Tech toys for kids tested for holiday gifting


Who doesn't love a good game of Monopoly? Especially when you can use an iPad to keep track of your cash, or break out of jail by playing a game on the tablet computer.

"One of the big trends this year are toys that interact with apps on your smartphone or tablet," said Carol Mangis, ShopSmart. "And we thought the Monopoly game was a lot more fun with an app."

The Monopoly "Zapped" edition costs $30. You download the app for free.

ShopSmart sampled 11 other tech toys too.

Sifteo Cubes, for $130, is a favorite for kids age 7 and older.

"Sifteo Cubes are pricey, but there's no other toy like them," said Mangis. "Kids will play with them for hours."

First you download the software to add games to the interactive cubes. Then shake, flip, tilt, or press the blocks to play a variety of brainy puzzle or math-challenge games.

If you want everybody off the couch, try Mattel's Loopz Shifter game for $45. Players 7 and up use their best karate-chop-like moves to repeat a pattern.

And there are tech toys for creative kids, like the Crayola Digital Light Designer for $60. Budding artists age 6 and older can move the wand to draw pictures with LED lights. They look even cooler in the dark.

"This toy is magical, but there is one drawback: Its motor is really loud," said Mangis.

And for $20, the SmartLab DJ Rock Dock lets kids 8 and up build a speaker dock that really works. Don't expect high fidelity, but your child will love being able to say, "I made it myself!"

Also likely to be popular again this holiday season are tablet computers for kids. Consumer Reports is in the process of testing these, and we'll get the results to you as soon as they're in.

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