Smartwatches, drones, lights controlled from our mobile or connected scooters are already a reality in our everyday life. Connectivity and data storage have been gradually taking over the consumer products market and it was only a matter of time until it reached the children’s entertainment industry.
Toy brands know well the concerns of parents to protect their children and to keep them located. They also know that children are their future consumers and that, in fact, they are already demanding consumers. Trying to face these two issues, manufacturers decided to launch smart and connected products for children. This way, they provide peace of mind for parents and fun for children, opening a new category in the traditional market of toys.
Design, software complexity and usability of these toys are essential to attract the attention of children, who are starting to embrace technology at younger ages, and making safer toysis essential for the parents’ peace of mind, who perceive children are more vulnerable in this digital environment.
Remember when interactive toys arrived? Tamagotchi or Furby were the first toys a child could maintain a virtual interaction with. It was the latest technology in toys in the 90s, but today seems very far away. IoT has brought to the market complex toys that not only interact with the user, but connect with other devices and communicate with them.
For digital natives, connected toys are very attractive, even more if they can be operated remotely from a Smartphone. 61% of children between 10 and 15 years old have a smartphone. Considering that nowadays children start using smartphones at 13, connected toys could help to develop their digital skills as early as 2 or 3 years old and to teach them until they have their own telephone. In addition, these new forms of interactive and participatory games favor digital literacy and allow children to develop competences and technological skills in the most natural way: learning through play.
IoT interactive toysare smart devices with technology to interact via Wi-Fi with other devices at home and also with equipment from the same manufacturer.
Toys such as tablets, programmable robots or interactive dolls have complex functions such as facial or voice recognition and are able to interact with children by answering their questions or imitating their movements. They can also record games and then store all that data in the cloud. This is where the issue of privacy becomes very important, so it’s important to choose products that offer privacy guarantees.
Teksta Dog Robot 4Gis an example of this kind of toy, a robotic pet that interacts with kids and can be controlled with a mobile app. Kids can program it and choose how their pet behaves. This robot dog learns progressively and answers to both the app and the child’s voice, to the point of jumping and turning if asked. It has an LED screen that allows it to express six different emotions and it comes with a bone, also connected, that lights up when he needs to eat. This teaches the child how to manage different variables through monitoring.
We can also find the Minion MIP turbo Dave. This toy i sable to talk to the child and be guided by gestures and an app connected via Bluetooth. The most interesting thing is that the app contains blocks of educational programming. Through a simple coding system the child can program it to perform different tasks and design circuits so that he can walk along them.
Children have an innate tendency to creativity, so the most interesting feature of these toys is precisely that they offer a creative and enriching dimension. With all these games kids are not a mere consumer, but become creators. This is not a constant exposure to screens, but it has an educational goal where they learn to build, design or program.