SAM Labs’ connected toy, Curious Cars Kit $199

Best Gifts for 11 Year Old Boys

With kids (and adults) all over the world on the quest for the best selfie editor, messaging platforms, or lip-synching social networks, it’s no wonder that the top gift for kids ages 10+ is a smartphone.

But how do you prevent them from getting completely coerced into the world of Kim Kardashian or becoming an overly-concerned groupie for their favourite YouTuber when they get their newly beloved mobile?

Give them an enticing distraction: gaming.

No, I’m not telling you to let your kid develop premature arthritis in their thumbs to win at Grand Theft Auto, I’m talking physical games and toys that activate with their phone, so they can play both on and offline/offscreen, and steer clear of Kimmie K’s bum shots.

This new genre of device-powered-toys is called ‘connected toys’, which are helping kids to use their cell phones to play in real life.

Using a screen and software in tandem with physical toys to build fantasy worlds, connected toys give kids an immersive physical and digital experience, making screen time feel better spent.

So here’s 4 connected toys for boys to make the most of screen time:

If he liked Transformers: Infinite Arms

Created by Jumo, the Infinite Arms set of physical Metamod action figures and weapons couples with a gamified mobile app. This connected toy takes kids through an immersive mission with endless battles and weaponry.

The game is free, and the Metamods and accessories will soon be available from their website.

Kit is in Beta Testing stage at the moment.

Into Cars: Try Anki Overdrive

The Anki Overdrive set allows kids to control physical cars around a track from their mobile phones. With customisable tracks, kids can create their cars’ destinies.

Available from their website, kids can start off with beginners kits from $149.

The Anki App

Drive Cars, Learn to Code: SAM’s Curious Cars

SAM Labs makes kits of electronic blocks (like Lego from the future) and an app where kids can build and program their own inventions. SAM’s Curious Cars allows them to use their mobile phones, tablets, or computers to code their way to power by programming the behaviour of the physical blocks. The best part about the Curious kit — besides the educational benefits — is the modularity of the blocks. With the same six blocks, you can make a million more toys, as directed by the projects on their website.

The SAM’s Curious Cars kit is making coding as fun as racing. Available on their website for $199, the app is free.

For the Star Wars fan: Sphero’s B B 8™

If you’re looking for a connected toy that ‘shows gravity what’s up’, then this one’s for you. Your kid can drive BB8 anywhere, down the stairs, shred corners, or conquer carpets with this little guy that always stays upright.

Feel the force; buy Sphero’s BB8 here for $149.

Feeling a bit better about the cell you bought your 10 year old son for his birthday? Well here’s Christmas sorted.

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Interested in learning more about SAM Labs? Clickety click on here.