Finally, 2020 is coming to an end and December the 25th is fast approaching. You may well have purchased all your holiday gifts months ago. Or (like me) have left it all until the last minute! Either way, I thought it might be fun to look at my pick of the trending Christmas gifts for kids in 2020.
In my selection, I’ve chosen three gifts suitable for both boys and girls, that have great reviews and are under $100. Will your child be receiving one?
1. STEM Robot for Young Programmers
Botley the Coding Robot 2.0 – is a toy that enables kids to have their first coding experience.
In recent years, teaching children how to code has become important in a world where computer technology becomes ever more prevalent. So it’s not surprising that toys that teach kids to code have gained significant popularity.
Where to Buy – Can be purchased at Target, Amazon, and other good retailers.
How Much – Prices start at $64.99.
Age Range – 4 to 7 years.
What it Does
The first version of this toy won Innovative Toy of the Year in 2019. This updated version for 2020 is even smarter with more features.
Using this 78-piece activity set, kids can be solving their first coding and STEM challenges within minutes. Botley 2.0 is said to be the smartest coding robot yet. He allows your kids to learn the basic principles of coding through screen-free play.
Botley can move in six directions, he detects obstacles in his path and can even put on a light show. He’ll transform into a police car, train, ghost, and more. Kids can play ‘Botley Says’ and test their memory with lights and sounds. Coding sequences of up to 150 steps can be programmed into the robot, and he even works in the dark using his built-in lights and sensors.
The set includes Botley 2.0 Robot, programmer remote, 2 different sets of detachable arms, coding cards, coding boards, various obstacles, and glow in the dark stickers. There is also a detailed instruction book.
Requires five triple AAA batteries, which are not included.
This endearing robot is a great way to teach kids about programming without any screen time. Instead, it uses activity concepts to teach technology.
In the online customer reviews, many parents who’d purchased the toy for older children said their younger siblings also enjoyed using the robot while under adult supervision.
2. The Creative Collectible
LEGO Super Mario Adventures – These days, it’s hard to get away from the fact that kids want to play video games. The next trending Christmas gift for kids I’m going to share with you has its roots in the gaming world. Still, LEGO has taken the characters from the video game and turned them into a building toy that allows your child to be even more creative.
We know too much screen time is bad for our children. It causes sleep problems, increases anxiety, depression, and attention issues. It can also be a component of childhood obesity due to a lack of physical activity. We are, however, in an age where screen time is part of our lives, so finding toys such as this that bridge the real world and the digital world may be beneficial.
Where to Buy – Can be purchased at Walmart, Amazon, and other good retailers.
How Much – Prices start at $91.00.
Age Range – 6 years and up
What it Does
This innovative toy was four years in development. It takes the well-known video game character Mario and turns him into a LEGO brick with a difference. LEGO Super Mario has tiny LCD screens built in that allow him to show his emotions just as he does in the video game. This is achieved with the seven action bricks included in the set, which trigger different reactions in LEGO Mario. But that’s not all, you can also hear Mario’s iconic tunes and sounds, too, with the included speaker!
It’s more than just a model, it’s a game, and coins are earned by moving LEGO Mario through the course. The layout of the bricks can be changed again and again to create more fun adventures for Mario to master. There’s also a free LEGO Super Mario app to make play even more fun and entertaining.
What I like about this gift is that it promotes creativity and problem-solving skills in your kids. It doesn’t have to involve screen time at all, and I think overall, it’s a great new concept.
By the way: If you are into video games and would like to read more about my take on enjoying video games with your kids and also be a responsible mom or dad, as well as some recommendations on what to play, make sure to read my article on playing video games with your kids.
3. The ‘Just for Fun’ Toy
Squeakee the Balloon Dog – Sometimes you just have to allow the kids to have fun, and that’s exactly what this, my first pick is all about.
Made by Squeakee, this robotic dog is designed to look as if it’s made from balloons. You know, like the ones a magician makes at kid’s parties? There are two variations: the all red Squeakee Balloon Dog or Spotty, the Dalmation Squeakee Balloon Dog.
Where to Buy – Both options can be purchased at Amazon, Target, or other good retailers.
How Much – Prices start from $44.88.
Age Range – 5 years to adult.
What it Does
There are all kinds of robotic dogs on the market, but what I like about this trending Christmas gift for kids is that it looks completely different from all the rest. It’s not trying to be a real dog or even a robot dog. It’s original and fun and actually behaves like a dog made from balloons, without the annoying popping part.
The device responds to the voice and includes a pump, a toy that squeaks, and a pin. By pushing the pin into his back, you’ll hear a ‘Pop’ sound, and the Squeakee behaves as if he’s been burst and is deflating (it’s OK though, he isn’t really). If you want to use the pump and re-inflate him, just push it into his nose, and he’ll act as if he’s being blown up again.
The squeaker toy is used to train Squeakee. He’ll sit, stand, beg, and get excited on hearing the squeak toy when he’s played with. If his tummy is tickled, he’ll roll over for more. Kids love it when they feed him with his pump, as it makes him pee and fart! As the dog reacts to voice input, he’ll respond if you tell him he’s being naughty.
A finalist in the Toy of the Year Awards 2021, this robotic pet is in with a chance of winning a top prize. Winners will be announced in February 2021.
Also listed on Bullseye’s Top Toys, a list of the best toys for this holiday season.
Kids love how a toy such as this directly interacts with them, and I think it would be a sure ‘just for fun’ winner on Christmas day.
Squeakee requires 4 AA batteries that are not supplied with the toy. He isn’t suitable for children under three, due to small parts.
Increasingly kids want gifts that involve some form of technology. Still, just because these three trending Christmas gifts for Kids do have electronic wizardry, it doesn’t mean that other old-time favorites won’t also be appreciated too.
For me, any gift that combines education with entertainment, and kids enjoy, again and again, is always a winner. This can include board games or leisure equipment like bikes, skates, or scooters.
But gifts don’t have to be physical items, they can be activities too, such as swimming, musical instrument or horseback riding lessons. At the end of the day, you know your kids best, and they’ll often let you know what they want themselves, especially as they get older.
For younger kids, there are also some evergreens: I’ve compiled a list of my best toy-picks that me and my back-then three-year-old son Benjamin enjoyed to play together a lot! Make sure to check it out!
If you have anything to add, or would like to share your personal experience with some of the toys I’ve suggested above, please let me know in the comments below. Together we can make this list grow for next year’s Christmas 🙂
Here’s to hoping everyone loves what they receive this holiday season.
All the best,