The kids are back in school and before you know it, department stores will beat us all in the head with their in-store holiday playlists. Since molding a small, energetic savage into a responsible adult is job where you never get a vacation, I’ve pulled together a few of the parent and kid-friendly gadgets that folks should look out for this fall season.
With more people moving towards “cutting the cable” and getting their entertainment fix from the internet, set-top boxes like Apple TV, Roku and the like are increasing in popularity. High-end tech company NVIDIA released their combination streaming/video game console the Shield. It’s about the size of a small notebook and about the same weight. Shield supports the usual streaming suspects like Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO Go. What sets this apart from it’s competitors, though, is that you can also stream video games as well as TV shows and movies. These aren’t cheesy knock-off games either, there’s blockbuster titles like the Batman Arkham series, Borderlands and The Witcher 2.
On the back of the Shield, there are USB 3.0 (The fastest USB speed at the moment) ports where you can plug in an external hard drive with your media collection and a slot for micro SD cards for you to play the weird videos you saved to your phone on a big screen.
No one entrusts their expensive headphones to hands that aren’t old enough to get a job to replace them. The Kidz Gear Deluxe Stereo Headset is a pair of junior cans that are specifically made for mobile devices and tablets. Since video chatting has become such a big part of how we communicate, the Kidz Gear headset comes with a boom microphone that can swivel up and out of the way when not in use. There’s an adapter that allows parents to plug in their own headphones to monitor what the youngin is pouring into their ears. To protect hearing, there’s even a function that can limit the amount of loud your child can crank the sound up to.
The smartwatch is one of the greatest tools a parent can have. When it comes to reminders, it’s like having someone next to you tap your arm when stuff needs to get done. With the Apple Watch a success, it’s only expected for their nemesis Samsung to announce their latest smartwatch, the Gear S2. This time around, Samsung gave the previous watch’s rectangular shape the boot in exchange for a circular design. That’s great news for parenting machines that prefer not look like actual machines. There hasn’t been any word on the release date or price at the time of this writing but rumor strongly suggests being able to get hands on one late fall.
Available October 25 in the Apple App Store
Kids go nuts over the Skylanders games. Just when you think you’ve shut them up with latest one, a newer version comes out for them to bug you about. This fall, Skylanders is adding iPads and iPod Touches to their landscape with the SuperChargers line. There’s a starter package (cheaper option) that comes with a controller and stand for the toys to interact with the game. All connect to your tablet via Bluetooth. Don’t worry, if you can’t figure all that stuff out, your kid will already know how to set it all up.
Because there’s never a time with a kid when you won’t need a water-resistant keyboard. Logitech’s Keys To Go line of portable keyboards are extremely useful as it’s not limited to phones and tablets. It can also be used for devices like Apple TV. It’s light, has great battery life and can withstand an excited toddler who is still getting that drinking from a cup thing down.
Larry Hester is a Brooklyn-born writer who’s written for Vibe, BET.com, The Source, Complex and more. He now resides in Newark, New Jersey with his wife and son. He welcomes any parenting advice or encouragement. Check him out on Facebook and Twitter @almostcooldad.