversion Suite

vidbox-video-conversion-suite_3d-front

Do you have a friend or relative who still has lots of home videos lying around on VHS tapes or on camcorder tapes? This could be the perfect gift for them. Tapes deteriorate over time and it becomes harder and harder to find ways to play them, so its important to get them transferred to digital formats or you may lose the content entirely. Instead of taking them in to be professionally copied (which can be cost prohibitive if you have a lot of tapes to transfer) you can convert them at home with VIDBOX Video Conversion Suite. To use VIDBOX you need a VCR or camcorder that can play your tapes, and a Mac or PC. The Video Conversion suite comes with a key to download the software or you can install it via the included CD-Rom. The VIDBOX little white box is the key to connecting your video output device to the computer. You wire it to your VCR/ camcorder via RCA to RCA cables (included) or RCA to S-Cable (not included) and connect it to your computer via the included USB cable. Once it is connected launch the VIDBOX software and follow the on screen instructions. The video will record as a digital file on your computer in real time as it plays on your VCR/ camcorder. Once the recording is finished you can preview it and save to iMovie or iTunes (on Mac). The Video conversion suite includes software for both Mac and PC or you can buy Mac or PC only versions for slightly less. Available from VIDBOX.COM or Amazon RRP Suite $99.99 or PC or Mac only $79.99. Suite currently $69.99 on Amazon


For additional gift ideas check out all our Holiday Gift Guides

This post contains affiliate links, if you click on these The iMums may receive a small commission which helps to pay to run this site. Thank you for supporting us by using these links. Some items on this list have been received free of charge for review purposes.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
15 Hot Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids

15 Hot Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids

Circuit Scribe Ultimate Kit

For the budding engineer Circuit Scribe Kits provide a great introduction to electronics. A really neat feature of the Circuit Scribe sets is you can complete the projects and make connections without needing to solder- you just draw the wires with the included conductive silver ink pen. The Ultimate Kit contains over 30 electronic components and instructions for lots of projects. Not only does the kit provide a lot of projects but it also teaches kids about electrical components – so they really understand what components like resistors are and learn to draw circuit diagrams as well as build projects. As the students learn about the components they are encourage to be creative and design their own circuits, the Ultimate kit is even compatible with Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Available from CircuitScribe.com,Amazon and other retailers for US$99.99, other kits are available for a variety of prices including a mini kit at $9.99, Basic Kit at $44.99. A great #STEM gift for ages 8-adult. Read our review and enter to win a Maker Kit

Design Your Own Maze Plus VR Viewer

Design Your Own Maze Plus VR Viewer

maze Design Your Own Maze by Seedling not only lets you create your own wooden marble maze but it lets you use Virtual Reality to step inside it too! The kit also includes a cardboard VR viewer which you can use with your smartphone. Maze is a classic labyrinth game where you use the knobs to tilt the playing field to guide a metal marble from start to finish without falling down any holes. Instead of coming with a pre-made maze it contains bases and 42 wooden wall pieces that you use to create and re-create your own mazes that you can make as simple or as challenging as you like. Once you have created a physical maze you can turn it into a virtual maze by scanning it into the free Maze app. You can customize the maze by adding music, photos, traps, themes and more. If you put your smartphone into the included cardboard Virtual Reality Viewer you can even step inside your maze, turning your head to turn as you weave through its labyrinth. A very cool and creative #STEAM gift that combines both hands on creativity and Virtual Reality. Ages 6+ Available from Seedling.com, Amazonand other retailers for US$59.99

Puzzlets Starter Kit- learn to code

kidsPuzzlets from Digital Dream Labs is a hands-on physical toy that allows children from Kindergarten age upwards to learn coding principles whilst playing. The starter pack includes  a Bluetooth enabled play tray and 22 programming puzzlets plus a Cork the Volcano video game which can be played on an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Android smartphone/ tablet.  The kids place the puzzlet tiles in the play tray to control the characters on screen and thus use them to solve a variety of challenges. Puzzlets combines hands on play with interactive gaming and encourages kids to be creative, as many of the levels can be solved in more than one way. It can be enjoyed by 1 or 2 kids at a time and is suitable for ages 5 and above (under 6’s may need some help from an older child or adult).  #STEAM. Available from Amazon and other retailers  for US$99. More games due to be released in 2017. Read our review and enter to win

