For many, the days of just building a spaceship out of Lego or playing a game of Monopoly are long gone.
Today, kids want interactive tech toys that are powered by an app or that connect to the internet. They want animals that learn and grow as you play with them, or robots that will answer back.
And thankfully, toy manufacturers are happy to oblige. There are plenty of different tech toys to suit all ages - maybe even yourself.
We've battled through the numerous toy events in 2018 and are fresh from the London Toy Fair in 2019, having played, poked, crashed, ad tested a range of crazy and sometimes scary toys, to bring you a list of the best tech toys around for now and coming soon.
In no particular order here are the best tech toys around:
The humble remote control car has been around for years, and while we occasionally see remote controlled bikes they've alway got stabilisers on them to stop them falling over. Spin Master has solved that problem with this new Ducati remote controlled bike that has a number of gyros inside it to keep it upright no matter what you do with it. Capable of going up to 20km an hour and performing wheelies, it might cost £149.99 when it launches later this year, but by the eighth doughnut you perform won't care.
This toy brings the "Game-to-life" concept found in video games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity to storybooks. At its heart, it is a padded speaker that comes with various children's book character figurines that can be placed on top to start reading the story. Tap the side and it skips to the next track - a game or song or such like, while removing the toy stops the book altogether.
There are two types of character figurines; ones with pre-loaded stories and others, called "creative-tonies", that are blank so you can load your own MP3 tracks on them. The Speaker costs £79.95 with each story character, from stories like The Gruffalo or The Snowman, costing £14.99. The creative tonies will cost £11.99.
Scalextric Spark Plug
Scalextric embraced the iPhone and Android generation some time ago with the ability to control race conditions or count tracks via your smartphone, but now it's set to allow you to control the cars as well using your smartphone as a controller thanks to a new device called Spark Plug.
The idea is that you plug the dongle into your Scalextric powerbaye rather than a traditional hand controller and that sends the commands to your phone and the dedicated app instead. The dongle supports single player and versus modes, lets you boost your own and restrict your opponents speed to make it fairer and comes with rumble and sound effects. It's expected to be out in sometime between July and September 2019 fro £14.99.
A new coding robot that likes to draw, Artie 3000 can be programmed to draw a range of pre-programmed shapes, or simply whatever you can come up with. Reminiscent of the drawing turtle from the 1980s, the simple to use and code robot will cost $69.99 when it comes out in March in the US and UK. Kids will be able to program the robot via a PC, Mac, or tablet and Artie includes a number of games so it's not all work, work, work.
Laser X Fusion
Available in the US for some time, but now coming to the UK, Laser X Fusion builds on the popular Laser X experience by giving players the ability to upgrade their blasters. Accessories including a wide range adapter, long range adapter, and spotlight functions. Laser X Fusion blasters have a whopping 250-foot range.
You'll get two guns in the box so you can play with your mates, and the system works with all previous Laser X products if you've already got them. Character, the company behind Laser X in the UK, has also updated the previous guns too so now they fold down into a target for practice when your mates or siblings aren't available to play.
Bringing traditional play to iOS, Osmo creates a number of interactive games that use an iPad as the gaming board, while also using the tablet's on board camera to see what you are doing. Games include Coding Jam, which uses physical coding blocks to solve on screen puzzles, and even gives your child the opportunity to manage a pizza shop, which encourages maths. Osmo also offers simpler, but still very clever learning apps, like drawing, basic maths and English.
Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit
With this coding kit, Harry Potter fans can follow step-by-step instructions to build a wand, which includes a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer so that it can track location, speed, and the position of a hand. The sensors allow the wand to detect the motions of spells in the Harry Potter world, and then kids can use the wand to do Harry Potter-related challenges inside the Kano app.
Play Impossible Gameball
The Play Impossible Gameball is an active game system that gets you moving that connects to an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV and then changes you in a number of mini games that emphasise hand-eye coordination, agility and creative thinking. The ball can be charged for an hour's worth of play in 20-seconds and you can add a second ball for even more fun.
Beasts of Balance
It's a stacking game that uses an iPad, iPhone, or Apple TV app to help give it an extra dimension and marries brilliantly traditional gaming with a technological twist. The end result is great fun as you not only challenge of balancing the numerous array of beautifully crafted animals on the included scales, but as you do so seeing what creatures you can create by adding different counters and animals. Anyone for a Hogtopus? Yes, that's a beast that's half warthog half octopus if were wondering. The game ends when you can't stack anymore.
