8 essential tech gadgets, gear and games for your kids this summer

The summer of 2021 should be a marked improvement from the pandemic-strapped summer of 2020, and your kids deserve perks after an isolated and awkward school year.

Anticipation for summer this year has a decidedly different vibe, stemming from the anxiety-filled, pandemic-induced, sheltering- and schooling-from-home year. School attendance and schedules varied throughout the country, not just from state-to-state, but city-to-city and public or private. The inconsistencies have resulted in many districts considering adding days to the school year. Many children had difficulty adjusting to virtual school, so summer activities that add low-key learning are especially beneficial.

Balance your summer activities. Be sure you have enough wind-down activities and reading material, too. Epic, a digital reading platform designed for kids 12 and under recently released a report,  “Read All About It: A Report on the State of Kids’ Reading Habits and Interests During the Pandemic” which found that reading increased 89% during the pandemic, it make kids happy, helps them to understand the world around them and cope with challenges. It also makes the kids curious, and fosters family conversation.

If you travel with your kids, you can take them camping or for a visit to the national parks, but be sure you have a supply of anti-bacterial wipes and consider a portable UV wand. Clean hotel rooms or at least wipe down as much as you.

For a staycation with the kids, set up a camp in the backyard and encourage them to try out these enticing learning-tool toys and more, inside or out of the home.

Image: Osmo

Math Wizard continues Osmo’s mission of encouraging kids to embrace math. The “approach allows kids to learn math through tactile play and use of creativity and imagination, so much that they are eager, if not thrilled, to learn more,” said Pramod Sharma, Osmo CEO. The self-paced series of games that build math confidence, decrease anxiety and let kids experience math through adventure-driven games. The series is intended for kids 6- to 8-years-old. The two new releases, available for iPad and Fire are “Math Wizard and the Amazing Airships,” which features two games with one magical board, 16 ship pieces and 12 balloon pieces; and “Math Wizard and the Enchanted World Games,” which features features two games and contains one lunchbox mat, 27 fruit and veggie pieces, one juice mat, 12 fruit strips and one magical token.

$60 at Amazon


Image: LilGadgets

These high-performance children’s headphones are compact, foldable, non-pinching, with snag-free cushioning and comfy fixed ear cup design, said the manufacturer. They’re ideal for trips or playing in the backyard. With a max volume of 93db, LilGadgets headphones reduce outside noise so kids don’t have to crank up the volume. It comes with a SharePort so two children can share a device without sharing headphones and includes a built-in microphone. LilGadgets Connect+ line is wired and designed for kids 3 and older. It features a larger, over-the-ear headphone and reinforced with stainless steel. LilGadgets Untangled Pro model is a wireless Bluetooth headphone that gives children the freedom to roam up to 30 feet away from their device while wearing them. Price listed is the starting price, and LilGadgets can range to $54.

$15 at Amazon


Image: Engino

The programmable robots are supported with a curriculum so children can learn the digital side of thinking and how to do programming, coding and more. Engino kits are used in schools around the world, including the United States, the U.K., Brazil, Israel and Norway.

GinoBot provides STEM benefits, too.

$99 at Kickstarter pre-order


Image: SelfSafe

This is a sporty USB emergency identification bracelet that holds important documents, images and information in case you’re separated from your child: medical, insurance, travel documents, personal identifications, vaccination certifications and more.

$35 at SelfSafe


Image: Embodied

Moxie is a smart robot-companion designed for “social-emotional learning” or “play-based learning.” It comes with an entire learning platform for children ages 5 to 10, and includes a parent app, “Monthly Mission Packs” and a kids portal. Purchase comes with a one-year subscription.

$1,500 at Embodied


Image: Razor

Designed for kids ages 8 and up, it features an LED light-up deck, 8-inch air-filled front tire, with up to 40 minutes continuous ride time. It is powered by a 100-watt, high-torque, single-speed, chain-driven motor that delivers speeds up to 10 mph or 16 km/h). It comes with a rechargeable 24V (two 12V) sealed-lead-acid battery system.

$154 at Amazon


Image: Kidzone

Rechargeable ride-on toy bumper car that can spin 360-degrees with its joystick or remote controls. It has a max speed of .75mph. This six-volt electric spinning car is a great introduction to the world of kids’ electric cars. It has a plastic shell and soft bumper outside system. Its safety features include being ASTM-certified with a safety belt, anti-flat tires and light. It is recommended for children ages 18 months and older. No assembly, just connect the battery wire, ready to go straight out of the box. Cars can be personalized with numbers from 00 to 99, which are included.

$170 at Amazon


Image: Viro

It’s a scooter, it’s a bike, it’s both in one vehicle. It features variable-speed throttle with “intuitive” controls and has a 40-minute average run time and up to 10 miles-per-hour top speed through core power of 100-watt DC motor with chain drive. There’s a height-adjustable handlebar. With a push of a button the electric scooter can be transformed into an electric bike, as well as be folded away for storage. The Viro Electric Scooter also comes with a lever-activated disc brake, dual kickstands (one each for scooter and bike), safety footpegs for footrests, and running LED lights for riders’ visibility. The manufacturer said its gripping tires are good for either indoors and outdoors. The motor and chain drive are fully enclosed, and the underside is covered, as well.

$292 at Amazon

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