You don't really appreciate how absurd it is to ask a parent what a 1-year-old wants for their birthday until you have a 1-year-old (Hint: all they want are things to chew on and the box that the biggest toy came in).
But once they turn 2, you might find their tastes are slightly more sophisticated. Gadgets, especially electronics may begin to capture their interest in new ways. And while most pediatricians recommend you limit screen time to less than 2 hours daily, there's plenty your little one can learn from a little technology.
The best electronic toys for toddlers
For your benefit (ok, and mine too!) I tested some of the newest cardboard-free toddler toys in the market on my 2-year-old. Here's 5 of our faves.
1. Play-Doh TOUCH Shape to Life Studio: This is a nifty electronic take on the Play-Doh you grew up with. Spend some time rolling and shaping, then use the iOS app to scan your creation and take it on an adventure! This is a great toy for your budding Claymation animator.
2. Pixlplay: This innovative Kickstarter turns your smartphone into a toddler-friendly camera, rendering it drop-proof and dirt-resistant. Your tot can have fun clicking away and even use the app to “edit" their own pictures. There's even a working shutter button and adjustable faux-focus lens for authenticity.
3. CogniToys Dino: Ever wonder if Amazon's Alexa had an imaginary friend growing up? If she did, I bet it was the CogniToys Dino. Kids can ask the Dino any question that they can think of, and the answers are pulled from a kid-friendly database (which the CogniToys team updates regularly). It can also read stories, lead meditations, and even learn your child's favorite food.
4. Amazon Fire 8 Kids' Edition Tablet: I actually bought this for my daughter as a Christmas gift when she was fifteen months old, and to my surprise she learned how to use it immediately. They come with a year of unlimited Amazon FreeTime, and by setting up your child's profile you ensure they only have access to age-appropriate content. My favorite part is the two-year “no questions asked" warranty, which ensures a full replacement of the device (and it has already come in handy).
5. CTA Digital 2-in-1 iPotty: There are two kinds of people in this world: those who bring their phone to the bathroom with them, and those who wish they had. This toilet seat does double doo-ty as an activity center, safely securing an iPad behind a splash-resistant, smudge-proof screen protector. This is necessity plus innovation at its finest, and somehow sums up the hilarity and “whatever works" approach that is much of parenting--in my house, at least.