Whether you're introducing your toddler to technology or teaching your teenager STEM basics, like coding, there are a lot of fun electronic toys that can help your child learn while they play.
We've researched and rounded up some great options, being sure to consider each pick's recommended age, safety features, educational value, and price. The Wonder Workshop Dash Coding Robot earned our top spot. Dash teaches kids to code via interactive dancing and singing to keep them engaged and stimulated for hours.
Here are the best electronic toys for kids.
Best Overall: Wonder Workshop Dash
Long battery life
Some users had issues updating the applications
This cute blue robot teaches kids how to code, all while singing, dancing, playing, and having tons of fun. Dash connects to a free app where kids can teach their robot all sorts of tricks, from lighting up to avoiding obstacles and even responding to voice commands. The app includes hundreds of puzzles and projects, so you can rest assured kids won’t get tired of Dash any time soon.
If you think it sounds too complicated, don’t worry—the app includes tutorials to teach children the fundamentals of coding and how to program the robot. Dash’s educational value and limitless fun earned it the Oppenheim Best Toy Award in 2016, along with our top spot.
Best Cars: Anki Overdrive Starter Kit
Multiple track options
These are just like the toy cars you used to play with—but with a lot more fancy technology. The Anki Overdrive Kit lets kids control robotic “supercars” from their phones, racing the vehicles around the track and battling each other with plasma cannons and other high-tech weapons.
The Starter Kit comes with two supercars and 12 track pieces that snap together to create a variety of race tracks. Children can battle it out with friends, each controlling a car, or play on their own, racing against an artificial intelligence–controlled vehicle. There are several different play settings, including Battle, Race, and Time Trial, and the app includes frequent software updates to keep gameplay fresh and exciting.
Best Pet : FurReal GoGo My Dancin' Pup
Fosters nurturing and imaginative play
Bring home an adorable interactive pup that your child will love to dance and play with. GoGo from FurReal goes on walks with the touch of a button: Just hold onto her leash! She even bobs her head as she walks and makes over 50 puppy sounds.
Aside from walking, GoGo plays five different songs and dances on her hind legs. Kids will love showing off their moves with their new furry friend, and parents will love that their little ones has an excuse to get moving and stay active.
Best Coding: Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Toy
Long battery life
Suitable for various ages
May be too complex for young kids
It may just look like a happy little caterpillar, but the Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Toy is much more. This critter is a puzzle waiting to be solved, as its nine switchable segments control the caterpillar’s movements. Want the Code-a-Pillar to go straight, then turn left? Arrange the segments in that order, then watch it come to life.
This electronic toy can help young children practice their critical thinking skills, as they can experiment with different sequences to create new paths for the Code-a-Pillar. As kids get the hang of it, they can create new games, such as drawing paths for the bug to follow or specifying an endpoint for it to reach. The possibilities are endless, which means this toy will continue challenging kids for years to come.
Best Camera: VTech KidiZoom Camera Pix
Multiple photo effects included
Grips on sides for little hands
Shutter button can be difficult to find
If your children are always borrowing your phone or camera to take pictures, this can serve as a kid-friendly alternative. The VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix is a real, durable digital camera that stores photos on an SD memory card (not included). In addition to standard features like zoom, this gadget comes with a selfie mode, collage templates, photo effects, and several built-in games. And because it’s designed for little hands, the camera is plenty durable and can withstand being dropped.
Best Tablet: Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
2 year warranty
Unlimited content for one year included
Parental controls can be hard to use
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet features an 8-inch screen surrounded by a kid-proof case, and perhaps best of all, Amazon is offering a two-year guarantee on the tablet with no questions asked.
The Kids Edition Tablet is a real tablet with ten hours of battery life, but it was designed for the rough-and-tumble lifestyle of children. The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition comes loaded with one free year of Freetime Unlimited, which lets kids access age-appropriate games, apps, and videos from sites like PBS, Disney, and more. It also comes with built-in parental controls that can limit screen time and filter out inappropriate content.
