Hot Toys Wish List: 'Edutainment' tech toys trending with kids this holiday season

Long gone are kids who long for old-time toys, along with the flashbacks from our past that were big last holiday season.

This year, it’s back to the future with high tech toys topping many wish lists.

Hannah, Ben and Ellie Mayfield are all under 8, and all about high tech toys. Their mom, Megan, sees it as a sign of the times.

“They’ve been surrounded by these toys since they were born, and to them it’s just another thing to play with in the playroom,” Hannah Mayfield said.

Laurie Schacht, of the Toy Insider , said tablets still top many wish lists this year, and they’re loaded with more options than ever.

The InnoTab 3S includes kid connect technology.

“Kids can actually talk to their parents on their devices," Schacht said "They can send a text message, they can send a picture.”

The Kurio Touch 4S is similar to an iPod Touch, but runs on an Android operating system.

It offers parental controls and comes pre-loaded with more than 30 free games and apps, and ear buds built for a child.

CNET technology expert Dan Ackerman said technology in toys goes way beyond tablets, though.

“We see a lot of toys aimed at kids now that echo a lot of the technology that adults use, so things have touch screens, things have internet connectivity,” Ackerman explained. “Kids kind of want to mimic what their parents are doing.”

“We’re seeing all this technology appear in toys for our youngest children, and it’s really giving them the skills they need both for school and eventually for everyday life, but in a fun way," Schacht added.

Experts call it “edutainment” and it ranges from the new LeapReader reading and writing system that is designed to teach toddlers to write.

Also on the list: Zoomer, a dog that responds to voice commands. Or RoboMe , which lets you use your iPhone or iPod touch to customize the robot.

And LEGO Mindstorms Robots that could be training future computer programmers.

“Once they build it,” Schacht said, “they have to program the whole robot, how it walks, how it talks, every movement is programmed.”

Future fashionistas can create cool looks on the Barbie Digital Dress using LED lights, and the facial tracking technology on the Barbie Digital Makeover Mirror will have young faces smiling.

“By simply pretending to put makeup on with the applicator, the makeup will show up in the mirror the kids are looking at,” Schacht demonstrated.

If you feel like you might be in over your head with all this tech, Schacht said it’s not as complicated as it might seem.

“Most of the tech toys these days are really pretty intuitive and the kids will probably get it almost right away.” 

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