Tech expert and IBM network founder Todd Townsend stopped by this week to share three of the top traditional toys with a ‘technical edge’ for kids this holiday season.
Candace Rose: What are some of the top gifts on every kids holiday wish list this season?
Todd Townsend: “Kids are kind of looking at things that combine traditional with technology, and we’ve got three of those here (please see video for details!)-
The first, I’ve got something called the Urban Shredder, which is by Hot Wheels and Dynacraft, and this is a combination of a motorcycle, a skateboard, and kind of a high-tech super electric motor all into one (please see video for details and demonstration). You’re kind of leaning on your chest on this, near the floor, it’s kind of like one of those speeder bikes from the Star Wars movies. It has a top speed of 10 miles an hour, so it’s whizzing around down on the floor. It’s for the middle age kids from 8-12, so not for the super young ones, and not for the older teenagers. It’s got a rechargeable battery so you don’t have to charge the batteries, so you just plug it into the wall. It’ll run for a full hour on a charge, so it’s nice on run time. So that’s kind of combining the old skateboard with a lot of high-tech and it looks really cool too.
Also, we have the Webkinz which look like traditional stuffed animals, and there’s all kinds of different ones in a collection. In fact the newest ones for the holiday season are Minty Moose and Rockerz Horse, if you’re collecting those for your kids. But the thing about Webkinz is you bring them home from the store, they each have a unique name tag on them with a code and you take that code and go to the Webkinz site online, put in the code and then that animal becomes part of the Webkinz online world, that actual animal. And your child can use that to play different games- learning games, fun games with other Webkinz kids online from anywhere in the world. Now they’ve also added Facebook game page as well, so there’s a Webkinz Facebook page where they can go and play Webkinz games on Facebook and also a free iPad app, so if you’re one of those families that has multiple devices and multiple children they can all go into different areas and use their Webkinz online and play together. So they really upped the game adding traditional stuffed toy to the virtual world, that’s something we’re seeing a lot.
Who doesn’t remember LEGOs from years and years ago? These have been around forever, they’re great. You never get tired of them. They started out as regular square blocks and you use your imagination and put something together, and LEGOs really upped their game now. They have their new Architecture series, and this takes famous buildings from around the world such as Big Ben from London here in front of me, and Villa Savoye which is just outside of Paris, in France. Two very famous buildings and they’re very, very detailed models. These are not traditional just block LEGOs, you can actually build all the different parts of those buildings. But along with that come detailed booklets inside that not only explain how to assemble this, but it also gives you a lot of background history about the building itself and the architect who designed it. So if you’ve got a child who is really into doing something with their hands in engineering or architecture, it’s not only a way to have fun but who knows it might just spur a career in the future. So these are for the older LEGOs type kids which would be about 12 and up. They’re very detailed.
So three very different things here where you’ve combined something from the past and added a technical edge to make them sort of new again.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Todd Townsend: “Well, I think if you’re shopping for this holiday season a lot of people always ask ‘Where do I get the best deals or look for things like this’? The normal search sites so if you go to things like Google Shopper or go to some of the search sites and compare prices. There’s also a lot of the brick and mortar stores that you walk in now that are getting better on prices as well, so even if you go online to learn more information about it, it’s still fun to go out in the store and actually buy it and walk around during the holidays. The internet has made it a way for you to find more information, but also integrate that into your traditional shopping methods.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information on everything you mentioned?
Todd Townsend: “Well, for everything if you go to MoreAboutThat.info you can find more information on everything I’ve got here.”