The winter holidays are fast approaching and that means the panic of gift shopping. Will you get overwhelmed in the aisles of Target and end up giving a gift card again?

No, you won’t, because you took the time to read this tech toys for kids guide. Learn the hottest toys of the season below.

1. Littlebits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

Were your kids all about the new Star Wars last year or the one before? Do they like to learn hands-on and love technology?

Well, you can stimulate their STEM play senses with this R2 D2 droid builder toy. Not only is it adorable, but it’s officially licensed, so there’s no strange sounds or parts.

The instructions that come with it are easy to follow, as long as your child can read. If they can’t, you should have a fine time putting it together with them as an adult.

The droid is controlled via an app and it can do some cool stuff. There are games in-app that coordinate with your droid. It can even hold a pen and draw you a nice space-themed picture.

If your child builds it with one modification, they can take it apart and switch it out easily.

This is a seriously awesome gift for parents or friends of a Star Wars lover – kid or adult.

2. Anki Overdrive Battle and Race Robotic Supercars

What the last gift was to Star Wars lovers is what this gift is for lovers of Mario Kart. Except you won’t need a controller with buttons for this track.

Instead, you’ll need your smartphone app to drive the cars on the track. That’s right – no more stooping over hot-wheels tracks that always come apart. This is digital – though the track itself is in person.

You control the cars that come with the track through the app. The cars themselves have sensors built in, which read the code on the track. You can rearrange the track in any way you want – and buy expansion packs.

The app even has weapon options for you to blast your competitors out of the running for first place.

For extra kid-cred, check out the officially licensed Fast and the Furious Anki Overdrive Expansion.

If your kid isn’t ready to give up the remote cars yet, learn more here.

3. Nintendo Labo

If your kid isn’t into track racing anymore, but still loves the driving games – Nintendo came out with the perfect gift. Instead of them driving something with their phone screen, this toy helps them create a useable steering wheel.

The parts are made out of cardboard, but there’s technology included that communicates with their Nintendo Switch.

It’s a pretty cool idea. Much more exciting than the driving wheel Wii remote modifiers they had years back.

And they didn’t stop at cars. You can build your own wearable robot for fighting games. It even includes a build your own headset that fits the Nintendo Switch.

The toy line is called Nintendo Labo and we can’t wait to see what else they come out with.

4. Hatchimals

Yes, they’re around this Christmas too. If you want something a little less STEM but still tech-related for a younger kid, check out Hatchimals.

You buy them as speckled eggs, which doesn’t seem like fun. That is until you unpackage them, then wait and watch.

When the animal inside is “ready” it’ll start poking its way out of its shell. It takes longer than you’d think – some parents went ahead and pulled the egg apart themselves.

But we’d recommend using it as an exercise in patience. It takes chicks a long time to work their way out of an egg too.

Once they’re out of the egg, they’re “hatched”. You can interact with them and they interact back. They’re almost Furby-like but without the nightmares.

5. Boogie Board Writing Tablet

Remember how we had those magnetic drawing boards that you moved the slider over to erase? Think of the Boogie Board like that, but way cooler.

For one, the design isn’t all pixelated from the hexagonal design. Instead, it uses LCD lights and pressure to make designs. Then, a simple press of a button erases everything.

If you get it and your kid doesn’t take to it – but why wouldn’t they? It can act as a renewable type of post-it pad. Leave notes for your partner or the babysitter without killing any trees.

It’s also perfect for the car, but it’s thin – so watch out for it falling in between car seat cracks. You’ll be able to get it out, but that sounds like a recipe for kids screaming until you do.

6. Circuit Maze Board Game

Your seven year old may not need to know how droids work in the next five years, but knowing how electricity works would be more realistic – right?

That’s what this board game teaches. It’s an expansion of the Snap Circuit game idea, but this one is more game-ified.

Kids get to solve over 50 puzzles that end up turning a light on or moving a fan. Honestly, it’s cool to sit down and work through as a parent too.

7. Selfie Mic

Do you have a little diva? That’s okay, teach them to use their talents. This toy allows them to do karaoke but also take a video at the same time.

The app has different song choices and puts effects on the screen.

Tech Toys for Kids

Remember when tech toys for kids meant a Furby or a Barbie doll with a button on her back? We’re far from those days.

You can’t go wrong with any of the toys on this list. They’re all cool, educational, and accessible with a smartphone app and maybe some batteries. We hope this helped you with your shopping list this Christmas.

Click here for more tech news.

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Are You Underestimating the Power of Search Engines?

Many businesses simply aren’t using search engine optimization… well, optimally! This seems to stem from a lack of understanding from how important search engines are when it comes to driving traffic to your website. Even some of the ones that do understand the importance don’t quite understand how exactly that traffic is going to be generated.

How a search engine doesn’t work

Many people think that search engines are a ubiquitous, ultra-dynamic technology. The likes of Google know exactly when a new website is created and adds it to some database. If a user enters the right term, that website will be among the search results, probably not too far from the front page.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite a simple as that. It’s true that companies like DuckDuckGo can return results from pretty much anywhere on the World Wide Web. But these companies don’t return comprehensive or neutral results.

The selectivity of search engines

Thousands of websites are being created every day. As a result, search engines have to show a degree of selectivity when it comes to the results of a searcher’s inquiry.

When you search for something, you’re not getting unfiltered results from a neutral source. Filters are in place that prevent business owners who are using unethical SEO tactics from appearing in search results.

There have been many times in which disputes between a website and a search engine have culminated in throttled search results. Remember the dispute between Genius and Google? This was the result of unhealthy SEO.

Understanding searcher psychology

When someone wants to find something, they’re going to use the search term they feel is most appropriate. Many companies assume that there can only be a limited number of obvious search terms that would lead to their company. But a user doesn’t always use the inquiries or search terms you might expect. Not everyone visits Google knowing exactly what they’re looking for!

You also need to understand that your average searcher is not going to look beyond the first two or three pages of search results. They’re likely to use one of the first few results or change their search term.

Getting to grips with the numbers

As you can see, the world of search engines is a complex one. It makes the workload of really good SEO absolutely tremendous. Understanding how the various algorithms of sites and psyches of users is no small task. It’s why many companies choose to use SEO consulting. It’s also why many companies simply don’t bother with SEO at all.

But when you see the numbers, your mind should be changed. The average number of Google searches per month hovers around the figure of six billion. And make no mistake: it’s search engines that are the most common gateway to any given business. It’s not television advertising or social media marketing. (Not that you should be ignoring the latter!) It’s organic search results.

You cannot afford to underestimate the power of search engines when it comes to your digital marketing. Don’t put your company at risk by ignoring it!

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