Many of the best gadgets for kids combine entertainment and education. Some specially designed laptops, for example, help kids learn how to type, how to use common computer functions, and how to navigate operating systems, all while entertaining the kids with games and activities. Other gadgets for kids are designed to make life easier for parents; specially designed harnesses can be affixed to the child, and a lead or leash can be attached to the harness so a parent can prevent a child from getting lost in a crowd.
Classic gadgets for kids include microscopes, magnifying glasses, and butterfly nets. These items encourage them to get outside, be active, and learn about the environment around them. While many kids have strayed from such classic toys and gadgets, more modern gadgets for kids focus on much of the same activities: portable microscopes that can be tucked into a child's pocket have become popular, as have bug collection kits. Some toy kits come with safe tools that can encourage a child to do an archaeological dig in the backyard, complete with a rock hammer, shovel, and safety goggles.
As the popularity of the Internet has grown, so too has the availability of digital gadgets for kids. MP3 players often do more than just play music; they might have games and even movies that can entertain kids on long drives or rainy days. Laptop computers can contain games, activities, and learning programs. Even mobile devices such as cell phones contain games and activities kids can enjoy.
The building blocks of the past have become more sophisticated, and many building block sets come with small engines that can be mounted on machines the child builds himself. These blocks can be interactive and fun, but they also teach the child about spatial relations, mathematics, and other skills necessary for healthy mental development. Logic and reasoning skills can be improved by using such kits as well.
Many gadgets for kids simply mimic gadgets for adults. Some types of cameras, for example, function just like any other digital camera, but the cameras for kids feature simpler menus, larger buttons, and durable, shockproof shells that will resist damage from drops and other impacts. Some cameras even have video capabilities, allowing the child to create his or her own short movies. These cameras may or may not feature external memory cards; they are most often not included because they can pose a choking hazard.