Square Panda Phonics Set

Square Panda Phonics Playset by Square Panda which features a bluetooth enabled playset to engage kids in learning a variety of activities from learning letters, spelling, letter sounds, rhymes, learning new vocabulary words and more.  The set consists of 45 Smart Letters, a Playset box which you pair to your iPad and holds your device while in use, access to the Square Panda Playground where you can manage a parent account, see information about your child’s progress and additional learning opportunities as well as 4 AA Batteries.  The Square Panda Playset requires either iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro in order to run and you must be running iOS 8.x and above.  Read our full review to learn more and enter to win. Available from Square Panda for US$119 USD

Sphero Star Wars BB-8 App Controlled Robot

We are Star Wars Junkies at our house.  Check out this BB-8 app-enabled Droid that includes an adaptive personality as you play including emotions and lets you give voice commands. Connect BB-8™ to the app and watch your Droid™ come to life. Drive BB-8 by sliding your finger on the driving pad, send him on patrol to investigate your surroundings, record and view holographic messages, and more. BB-8 droid is more than a toy – it’s your companion. You can even watch the force awakens with him and see his reactions! This is a “hot” must have toy that we can’t wait to get our hands on!Available from Sphero, Amazon and Target for US$149

Pokemon Go Plus

pokemon-go-plusPokemon Go has been the big mobile app hit of the year with millions of kids (and adults!) up and walking around searching for Pokemon, Poke Balls, Berries, and Pokemon Eggs. I love how it gets my kids out and active but don’t always love how they hog my phone when playing. The much anticipated Pokemon Go Plus is a wearable device that links to your smartphone through Bluetooth. It lets you know when a Pokemon is nearby by the LED flashing and the device mildly vibrates. With it they can collect Poke Balls, Berries, and Pokemon Eggs without having to look at your smart phone and receive notifications when they are near a Pokestop. They still need to have your phone nearby but it can spend most of its time in your pocket and they can look at their surroundings instead of at a screen. This is such a hot item that it is really hard to find but we’d recommend you keep checking Amazon in case more come into stock. Available fromAmazon and other retailers RRP US$39.99

BlueBee Pals Pro

Hudson the Puppy from Bluebee Pals is a talking toy that works with your smartphone or tablet. It is designed for toddler through early elementary school age children, and by pairing it with apps can be educational as well as fun. You don’t need to buy proprietary apps for Hudson to work- he works with the educational apps you already own.  The Bluebee Pal connects to your iOS, Android or Bluetooth enabled device and the mouth of the toy moves while connected to a huge variety of apps including the ability to read a story including from an app on your smartphone, play music, interact with AAC apps, and speech related apps. My two year old loves to hear stories and will sit and have the “read to me mode” activated while he listens to his favorite stories and looks at the pictures on my iPad Mini.  Available from BlueBee Pals and Amazon for US$64.99. Read our review and enter to win

Skylanders Imaginators

Skylanders , the original and immensely popular, toys-to -life action figure and video game is back with a new adventure- Skylanders Imaginators. Kaos is back and with the ancient power of Mind Magic creating an unstoppable army of Doomlanders! But Eon is undeterred and is fighting back with the help of a new series of characters: Skylands’ greatest mystic warriors, the Senseis. As well as the Senseis you can use all your old characters from previous Skylanders games and  use the power of your imagination to create your own Skylanders help to save Skylands. It is available for Wii U, XBox 1, XBox 360, PS3 and PS4. Available from Amazon , Target and many retailers for US$74.99 

Malia’s House

beach_house_2_web_large-800x546Malia’s House from Build & Imagine combines dress up dolls, a building toy and a dolls house all-in-one. The award winning Build & Imagine toys were designed to get girls interested in building by providing them with a more creative, imaginative experience than standard building blocks. The kit has 10 square, 4 triangular and 2 rectangular panels. These are illustrated on both sides and snap together magnetically. The child can use their imagination to decide which scenes to include and what shape to build, every time they play they can rebuild it in a slightly different way. There is a working door and lots of different rooms and scenes illustrated on the panels, including furniture and indoor and outdoor scenes such as a kitchen, bedrooms, beach, garden and pool. The kit also includes 2 magnetic dolls- Malia and her friend Skyler plus lots of magnetic clothes, pets and accessories than can be used with the set. I love how my daughter not only creates different scenes and dollhouses with it, but that she also loves to tell stories about what is happening as she plays. A great #STEAM gift and it can be combined with other Build & Imagine play sets for even more creative possibilities. Read our review and enter to win
 Available from Amazon and toyshops for US$59.99

