We Want Your Feedback!

Please give us feedback on one of our weekly question and answer articles. We value your time so the evaluation will only take 3 minutes or less, we promise!

Take the Survey »

Tech Toys for Christmas

By Tasha Howard, Extension Assistant Professor

little girl by christmas tree on tablet

Each holiday season brings with it a new fancy game or tech gadget that is requested by children. Whether it is the latest model of a cell phone or the newest gaming system, or even the highest ‘learning’ games for your toddlers, when it comes to technology and gifts, it can be hard as a parent to sift through and decide if it is a good choice or a bad choice to give   this season. If you are having trouble deciding whether to gift a tech toy this season, here’s some things to consider.

Considerations for younger children:

  1. Is this toy going to help my child developmentally? Flashing lights, lots of sounds, and tons of buttons might make it entertaining for your child to play with, but according to research, when choosing a toy for younger children, it is important to assess how the toy will be used and if the toy will support development (Healey, 2019). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends choosing toys that are not over stimulating and that promote imagination and problem solving (Healey, 2019).
  2. Is this toy versatile? Children grow quickly in their younger years. Just like they outgrow clothes, they also outgrow toys. It is important when looking at what toys to buy children that you look at if the toy is long-lasting, versatile, and will keep children engaged at many different ages. One guideline the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests is to choose toys that can grow along with your child and understanding that simple toys can be just as useful as fancy toys (Healey, 2019).

Considerations for older children:

  1. Is my child ready to handle the tech I am giving them? Do they have the skills to navigate this technology safely? Especially when gifting internet enabled toys, it is important to make sure your children know how to appropriately behave in an internet setting. To learn more about ways to help children learn how to be safe online and navigate technology in appropriate ways, you can visit commonsensemedia.org.
  2. Does my child need the newest tech version? Even though the latest version of the iPhone is on their list, it may be a better idea to buy an older version or give a used phone. With the cost of a new phone, comes a lot of responsibility and it is easy to forget we are placing thousands of technology into the hands of our children for everyday use. 

There are many additional things to consider when deciding if it is worthwhile   to purchase a tech toy   for Christmas. One of the most helpful suggestions, according to research, is that parents ask themselves does this toy “foster positive interactions with others, encourage exploration and problem-solving, and spark the child’s imagination?” (Healey, 2019). No matter the age, choosing appropriate toys for Christmas is always an important task for parents and being able to be thoughtful in choosing those toys, especially toys with tech is an important skill for parents.


  • Healey, A. (2019, January 1). Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/143/1/e20183348/37330/Selecting-Appropriate-Toys-for-Young-Children-in?autologincheck=redirected
  • Reviews for what your kids are into (before they get into it) | Common Sense Media. (2021). Common Sense Media. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
  • Should Children Get iPhones for Christmas? Advise for Parents. (2021). TODAY.Com. https://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/should-children-get-iphones-for-christmas-advise-to-parents