Furreal Roarin' Tyler
Roar at Roarin' Tyler (£79.99) and he'll answer back. The cute, fluffy tiger cub comes with 100 different sound and motion combinations and reacts to all manner of touches and noises. If that wasn't enough to interest you, the tiger cub can also move his eyes, ears, head, mouth and tail. Hasbro even throws in a toy chicken so he won't try to eat your TV remote control.
Fisher-Price Teach 'n Tag Movi
This mini robot, designed for kids aged three and over, has a trio of modes of play: Alpha Fun Actions, Think & Move Shapes and Learn & Play Games (£31.99). There are also six interactive games designed to develop critical thinking. Thankfully not powerful enough to take over the world, a la Skynet, Movi has two wheels allowing it to zip around the living room with ease as it barks orders at your kid. It's like a polite, robot version of the drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket.
LeapStart Interactive Learning System for Active Minds
The LeapStart Learning System (£42.97) now supports nursery to year one kids, enabling them to get to grips with reading and playing activity games too. Parents are encouraged to buy a range of story books, in which their child can tap their way through with the interactive pen sounding things out as they play. Traditional but with a technology twist in a good way.
This very life-like baby doll will need feeding, putting to sleep and tickling if you are to get along. While that's the same with most dolls, the difference here with Luvabella (£79.99) is the true-to-life facial expressions that will have you thinking she's real - rather worryingly. She'll even play peek-a-boo.
Following the huge success of the original Hatchimals, Hatchimals Surprise (£44.99) was 2018's offering from Spin Master and in 2019 they will be getting a mermaid make over. As before, you'll get two little critters keen to break out of the shell rather than just the one. The aim of the toy is to nurture each Hatchimal with love in order to help it hatch. When they do come into the brave new world, the owner must help them progress from baby to toddler to kid. The twins, as they are known, can recognise one another, share secrets, play games and dance.
A cute Wall-e-like robot, Cozmo (£129.99) is powered by AI and runs via a compatible iOS, Android or Kindle Fire device. It comes with three interactive "power cubes" and promises to charm his way into your life regardless of your age. As you would expect, there is a heavy emphasis towards coding, but it's not all boring homework. You can also upgrade his treads to a range of different colours and there is a collector's edition model if you are really looking to stand out from the crowd.
Sphero Mini (£49.99) is a miniaturised version of the original app-enabled robot toy, only even smaller. The size of ping pong ball, you can control it with different modes in the Sphero Mini app, or you can just use your face thanks to a new feature called Face Drive. This uses your facial expressions to steer the ball.
Sphero Mini sports a little gyroscope, accelerometer and LED lights, as well as colourful, interchangeable shells. It uses Micro USB charging and gives you about one-hour of play after an hour of full charging. It also comes with three mini traffic cones and six mini bowling pins for different games.
Little Bits R2-D2
Using LittleBits' electronic blocks technology and the free Droid Inventor app, kids big and small will be able to teach their R2 Unite robot new tricks and take it on more than 16 missions across the Star Wars universe. Kids can even level-up their inventor expertise and reconfigure their droid to give it new skills, allowing it to be controlled by The Force or similar. The Droid inventor Kit (£78.74) comes with everything kids need to create and customise their R2 Unite straight out of the box.
Boxer AI robot
Boxer is not only is he diminutive and hand-sized, but he can pull off impressive tricks with a personality usually associated with larger and more expensive toys.
He has an expressive dot-matrix face that offers expressions and interactions with the player. He can detect movement in front of him and respond to it in a variety of ways. Following fingers or kicking a small ball around are just the tip of the iceberg. A range of cards can be scanned to set him playing a wide variety of games. Best of all you don’t need a smartphone to play with him.
Makeblock Neuron Explorer Kit
Think Nintendo Labo but for iOS and you'll be on the right lines, except rather than just cardboard the Makeblock Neuron Explorer kit (£179.99) comes with a number of sensors and motors to help you build things like a piano or guitar. The Neuron app’s helps kids develop basic logical thinking as they learn to code and you can download Apple's Swift Playgrounds app on iPad and subscribe to “Neuron” to unlock more than 30 lessons and activities to build, create and code giving it much more life beyond the instructions in the box.
Qustodio is the leading digital safety and wellbeing platform for families. It lets parents supervise what their kids do when online. With Qustodio parents can block harmful and inappropriate content, set healthy limits to manage their children's online experience, track their location and monitor social media activity. Qustodio provides more information to help protect children against the growing number of serious online issues such as cyber-bullying and cyber-predators. It stands out among the different parental control solutions on the market, including Apple's and Google's very own, because it can be interchangeably used on different platforms such as iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Kindle.