Zumo Learning System with Android Tablet

Zumo Learning System with Tablet from Zyrobotics is a learning system that makes apps switch accessible so everyone can use them.  In the box is Zumo the Turtle, an Android Tablet in a kid proof case which comes pre-loaded with Zyrobotics apps. You can either buy the turtle switch and use it with your own tablet or buy the entire Zumo Learning System.  Read our full review to learn more about the great apps and how the turtle makes items accessible
Available from Amazon for US$159

RCA PRO12 Android 2-in-1 RCA PRO 12 inch HD 32GB 2-in-1 Android Tablet Hybrid

rct6223w87sk_black_2Many kids and college students are doing a lot of schoolwork now on Chromebooks or tablets. For many Google docs seem to be replacing using Word. A great gift for older kids, teen and college student is a 2-in-1  such as the new RCA Pro12. This allows them to use it like a Chromebook or laptop to work in Google documents and search the web, but also acts as a touchscreen tablet for educational apps. The new RCA Pro12 has a 12.2″ HD screen and 32GB built in storage which you can affordably expand by up to an additional 128GB by adding a Micro-SD card such as the SanDisk Ultra 128GB . It comes with a removable folio keyboard case that attaches easily and securely via a magnetic connector. The PRO12 has a 13.GHZ quad core processor and uses native Android Marshmallow 6.o as it’s operating system. Users can choose from the huge range of apps available from the Google Play Appstore. It can be powered by the included AC adapter or via micro-USB, it has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 8hrs. This is a great gift for students of all ages that they can use to do homework, listen to music, watch videos, search the web, answer emails and play fun and educational apps. Available from Amazon and other suppliers RRP  US$279.99. Look at for it on Home Shopping Network on December 2nd too!

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic


If your kid loves playing games, doing schoolwork, or watching videos on a tablet or computer a must-have to save your sanity is a good pair of headphones. Kensington’s Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great option and good value for money too. They are designed especially for kids head, yet look grown up enough that a teen or tween won’t be embarrassed to use them. They are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. They even have a microphone which folds away when not in use. Available Kensington.com, Amazon and other retailers.from  for US$24.99. (Currently only $19.99) Read our review.

Motion Pen Kids

motionpen_kids_product-640x640

The MotionPen Kids Stylus by Widevantage is a rounded thick stylus designed especially for kids, even younger ones that may not yet have a mature grasp pattern.  The stylus is rounded and has a rubberized tip on each end.  There are native apps made by Widevantage that you can use, which include erasing simply by flipping over the stylus, hovering your stylus over your device and more.  No batteries to replace, no Bluetooth to connect, simply pull out of the box, enter the number of your stylus and you are on your way to drawing fun.  My 8 year old had so much fun with the Motion Crayon app and we even played Pictionary using our iPad Mini. Read our full review and enter to win. Available from Widevantage and Amazon for US$22.25

Galaxy ZEGA Tank Battle Game

In Galaxy ZEGA, the real and virtual worlds collide. The kit comes with 2 remote control tanks (others can be purchased separately) and a magnetic snap together battlefield. Galaxy ZEGA is a tank battle toy,  played with individuals and teams on a real-world battlefield using palm-sized tanks (called ZEGAs). Players shoot their opponents with lights to gain points and eventually earn up to 30 more skills so they can disable other ZEGAs with virtual ‘oil spills,’ freeze opponent’s speed and more to win battles.  I got to play this hands-on recently and it was really fun, the ZEGAS are very fast, responsive and easy to control via your tablet or smartphone. If you want to play quickly they can be used as remote control vehicles without the battlefield, but using it gives places for the tanks to hide and using it adds anther dimension to the play.  Starter Set available from GalaxyZEGA.comand other retailers for US$149.99

