Long gone are the days when a kid could be kept entertained with a coloring book and 2 crayons. Of course, part of the higher demands from kids has something to do with the gadgets we adults surround ourselves with.
In this Gadling gift guide, you’ll find some of the best travel friendly gadgets out there. Some will keep kids safe, some will entertain them, and some will help capture those fun memories.
Clek oobr Car seat
Not every trip with the kid(s) will be by air – in fact, 2008 and 2009 have been real “road trip” years, mainly to blame on the crappy economy. If you are going to be going all Clark Griswald on your family, then it pays to be sure your kids are sitting in the best and safest seat available. The Clek oobr is made by car component manufacturer Magna. In fact, the technology behind the oobr seat comes directly from actual car seats – the kind you and I sit on. The seat is built around an all metal frame, and incorporate several innovatives safety measures.
The oobr is designed for children 3 and up (depending on height/weight) and can convert from a regular seat into a backless booster. Unlike most booster seats, the oobr attaches to the LATCH restraints in your car, which puts and end to loose seats. Oobr is available in six colors, including a really neat looking Paul Frank design.
Product page: Magna Clek
Loud Enough Earphones
Pretty colors? Check. Volume limiting circuit? Check. Sized for small ears? Check. The Ultimate Ears “Loud Enough” headphones combine the high quality audio experience from Ultimate Ears, with a design young kids will love. The headphones feature integrated noise reduction to prevent hearing damage.
They come in a pretty carrying case, are available in three bright colors, and include a set of different earpieces.
Product page: Ultimate Ears Loud Enough
Leapfrog Leapster 2
Not all kids are at the age where they want to be shooting zombies or trying to run over people in their race car. For those kids (four and up), there is the LeapFrog Leapster 2 gaming console. The Leapster 2 is a bright and rugged console with a huge assortment of educational games.
LeapFrog offers some great game titles, and always keeps up with the latest trends. At the moment, the new Disney movie “The Princess and the Frog” is already available as a Leapster game. Kids get a good balance of fun and learning, and parents can hook the unit up to their PC to track progress. Best of all, several kids can share a unit and set up their own account.
Price: $49.99 + games
Product page: LeapFrog Leapster 2
Another great product from LeapFrog helps teach kids how to read, while making the experience more fun. The LeapFrog Tag pen uses optical recognition technology from Anoto (the same system used in the Livescribe pen). Special books combined with software loaded on the Tag pen helps narrate parts of the book, and adds a lot of fun, as well as various hidden bonus portions. Best of all, the Tag pen has a headphone jack, making it perfect for using with the Ultimate Ears Loud Enough headphones mentioned earlier.
Product page: LeapFrog Tag
At home you try and keep germs to a minimum – so why not use gadgets to do the same on the road. Violight produces a big lineup of toothbrush sanitizers that use UV light to reduce germs. These work great at home, but are equally effective on the road. Especially in a poorly cleaned hotel room, a (kids) toothbrush can pick up a load of germs, and unless you fully dry it, it will only get even filthier when packed away for the ride home.
Violight even developed an assortment of UV sanitizers just for kids.
Price: from $19.95
Product page: Violight UV sanitizers
Flip pocket HD camera
Handing your high-tech gadgets to a child does not have to be a gamble. Flip HD cameras are built to be sturdy, and easy to use. Starting at just under $150, you can get yourself an HD camera that is great for filming your kids, and great for letting your kids film the kind of stuff they enjoy looking at (usually closeups of their nose).
Once you get home, you simply plug the camera into your TV or PC, and the whole family can enjoy two hours of nose closeups.
Price: From $149.99
Product page: Flip digital video cameras
Heys xcase Mini with light-up wheels
Once your kids reach the age where they can pull their own luggage, you can let them experience how much fun it is to drag a bag full of stuff through the airport.
The Heys xcase Mini is a smaller version of the popular Heys ultra-lightweight rolling luggage. It is available in 7 bright colors, and comes with light-up LED wheels. Its retracting single-handle makes it easy to pull along.
Product page: Heys XCase mini
Lug NAPSAC and SNUZSAC
This product took one of the spots in top 10 travel products of 2009 here on Gadling. The Lug NAPSAC and SNUZSAC are perfect for those flights where the airline “enhanced” its services by removing pillows and blankets. The concept behind both pillows is brilliant – you unzip it, remove the super cozy blanket, then inflate the pillow. It comes as a regular pillow and a neck pillow.
Price: $28 (NAPSAC) $30 (SNUZSAC)
Product page: www.lugtravel.com
Samsung DualView camera
Making photos of young kids is a hassle. It is nearly impossible to get infants to do anything on command. This is where the Samsung TL220 and TL225 DualView cameras can help. The DualView is the first camera with dual screens. On the back (for mommy and daddy) is a large touchscreen, and on the front is a smaller display that shows what you are shooting, or (and this one is great for infants), a smiley face. If a smiley face doesn’t do it for your kid, Samsung offers 20 additional animations, and there is bound to be one that will get their attention.
No infant can resist looking at a smiley face or jumping bunny – so your chance at getting the photo you want is greatly increased. The TL225 shoots in 12 megapixels and can do HD video, plus it features an HDMI output for viewing content on your HD TV.
Price: $299.99 (TL220) and $349.99 (TL225)
Product page: Samsung DualView