Best for Toddlers : VTech Drop and Go Dump Truck
May be too simple for older children
This adorable toy dump truck has rave reviews from users, so you know it will be a great gift for toddlers and babies. The VTech Drop and Go Dump Truck is equal parts fun and educational, and its colorful design and fun melodies will keep toddlers captivated.
The Drop and Go Dump Truck will count its three bright boulders as toddlers put each one into the toy, and it’s easy to dump them back out again with the pull of a lever. Kids can pull the truck around the house using the attached string, and there are several buttons on the vehicle that play melodies and phrases to help toddlers learn about colors and tools.
Best Drone: GoolRC Mini RC Quadcopter
Suitable for various ages
Affordable compared to competitors
Stable flight system
Short flight time
The 3-inch Mini RC Quadcopter Drone is heralded as a great option for beginners thanks to its stable flight system, which makes it easy for kids to learn to fly.
It can be controlled from up to 30 meters away, making it a fun outdoor toy too. Fly the drone up and down, forward and back with the touch of a button, and once kids get the hang of things, they can try out some impressive tricks, such as in-air flips. One downside of this mini drone is that you only get around five minutes of flight time, so kids will have to recharge if they want to play for longer.
Best Walkie Talkie: Retevis RT628 Walkie-Talkies
Suitable for various ages
Easy to use
Some users were disappointed with sound quality
The Retevis RT628 Kids Walkie Talkies make a great gift for kids of all ages, letting them play secret agent, explorers, and as many other games as they can dream up.
They're easy to use and small enough for little hands to carry, but they have a range of upward of 3,000 feet. The walkie talkies include 22 different channels, but you can lock the channel for younger children so they don’t accidentally change it.
What to Look for in Electronic Toys
Simpler toys with bigger parts, like a toy camera, are more suitable for toddlers and preschoolers, while more complex toys, like a racing track, that require design or manipulation are a good option for older kids and teens. Fortunately, kids of all ages can find an electronic toy geared for them—just make sure to pay attention to the age recommendations for each toy.
It is important to consider your child’s safety when choosing an electronic toy. Not only is there the potential for danger with cords, batteries, and power supplies, but for toys that connect to the internet, you should also be aware of the material that they access. Electronic toys are a great way to start talking about the responsible and safe use of technology with your child. Some toys include parental controls, which is always a plus.
Electronic toys can be a great way to teach kids, especially when they are geared toward STEM-related interests like coding or math. Some are designed more for entertainment and play, such as a drone. Others have a good balance of the two, like the Amazon Fire tablet that has both education and entertainment apps.
To get the most educational value, teacher and literacy coach Alicia Drozd at North Brunswick school recommends looking for interactive toys. “It needs to be something that they create and build," she says. "Apps are great too, as long as they inspire creativity and aren't overly consuming.”
Electronic toys can be bigger financial investments. Before you purchase, consider how much use your child will get from the toy, how likely it is to be broken or need to be replaced, and if it can grow with your child. Less-expensive electronic toys tend to have shorter lifespans than the heavy-hitting expensive options.
Are electronic toys good for children?
Electronic toys offer a high level of engagement and are great tools for teaching older kids about technology and design. However, for younger kids, sticking with non-electronic toys may be a safer bet, as they've been shown to better promote language development than electronic toys.
How do you clean electronic toys?
Kids' toys—especially little kids' toys—can get dirty fast. The easiest way to clean them is by wiping them down with a sanitizing wipe and avoiding any electronic components. If you need a deeper spot clean, use a clean cloth dipped in warm, soapy water.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer who has a background in interior design. She’s an expert on all things home, and while researching picks for this article, she considered the material of each piece, as well as its size, stability, and any useful features, such as cable management holes. Additional reporting was done by Julia Fields, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays. She's also covered similar topics in other roles, including toy reviews, product roundups, expert-focused articles, and more.