Know Yourself Adventure Series

The Know Yourself Adventure Series is a monthly subscription kit which explores a new system of the human body each month.  I tested a kit that included the five senses which included an interactive comic book,  time travel, hands on experiments including the cylinders to capture items related to our senses, historical figures and stories which explained the body or a mystery of the mind.  This is a great monthly gift that keeps on giving.  Be sure to read our full review for a chance to win a 3 month subscription. Available from Know Yourself for US$29/month or $359/year.  As a subscription box this is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Read our review and enter to win a 3 month subscription

These are The iMums Top Picks for gifts for kids this holiday season. We have gifts in a variety of price ranges to suit children from tots to teens. #STEM and #STEAM gifts are hot this year and we have plenty of gifts that are educational and help kids to nurture their love of science, technology and creativity. Let us know which of these gift choices are top of your kid’s wish list.

 

Circuit Scribe Ultimate Kit

circuit-scribe_electroninks_wallpaper-logo-3-1_lrFor the budding engineer Circuit Scribe Kits provide a great introduction to electronics. A really neat feature of the Circuit Scribe sets is you can complete the projects and make connections without needing to solder- you just draw the wires with the included conductive silver ink pen. The Ultimate Kit contains over 30 electronic components and instructions for lots of projects. Not only does the kit provide a lot of projects but it also teaches kids about electrical components – so they really understand what components like resistors are and learn to draw circuit diagrams as well as build projects. As the students learn about the components they are encourage to be creative and design their own circuits, the Ultimate kit is even compatible with Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Available from CircuitScribe.com,Amazon and other retailers for US$99.99, other kits are available for a variety of prices including a mini kit at $9.99, Basic Kit at $44.99. A great #STEM gift for ages 8-adult. Read our review and enter to win a Maker Kit

 

Design Your Own Maze Plus VR Viewer

maze Design Your Own Maze by Seedling not only lets you create your own wooden marble maze but it lets you use Virtual Reality to step inside it too! The kit also includes a cardboard VR viewer which you can use with your smartphone. Maze is a classic labyrinth game where you use the knobs to tilt the playing field to guide a metal marble from start to finish without falling down any holes. Instead of coming with a pre-made maze it contains bases and 42 wooden wall pieces that you use to create and re-create your own mazes that you can make as simple or as challenging as you like. Once you have created a physical maze you can turn it into a virtual maze by scanning it into the free Maze app. You can customize the maze by adding music, photos, traps, themes and more. If you put your smartphone into the included cardboard Virtual Reality Viewer you can even step inside your maze, turning your head to turn as you weave through its labyrinth. A very cool and creative #STEAM gift that combines both hands on creativity and Virtual Reality. Ages 6+ Available from Seedling.com, Amazonand other retailers for US$59.99

 

Puzzlets Starter Kit- learn to code

kidsPuzzlets from Digital Dream Labs is a hands-on physical toy that allows children from Kindergarten age upwards to learn coding principles whilst playing. The starter pack includes  a Bluetooth enabled play tray and 22 programming puzzlets plus a Cork the Volcano video game which can be played on an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Android smartphone/ tablet.  The kids place the puzzlet tiles in the play tray to control the characters on screen and thus use them to solve a variety of challenges. Puzzlets combines hands on play with interactive gaming and encourages kids to be creative, as many of the levels can be solved in more than one way. It can be enjoyed by 1 or 2 kids at a time and is suitable for ages 5 and above (under 6’s may need some help from an older child or adult).  #STEAM. Available from Amazon and other retailers  for US$99. More games due to be released in 2017. Read our review and enter to win

Square Panda Phonics Set

squarepanda-638-edit1080_grandeSquare Panda Phonics Playset by Square Panda which features a bluetooth enabled playset to engage kids in learning a variety of activities from learning letters, spelling, letter sounds, rhymes, learning new vocabulary words and more.  The set consists of 45 Smart Letters, a Playset box which you pair to your iPad and holds your device while in use, access to the Square Panda Playground where you can manage a parent account, see information about your child’s progress and additional learning opportunities as well as 4 AA Batteries.  The Square Panda Playset requires either iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro in order to run and you must be running iOS 8.x and above.  Read our full review to learn more and enter to win. Available from Square Panda for US$119 USD

