Ten kid friendly travel products to calm, soothe and entertain

Kids are spoiled nowadays – I used to have to entertain myself with a piece of string and an empty toilet paper tube, but today, even young kids are aware of the coolest technology products and want a piece of the action.

In this list, we’ve gathered ten awesome kid friendly travel products – from a way to help them sleep at night, to the latest in kid-proof digital HD cameras. The biggest advantage of all this new technology is that parents get a little more peace and quiet, and don’t need to play “I Spy” for 6 hours on a flight. Especially when the answer to all 450 questions is “clouds”.
Aerobed Sleep Tight for Kids

We recently reviewed the Aerobed Sleep TIght for Kids here on Gadling – and it has so far been the best piece of kid travel gear we’ve seen in a long time. The bed fits in a compact (included) carrying bag, and comes with an electronic inflation pump and a cute moon/stars cover.

Product page: Aerobed
Price: $79.99

Olympus Stylus 8010 rugged digital camera

The Olympus Stylus Tough 8010 is the perfect camera for taking photos where other cameras would normally crash and burn in a matter of minutes. The protection inside the Stylus Tough 8010 takes “rugged” to the extreme – with waterproofing up to 33 feet, drop protection up to 6.6 feet, freezeproofing down to 14F and even crushproofing up to 220lb.

This is one camera you’ll be able to hand to your (young) kids, and not worry about what they plan to do with it (as long as they don’t open the battery compartment underwater).

The camera features 1GB of internal memory, HD video recording and an internal optical zoom with automatic lens protector.

Product page: Olympus Stylus Tough 8010
Price: $399.99

Scosche reviveLITE II

The iPod and iPhone are slowly becoming “must have” products for young kids – their movie and music abilities, along with the massive lineup of kid friendly apps has taken them way beyond their original audience. The Scosche reviveLITE II is a wall charger for your device, with the added bonus of a night light. It even features a second USB charging port, which means you can charge your boring Blackberry and your kids iPhone at the same time.

Product page: Scosche Industries
Price: $24.99

Kodak Playsport HD camcorder

The Kodak Playsport HD camcorder shoots video in 1080p, and can swim in up to 10ft of water – which means you can make some pretty neat video clips at the beach or pool. With large easy to operate buttons, you can even teach your kids how to make their own video clips.

Product page: Kodak Playsport
Price: $149.99

Air Play airplane tray table play cover

For (really) young kids, the boredom of air travel may prove to be too much for them to deal with – which is why Star Kids Products invented the Air Play. This table and seatback cover fits about as much as possible into the cramped space. Kids get a variety of toys, a peek-a-boo mirror and even a small photo album. Best of all, it’ll keep their tiny hands away from the filthy table.

Product page: Air Play
Price: $29.99

Leap Frog Leapster Explorer

Leapster game consoles have always been a great way to entertain kids while providing some education at the same time. The upcoming Leapster Explorer is half gaming console, and half learning tool. An optional digital camera attachment will even let kids make photos and video clips. The Leapster Explorer will be available starting July 1st.

Product page: Leapster Explorer
Price: $69.99 (includes 18 games)

Mobi TykeLight Jr.

The TykeLight Jr. is a battery operated night light – with up to 100 hours of use off a set of AAA batteries, this light is a great way to help your kids fall asleep. The light can stay on all night, or for 15 minutes and is available in pink, green and blue.

Product page: Mobi TykeLight Jr.
Price: $12.95

Kidz Gear headphones

A DVD player in your car or flight is a great way to entertain kids – but the last thing you want, is to listen to Yo Gabba Gabba on a 7 hour road trip drive. This is where Kidz Gear headphones can help. The headphones are specially designed to fit kids, and go small enough to fit a three year old. Volume is kept to a minimum. They are available wired and wireless – and the wireless ones will work on the majority of wireless audio systems found in today’s vehicles.

Best of all – the company also makes a wireless transmitter, which is great if you want to add it to a hotel TV so you can get some peace and quiet, while they get some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Product page: Gear for Kidz
Price: $16.99 (wired) and $29.99 (wireless)

iPhone and iPod Touch kids apps

There are thousands of kids apps in the App Store – but for every great app, there is usually at least one dreadful one. This is where Best Kids Apps can help – the team behind this great site reviews apps, and takes the hard work out of picking the best apps for your kid(s). Apps are sorted by age and category, making it really easy to find the best of the best.

Product page: Best Kids Apps
Price: Apps start at $0

Mobile device video cables

As more hotels start adding the ability to connect your mobile device to the in-room TV, an investment of about $30 can turn your iPhone, iPod, Zune or other brand player into a portable media center.

The most common input system used is “composite”, but some hotel brands even allow HD content using HDMI or Component cables. Check your local electronics store for the correct cables, or refer to the product site of your specific player. In an upcoming article, we’ll show what you need, and how to stay entertained without having to invest in pricey pay-per-view movies.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Rob!]

Four new travel friendly cameras from Olympus

Good tech news tends to happen in the middle of the night. Take for example these four new digital cameras from Olympus. Not only did they make four good looking shooters – they made four great new cameras for travelers.

Two of the new cameras offer ultra-zoom lenses, and two of them let you take your camera underwater for some fantastic photos of HD video. Best of all, two of them will be available later this month!

The four new cameras are:

  • The SP-800UZ 30x ultra-zoom
  • The SP-600UZ 15x ultra-zoom
  • The Stylus Tough-6020 waterproof / dropproof / freezeproof camera
  • The Stylus Tough-8010 waterproof / dropproof / crushproof / freezeproof camera

The SP-800UZ 30x ultra-zoom

The first of the new cameras in this lineup is by far the most impressive. Olympus managed to design the world’s smallest camera with a 30x optical zoom. The SP-800UZ makes photos in 14 megapixels, and video in 720p. Its 5.0 – 150mm (28 – 840 35mm equivalent) lens is built with 15 separate internal lenses in 10 groups.

Photos can be enhanced with a variety of “magic filters”. The filters include the following effects: Pop Art, Pin Hole, Fish-Eye and Drawing (creates sketch outline photos).

The camera features a built in pop-up flash, MiniHDMI output for watching HD content on your TV and 2GB of internal memory (memory can be expanded with SD/SDHC cards).

The SP-800UZ will be available in March for the surprisingly low price of $349.99.

The SP-600UZ 15x ultra-zoom

The new SP-600UZ offers most of the features found on the SP-800UZ, but with a 15x optical zoom and a 12 megapixel sensor. One other handy difference is its ability to operate off regular AA rechargeable batteries. It will also be available in March, for just $249.99.

The Stylus Tough-6020

Olympus has always been at the forefront of tough cameras – their waterproof, freezeproof (down to -14F) and crushproof cameras are world-renowned for their durability.

The new Stylus Tough-6020 shoots in 14 megapixels, with an integrated 5x optical zoom. This camera is also the first in the Stylus lineup to offer HD video recording (720p). It is waterproof up to 16 feet of water, and can survive drops up to 5 feet. Thankfully, the Tough-6020 takes SD and SDHC cards – I was never a fan of the xD cards used in previous models.

The Stylus Tough-6020 will be available this month for $299.99.

The Stylus Tough-8010

The Stylus Tough-8010 is the tougher brother of the Stylus Tough-6020. It takes waterproofing down to 33 feet of water, drops up to 6.6 feet and is crushproof up to 220 pounds of pressure. It also adds an extra gigabyte of internal memory (2GB).

The Stylus Tough-8010 will be available this month for $399.99.