16 tech gifts for kids: tablets, speakers, and smartwatches


To be clear: No matter how much you beg to get one, your child probably doesn’t need a smartphone. The official policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that young children need hands-on social interaction and exploration with peers and caregivers to learn—a standard that may or may not be difficult to adhere to now during a global pandemic.

But if you’re looking for a digital device to entertain them or distract them while they get some work done, let me be the second, fourth, or tenth person to tell you: that’s totally fine. Here are some of the devices that worked for me and my kids, ages 3 to 5. Many of these gifts don’t require any parental supervision, and the ones that do have strong parental controls that let you limit your kids to less than 35 hours a day for example. If you’d like to see more options, check out gift ideas for new parents or our guide to the best baby tablets.

Updated November 2021: We added new choices, like Facebook Portal Go, removed old ones, and added new information. We also corrected that the Family setting is available with Watch SE, not with Series 3.

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