Sphero Star Wars BB-8 App Controlled Robot

bb8
We are Star Wars Junkies at our house.  Check out this BB-8 app-enabled Droid that includes an adaptive personality as you play including emotions and lets you give voice commands. Connect BB-8™ to the app and watch your Droid™ come to life. Drive BB-8 by sliding your finger on the driving pad, send him on patrol to investigate your surroundings, record and view holographic messages, and more. BB-8 droid is more than a toy – it’s your companion. You can even watch the force awakens with him and see his reactions! This is a “hot” must have toy that we can’t wait to get our hands on!Available from Sphero, Amazon and Target for US$149

 

Pokemon Go Plus

pokemon-go-plusPokemon Go has been the big mobile app hit of the year with millions of kids (and adults!) up and walking around searching for Pokemon, Poke Balls, Berries, and Pokemon Eggs. I love how it gets my kids out and active but don’t always love how they hog my phone when playing. The much anticipated Pokemon Go Plus is a wearable device that links to your smartphone through Bluetooth. It lets you know when a Pokemon is nearby by the LED flashing and the device mildly vibrates. With it they can collect Poke Balls, Berries, and Pokemon Eggs without having to look at your smart phone and receive notifications when they are near a Pokestop. They still need to have your phone nearby but it can spend most of its time in your pocket and they can look at their surroundings instead of at a screen. This is such a hot item that it is really hard to find but we’d recommend you keep checking Amazon in case more come into stock. Available fromAmazon and other retailers RRP US$39.99

 

BlueBee Pals Pro

Huhudson-the-puppy-pro-510x510dson the Puppy from Bluebee Pals is a talking toy that works with your smartphone or tablet. It is designed for toddler through early elementary school age children, and by pairing it with apps can be educational as well as fun. You don’t need to buy proprietary apps for Hudson to work- he works with the educational apps you already own.  The Bluebee Pal connects to your iOS, Android or Bluetooth enabled device and the mouth of the toy moves while connected to a huge variety of apps including the ability to read a story including from an app on your smartphone, play music, interact with AAC apps, and speech related apps. My two year old loves to hear stories and will sit and have the “read to me mode” activated while he listens to his favorite stories and looks at the pictures on my iPad Mini.  Available from BlueBee Pals and Amazon for US$64.99. Read our review and enter to win

Skylanders Imaginators

skylandersimaginatorsSkylanders , the original and immensely popular, toys-to -life action figure and video game is back with a new adventure- Skylanders Imaginators. Kaos is back and with the ancient power of Mind Magic creating an unstoppable army of Doomlanders! But Eon is undeterred and is fighting back with the help of a new series of characters: Skylands’ greatest mystic warriors, the Senseis. As well as the Senseis you can use all your old characters from previous Skylanders games and  use the power of your imagination to create your own Skylanders help to save Skylands. It is available for Wii U, XBox 1, XBox 360, PS3 and PS4. Available from Amazon , Target and many retailers for US$74.99 

 

Malia’s House

beach_house_2_web_large-800x546Malia’s House from Build & Imagine combines dress up dolls, a building toy and a dolls house all-in-one. The award winning Build & Imagine toys were designed to get girls interested in building by providing them with a more creative, imaginative experience than standard building blocks. The kit has 10 square, 4 triangular and 2 rectangular panels. These are illustrated on both sides and snap together magnetically. The child can use their imagination to decide which scenes to include and what shape to build, every time they play they can rebuild it in a slightly different way. There is a working door and lots of different rooms and scenes illustrated on the panels, including furniture and indoor and outdoor scenes such as a kitchen, bedrooms, beach, garden and pool. The kit also includes 2 magnetic dolls- Malia and her friend Skyler plus lots of magnetic clothes, pets and accessories than can be used with the set. I love how my daughter not only creates different scenes and dollhouses with it, but that she also loves to tell stories about what is happening as she plays. A great #STEAM gift and it can be combined with other Build & Imagine play sets for even more creative possibilities. Read our review and enter to win
 Available from Amazon and toyshops for US$59.99

 

