When you think about it, you really only get 2 days a year to make or break your kid’s dreams. And unless you’re raising Besty Ross, Flag Day is not one of them. So don’t screw it up. Here are 10 gifts guaranteed to win any 7-year-old’s birthday.
Nerf Battle Racer
The Nerf Battle Racer by Hauck Toys is a 4-wheeled mutant Bigwheel designed to let your kid go mini Mad Max all over the neighborhood. It’s got 2 blaster storage brackets in the front, 2 in the rear, extra dart storage between the 2 front guns and in driver’s seat compartments, 3-point steering, and a hand brake. Unfortunately, with a weight limit of 110 pounds, this junior combat Jeep cannot contain an overzealous dad. So, if you swiped your kid’s Nerf longbow and want in on the action, you’re going to have to chase them around the neighborhood the old fashioned way: with one of these.
Beasts of Balance
The goal of Beasts of Balance is for 1-to-4 players to build the most fantastical imaginary beast world imaginable on their tablet screen. To do that, they take turns scanning and stacking real life animal figures and other oddly shaped pieces on a wirelessly connected platform. Each new beast is born into the digital world, where they evolve, interact, transform and generally get crazier as the Noah’s Ark Jenga tower continues to rise. To establish a new high score, players must learn how the different digital pieces affect each other while improving their dexterity enough to balance a shark on top of a bear on top of some weird curvy things. When the tower collapses, it’s game over.
The click-click-click 3D View-Master of your youth is now a sleek, safe-for-kids-to-drop Google Cardboard virtual reality headset that holds any 6-inch (or smaller) smartphone. And that popular Batman: The Animated Series cartoon you watched religiously in middle school? It’s now a VR game with the same voices (Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, etc), the same villains (the Joker, The Riddler, and Two-Face), the same sets (the Bat Cave, the trophy room, the crime lab). The only difference is that you (and eventually your kids) get to fly the Batwing, go on missions, and help save Gotham.
Hoping to recreate the great Furby craze of 98, the folks at Hasbro have retooled this furry interactive robot with Bluetooth and a smartphone app. It still sings, talks, and generally reminds you of Gizmo the Gremlin. But now its antenna also lights up every time there’s a new game, video, or activity waiting for your kid on their tablet. And because the kids seem to like the Pokemon Go, there’s an augmented reality component: Shoot food out of an animated cannon in the app and Furby eats; hold Furby over a toilet on the app and squeeze its belly and, well, you get the idea.
Actev Arrow Smart-Kart
Actev is a Silicon Valley go-kart startup looking to be the “Ultimate Driving Machine” for those who just learned to spell BMW. The Arrow Smart-Kart has a rigid steel frame, 2 independent 120W electric motors, obstacle avoidance technology (remember, this is a go-kart), and a contoured seat with dual speakers. Most striking is the fact that parents can control the cart via the mobile app. In other words, if Junior guns it for a busy intersection, the engine can be instantly disabled. Or, as your like to call it, the “buzzkill switch.”
Coco Color Stylus
Think of the Coco as a 21st-century version of that fat 4-color click pen everybody wanted in elementary school. It’s a giant, battery-operated writing implement that kids (7 – 12) can use to color/draw on any smartphone or tablet, using one of the 2 free apps. Actually, with 4 styles (pen, pencil, pastel, and paint brush) and 48 base colors, it’s more like an entire art set. Each mode features 4 stroke sizes and each color includes 6 shades, for a grand total of “768 stroke, color, style, and size combinations.” That’s 768 crayons and markers you don’t have to scrub off the damn floor.
As a piece of jewelry, Jewelbots are bracelets that come with 3 interchangeable bands and 2 flower charms. You can mix and match, trade with friends (their friends, not yours), and buy other styles more to your daughter’s liking. Simple enough, right? Except not really, because these things aren’t ordinary jewelry. Thanks to “patent pending electronics” (but no GPS tracking), the bracelets can sync over Bluetooth with up to 8 other Jewelbots, allowing friends to send each other secret messages. How else would they? Paper?
Glow City LED Light Up Basketball
Glow City is an official NBA-sized No. 7 rock that lights up red in the dark thanks to 2 embedded “Hi-Bright” LEDs. The impact-activated lights are powered by replaceable 1.5-volt coin batteries (included) and illuminate as soon as the ball is bounced, so there’s no on-off switch. If you only dribbled the ball once before putting it under your arm to regale your kid with tales of your sophomore-year intramural basketball championship, the lights will cut out in 40 seconds. Bounce it again though and you’ll be able to see the bored expression on Junior’s face.
Ikos 3D Building Toys Creator Pack
Named after the 20-sided geometric shape, which you probably know as an icosahedron, Ikos is like a modular, 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. It’s comprised of 26 identical recycled plastic pieces that snap together to form a perfect sphere. But, since nobody wants to build a ball over and over, they also interlock in endless combinations of designs so kids can get creative and make 3D “art.” In the process they’ll purportedly learn about spatial relations, problem-solving, and what the hell an icosahedron is.
Handtrux Beach Backhoe
For a truck-obsessed little kid, the only thing cooler than seeing a bulldozer is being a bulldozer. Handtrux makes it suddenly possible for them to move more sand with their little hands than they ever could with a normal shovel, and, as a bonus, it doubles as a sweet Transformers costume come Halloween.