The best kids' tech coming in 2020
These 10 products could make parenting easier and more fun
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Every year, I'm amazed at how many new products are available for parents and kids. In the seven years since I had my first kiddo, the range of gadgets and gizmos that purport to make life easier for parents and their offspring has just exploded. Whether you're looking for a smart thermometer, a cordless breast pump, or the newest games and apps for your family's tablet, 2020 will deliver some major innovation for parents and kids.
I combed the aisles of this year's CES Tech Show in Las Vegas to find the newest—and greatest—products for parents and kids. Our Editors' Choice Award winners come from a variety of categories, but these are the 10 family-oriented products that stood out the most, and that all parents are going to want to purchase as soon as they're available.
1. Baby Brezza Formula Pro Advanced WiFi
I used the OG Formula Pro with my daughter, but the newest version takes formula feeding to a whole new (awesome) level. The WiFi-enabled device pairs with a smartphone app so that you can make warm formula bottles with just the tap of a finger. Got a baby who consistently wakes up to be fed at 4:17am? You can program the Formula Pro to have that bottle ready and waiting before your babe lets out their first cry. You can track your baby’s feeding, control the bottle size and temperature of the water, and even auto-order formula to be delivered to your door all through the app. The Formula Pro Advanced is launching in June, but you can pre-order it today on the babybrezza website.
2. Pali Bedtime Buddy
While there are a number of clocks on the market that claim to train kids to stay in their beds until a certain time in the morning, I’ve yet to find one that actually works. The Pali Bedtime Buddy sleep training clock combines all the components of existing “sleep trainer” clocks with new features such as a digital countdown timer and a reward drawer where parents can tuck treats or tokens. The Pali Bedtime Buddy pairs with an app via Bluetooth, through which parents can set and control sleep and wake-up times, and even remotely lock the reward drawer so that kids can’t access treats on days they get up too early.
3. Willow Generation 3 Breast Pump
Working moms everywhere rejoice: 2020 is the year of the wearable, portable breast pump. The Willow 2 was one of our award winners last year, and their newer model, the Willow Generation 3, is even better. The third version features an extended range of pump sensitivity settings, plus a reusable milk container, and it pairs with Willow's retooled app to help moms maximize their pumping output. The Willow makes it possible for pumping moms to pump anywhere, as it fits right inside a nursing bra and doesn't require any cords or tubes.
4. myFirst Camera 3
While it’s certain to appeal to kids just based on the design and colors alone, the newest iteration of the myFirst Camera, myFirst Camera 3 features both a front and back lens in case your kid is all about that #selfie life (and whose isn't?). Like others in the line, it spits out black-and-white prints of whatever photos your child snaps in just 10 seconds. But perhaps the most amazing feature of the myFirst Camera 3 is that it saves the snapshots to a memory card so that parents can print out high-quality, color versions of the photos on their home photo printer. There are no pixelated photos here: The shots that your budding shutterbug takes print beautifully in larger sizes. It's the Polaroid camera for the modern generation.
The Lexilight is a portable desk light designed just for kids (and adults) who have Dyslexia. The majority of people with Dyslexia have two dominant eyes—instead of one—which causes both eyes to send simultaneous information to their brain, thereby creating mirror images of letters. The Lexilight emits pulsed and modulated light to suppress the mirror effect, which it claims makes reading far less difficult for kids who struggle. If it works as well as the founders claim, this could be some serious life-changing tech for those with Dyslexia.
There were a lot of coding toys at CES this year, but I found many of them far too complicated for the average kid. PlayShifu, a new line of STEM toys, offers simple, well designed games that kids will love. I was particularly impressed with their soon-to-be-released chemistry game, Tacto Elements, which makes learning chemical equations fun (no, really). Designed for kids on the older side—think 4 and up—each of PlayShifu's gaming sets come with one playboard and one companion app.
Tori is another STEM toy that I found fun and not too complicated, and I love that it combines crafty DIY with interactive play. Each of Tori's kits include a craft project that lets kids exercise their artistic side, and once assembled, these gizmos are used to play games that teach basic STEM concepts. The way it works is really pretty cool: A special magnet is placed inside your child's DIY creation, and once it's paired with the Tori game board, can be used to play a variety of games. I love that Tori combines art and tech into just-right-for-kids games.
Turn your child’s drawing into a simple video game with the Doodlematic kit and app. Whether your child is a regular Rembrandt or can barely draw a stick figure, the Doodlematic will work for them, and kids will love seeing their creations come to life. Scan your child’s artwork into the Doodlematic app, which recognizes colors to create rudimentary video games around the brightest parts of the drawings (think: Frogger). Doodlematic is one of the simplest ideas I saw at CES, and that's why it's a winner—it uses technology in a way that's accessible for kids of all ages.
I am all about technology that makes parenting easier, which is why I am obsessed with Winnie. The online platform is the first website that enables parents to find licensed daycares and preschools in their area. Users can search by specific criteria such as teaching philosophies or student-teacher ratio. Every childcare provider listed on Winnie is licensed by the state, and reviewed by real parents who've use the facilities. As if I needed another reason to love Winnie, here it is: The company is run by women who are working moms.
10. Hamelin and Scribzee
I think it's so cool when traditional companies find a way to integrate modern technology into their business. Hamelin invented a way to "pair" their paper products with smartphones and tablets using their Scribzee app. Kids can make flashcards on Hamelin's new Flash 2.0 notecards, and then use the app to scan them into their smartphones or tablets, so they can study on the go. The Flash 2.0 cards come in both 3-by-5 and 4-by-6 sizes, and 12 colors, so it's easy for kids to organize their cards by subject. Hamelin also offers college-ruled notebooks and graph paper books that pair with Scribzee as well, so your device-obsessed kids can never again claim they forget their notes at home.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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