Zumo Learning System with Android Tablet

ZumoLearning_Image3Zumo Learning System with Tablet from Zyrobotics is a learning system that makes apps switch accessible so everyone can use them.  In the box is Zumo the Turtle, an Android Tablet in a kid proof case which comes pre-loaded with Zyrobotics apps. You can either buy the turtle switch and use it with your own tablet or buy the entire Zumo Learning System.  Read our full review to learn more about the great apps and how the turtle makes items accessible
Available from Amazon for US$159

 

RCA PRO12 Android 2-in-1 RCA PRO 12 inch HD 32GB 2-in-1 Android Tablet Hybrid

rct6223w87sk_black_2Many kids and college students are doing a lot of schoolwork now on Chromebooks or tablets. For many Google docs seem to be replacing using Word. A great gift for older kids, teen and college student is a 2-in-1  such as the new RCA Pro12. This allows them to use it like a Chromebook or laptop to work in Google documents and search the web, but also acts as a touchscreen tablet for educational apps. The new RCA Pro12 has a 12.2″ HD screen and 32GB built in storage which you can affordably expand by up to an additional 128GB by adding a Micro-SD card such as the SanDisk Ultra 128GB . It comes with a removable folio keyboard case that attaches easily and securely via a magnetic connector. The PRO12 has a 13.GHZ quad core processor and uses native Android Marshmallow 6.o as it’s operating system. Users can choose from the huge range of apps available from the Google Play Appstore. It can be powered by the included AC adapter or via micro-USB, it has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 8hrs. This is a great gift for students of all ages that they can use to do homework, listen to music, watch videos, search the web, answer emails and play fun and educational apps. Available from Amazon and other suppliers RRP  US$279.99. Look at for it on Home Shopping Network on December 2nd too!

 

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic

KensingtonHeadphoneswith mic
If your kid loves playing games, doing schoolwork, or watching videos on a tablet or computer a must-have to save your sanity is a good pair of headphones. Kensington’s Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great option and good value for money too. They are designed especially for kids head, yet look grown up enough that a teen or tween won’t be embarrassed to use them. They are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. They even have a microphone which folds away when not in use. Available Kensington.com, Amazon and other retailers.from  for US$24.99. (Currently only $19.99) Read our review.

 Motion Pen Kids – Stylus for Children

motionpen_kids_product-640x640

The MotionPen Kids Stylus by Widevantage is a rounded thick stylus designed especially for kids, even younger ones that may not yet have a mature grasp pattern.  The stylus is rounded and has a rubberized tip on each end.  There are native apps made by Widevantage that you can use, which include erasing simply by flipping over the stylus, hovering your stylus over your device and more.  No batteries to replace, no Bluetooth to connect, simply pull out of the box, enter the number of your stylus and you are on your way to drawing fun.  My 8 year old had so much fun with the Motion Crayon app and we even played Pictionary using our iPad Mini. Read our full review and enter to win. Available from Widevantage and Amazon for US$22.25

Galaxy ZEGA Tank Battle Game

galaxyzega2In Galaxy ZEGA, the real and virtual worlds collide. The kit comes with 2 remote control tanks (others can be purchased separately) and a magnetic snap together battlefield. Galaxy ZEGA is a tank battle toy,  played with individuals and teams on a real-world battlefield using palm-sized tanks (called ZEGAs). Players shoot their opponents with lights to gain points and eventually earn up to 30 more skills so they can disable other ZEGAs with virtual ‘oil spills,’ freeze opponent’s speed and more to win battles.  I got to play this hands-on recently and it was really fun, the ZEGAS are very fast, responsive and easy to control via your tablet or smartphone. If you want to play quickly they can be used as remote control vehicles without the battlefield, but using it gives places for the tanks to hide and using it adds anther dimension to the play.  Starter Set available from GalaxyZEGA.com and other retailers for US$149.99

Know Yourself Adventure Series

adventure_kit
The Know Yourself Adventure Series is a monthly subscription kit which explores a new system of the human body each month.  I tested a kit that included the five senses which included an interactive comic book,  time travel, hands on experiments including the cylinders to capture items related to our senses, historical figures and stories which explained the body or a mystery of the mind.  This is a great monthly gift that keeps on giving.  Be sure to read our full review for a chance to win a 3 month subscription. Available from Know Yourself for US$29/month or $359/year.  As a subscription box this is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. Read our review and enter to win a 3 month subscription

 

For additional gift ideas check out our other Holiday Gift Guides.
This post contains affiliate links, if you click on these The iMums may receive a small commission which helps to pay to run this site. Thank you for supporting us by using these links. Some items on this list have been received free of charge for review purposes.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
mCookie Electronics Kits from Microduino – Review #STEM

mCookie Electronics Kits from Microduino – Review #STEM


mcookie1

What we love…

Brings Lego Builds to life. Easy to use, no soldering. Users can create ready made projects but can also build their own and learn how to change the computer program to tweak the project. Extra modules and components can be purchased individually

What we’d love to see…

All components to be Lego Compatible- this has been done in the 2nd generation mCookie shipping next month.

