Over 150,00 people from all over the world flocked to The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to marvel at the latest innovations.
Eye-poppingly-large TVs were and never-before-seen technologies were unveiled (a flexible mobile phone screen!). There were also several products and new technologies that will change the way we learn and play.
Of course, the big entertainment brands (Barbie, Nickelodeon, etc) all had their electronics on show. And LEGO® amazed the crowd with their new Mindstorms robots.
If you’re looking for new ideas for playing or learning with your kids on your smartphone or tablet—or you’re interested in exploring some of the latest tech tools, take a look at these less-expected little CES show gems that people were excited about.
Flip Boom Cartoon App
Toon Boom is no stranger to accolades. Their animation products and technologies have won them tons of awards, from the Editor’s Choice by the prestigious Children’s Technology Review to several Parent’s Choice awards. They even have a Primetime Emmy® Engineering Award on their mantel.
Their Flip Boom Cartoon app lets you and your kids easily create cartoons on your iPad, complete with sounds (or your recorded voices). You can share the cartoon with family and friends and turn your drawings into fun collaborative projects. Then share with everyone on Facebook, YouTube or via email. My five-year-old and I are already working on an alphabet cartoon that we can’t wait to share with family. Would be a great tool for kid-created e-cards, too.
Available for $2.99 on the iTunes App Store (launch special—regular price $4.99). A desktop version will be available soon and Toon Boom is developing new apps for Android, Windows 8 and RT.
The concept is simple: toothbrushes that play music while you brush your teeth.
But sometimes simple is best. There was always a crowd at the Brush Buddies booth. Highlights from their product line were the Lady Gaga singing toothbrush and the PSY singing (Gangnam Style) toothbrush.
These singing toothbrushes play songs for two minutes to keep kids and teens entertained while they brush longer. In addition to pop-music-themed brushes, Brush Buddies has a line-up of cartoon animal brushes that even give your child brushing tips, telling them when to smile big or open wide. This writer went home with a Justin Bieber toothbrush that has already made toothbrushing something to dance about.
Brush Buddies toothbrushes range from $5 – $15 and you can find them at pharmacies and several retailers as well as online.
Polaroid Kids Tablet
Polaroid was a big winner at CES.
They debuted not just instant-print and other cameras, but a whole slew of well-designed electronics, including a kids tablet. Now, a tablet that’s just for kids isn’t a completely new idea, but Polaroid’s new 7-inch Android tablet is packed with unique, and thoughtfully designed features, all for an affordable price.
The buttons are big and easy to press, and it looks like jam would wipe right off of it. It comes loaded with over 200 educational and entertaining apps, books, and videos (filtered by age and topic). There are plenty of parental control options. And the employee who showed it to me even let me drop the tablet to test its rubberized design. Yep, it’s kid-proof (and clumsy-parent-proof, too).
Available now for $150.
MyScript Calculator App
The Mobile App Showdown at CES is a fierce competition.
And the top prize this year went to … a math app. No, really. The MyScript Calculator helps you perform mathematical operations using your own handwriting. It’s easy and intuitive—just like writing on paper. A terrific app for budding mathematicians or parents who need to make a quick calculation.
What’s revolutionary and impressive here is the handwriting recognition technology. Write “3+2= ” on the screen and MyScript converts symbols and numbers to digital text and delivers the result: “5”. You can even scratch-out your mistakes, just like you would in real life. It can even help your child with spelling. MyScript also tells you if letters and words are shaped and spelled correctly.
Available for both iOS and Android, the MyScript Calculator is free at app stores.
No CES round-up would be complete without mentioning the iPotty.
The press has been abuzz about this child-sized toilet with a built-in iPad stand. And reviewers and consumers feel strongly about it, too. Some say it is bizarre; some say it is groundbreaking. Its makers say it can be a revolutionary tool to help children toilet train. Sure, pooping is more fun when you are watching Dora the Explorer. Whatever your feelings about it, it shows a trend that is in full swing: iPads being added to everything.
Debuts in March on Amazon for around $40.