Summary

mCookie is a series of magnetic, stackable modules that allow you to explore electronics and  create projects that include both working electronics and Legos

recommended-by-the-imums

What do you get if you combine electronics and Lego ?  – mCookie from Microduino ! mCookie is a series of magnetic, stackable modules that allow you to explore electronics and  create projects that include both working electronics and Legos. They are simple to use, require no soldering and are sold in a variety of starter kits as well as  by individual components.  I tested the mCookie 101 Basic kit which is the simplest of the  mCookie kits available. The basic kit includes 4 modules: 1 core USB module, 1 Bluetooth 4.0 module, 1 battery management module, 1 sensor hub module; 6 sensors: 2 LED color sensors, 2 crash/impact sensors, 1 buzzer sensor, 1 microphone sensor; plus instructions for a variety of simple projects.

mcookie3

To program the projects you first need to install Arduino IDE program plus the mCookie drivers on your computer, this is pretty straight forward and the directions can be found here. The kit includes a brochure with instructions for 3 projects, the mCookie website has instructions for 6 projects that can be done with the 101 kit. You can also buy additional modules and sensors individually to allow you to build more of the many mCookie projects that are listed on the website.

mcookie2

To test how user friendly the projects are I had my 12 year old son do the first 2 projects without any assistance from me. For his first project he built a Lego birthday cake. When he pressed a switch it sang Happy Birthday and the candle lit up . His second project was to build a Bluetooth controlled Lego lamp with a dixie cup lampshade. Then I completed one of the projects without any help from him 🙂 I chose the Grumpy Grandpa project, which I’ll describe below to give you an idea of how the projects are done.

Grumpy Grandpa

This project uses the Microphone sensor, buzzer, switch, core module, battery module and hub module. It is designed to respond to loud noises by setting off the buzzer, which can then be turned off with the switch.

Software: The first step with all the projects is to connect the core module to your computer via the USB cable and open the Arduino IDE program. From there you can choose the Grumpy Grandpa file and download it to the Core Module. The user can just download the program and use it. However, if they want to learn more about the program and how to tweak it  they are given the information to do so. The website explains the program step by step and explains changes they can make to the program.

Hardware: The hardware set up for the project is shown both by pictures and by text. For the Grumpy Grandpa project I did notice a mistake in the written directions for the first step, although the diagram is correct.

Step 1: Use the included wires to connect the buzzer to port 6/7 of the Hub, the switch (crash sensor) to port 4/5 and the microphone to port A0/A1. The pictures show which port is which. The wires are a little fiddly to instal, so I wouldn’t recommend this for under 12’s.

Step 2: Switch on the battery box and use the wires to connect it to the Battery Module

Step 3: Stack the Battery, Core and Hub Modules. the Hub has to be on top due to the wires but the others can be in any order. The modules are magnetic to very simple to stack.

Step 4: Build your Lego Grandpa and attach the electronics. There is a picture of a sample Grandpa, but you would need some specialized pieces e.g. a 90 degree connector to make this so I built mine very differently. Both my son and I had some difficulties with connecting the projects to the Lego. The Modules are easy to build legos on top of as their top surfaces are Lego compatible, the lower surfaces need to use connectors. There are 4 connectors included – you need 2 to connect the battery box and 2 to connect the stack of modules. You can purchase extras on the mCookie website, but would be nice if spares were included because if you lose one, as my son did, it becomes tricky to connect the project to your Lego Build. The sensors are also not Lego compatible so we found it tricky to get then to stay in place well without resorting to using tape. mCookie has addressed this problem with the sensors in the second generation of the mCookie kits by making the sensors also Lego compatible.

Pricing and availability:

The 101 kit is sold out and being replaced by the updated 102 kit. The second generation mCookie kits including mCookie 102 kit and the Itty Bitty City are currently available on Indiegogo for a substantial discount. The 102 Kit is 42% off at $52 and the Itty Bitty City is $79. The Itty Bitty City brings even more Lego builds to life including making remote controlled vehicles. After the Indiegogo is over the new kits will be available via the Microduino website.

Summary

mCookie is a series of magnetic, stackable modules that allow you to explore electronics and create projects that include both working electronics and Legos. In the first generation kits e.g. the 101 that we tested the modules are Lego Compatible but the sensor are not, this has been fixed in the second generation kits e.g. 102 which are due to ship next month. These kits are a great way to get Middle School and High School students engaged in building electronics projects without soldering. They allow them to bring Lego builds to life and to learn how to change the computer program that controls the project- fun and creative STEM education. I have been using the kit as part of our STEM projects for homeschooling my 7th grader.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly. Reviews may include affiliate links.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
Aluminium Alloy Outdoor Laser Christmas Lights with IR Wireless Remote by 1byone – Review

Aluminium Alloy Outdoor Laser Christmas Lights with IR Wireless Remote by 1byone – Review

What we love…

easy set up and ready to use within moments versus stringing lights and then having to stand in the snow to take them down

What we’d love to see…

ability for the laser light to remember the previous settings

Summary

Easy to use laser light that makes setting up holiday lights a snap both inside and out!  No more wading in the snow banks!

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Living in New England means that setting up holiday lights and decorations can either be a freezing cold activity or it might be one you try to hurry through to get it done and hope it doesn’t snow too much!

1byone offers an outdoor laser Christmas light that includes a remote, you can can set up the holiday decorations in one moment without having to worry about frozen fingers or the fact that you might stand in several feet of snow to take them down at the end of December.  Inside the books is a laser light whcih includes (red, green and an alternating red/green) laser light, as well as a bracket to place it in the ground and  a power adapter.  You stick the spike inside the ground after attaching it to the laser light connect the power and in less than five minutes the laser light show is ready to go.  The best part – in my opinion is that you can also control it from inside and use a timer to make it automatically come on and turn off as well as change the colors with just a touch of the remote.

I really liked how quick and easy it was to set up outside and put into my lawn.  I also liked that it was controlled via remote control and that I could use a grounded electrical cord to provide power to the laser light.  I will say that I have installed and taken it out a few times when I knew it was going to rain (even though I didn’t have to) just because I wanted to test out all the different settings.   The projector is waterproof and can be used both inside and outside – so perhaps you could have Christmas in July if you wished!  I also liked that it doesn’t use too much electricity.  I also really liked the automatic function which meant that the unit would automatically turn off in bright light/sunshine or turn on in the dark.

In terms of enhancements, I wish there was a short memory that allowed the unit to remember what you did if you have to unplug it.  Currently, if you unplug it you have to start over again in the programming process.

Overall, I am looking forward to setting this up outside my house around Thanksgiving during the holiday season to have holiday lights on.  It will be fast and easy to set up and since I’ve already tested it out quite a bit it won’t be bad to get the settings right and the holiday mood fast.  Perfect for the busy family or someone who might live in a climate where the weather isn’t always predictable!

Specification:

Power Input: AC 120V 60Hz
Power Output: DC 5V 2000mA
Dimension: max. diameter 4.45in x length 4.58in
IP Protection: IP65 for the light casing and IP44 for power adapter.
Materials: Aluminum alloy casing and spike. Tempered glass lens.
Spike Height: 7.79in
Working Temperature: -35℃ (-31℉) to 35℃ (95℉)
Remote Control Distance: 30ft
Coverage: 3.5ft 57-85 sqft; 10ft 265-325.6 sqft; 15ft 776.8-971.44 sqft; 20ft 1240-1550.00 sqft; 25ft 1687.2- 2109.72 sqft

Package Includes:

1 x Laser Light with Power Cable
1 x Screw
1 x Spike
1 x Bracket
1 x Power Adapter
1 x User Manual
1 x IR Remote Controller (with CR2025 battery)

Available from Amazon

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Pin It on Pinterest