Best Interactive Toys TechnoBuffalo 2019

There are plenty of great toys on the market for your kids to play with. However, if you want a toy that is interactive for your child, it can be difficult to decide which toys are worth your money. Out of all the options on the market the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit delivers a fun experience that brings the magic of Harry Potter to the real world while teaching your child to code in the process.

Best Overall: Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit

Harry Potter has been bringing magic to the world of kids for a very long time now, but until recently that magic has only existed in books, movies, and games. The Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit has you first build a Bluetooth wand, and then use that wind in conjunction with an app to learn how to code. It's a fun way to bring the magic of the wizarding world to reality and learn something in the process.

The first thing your child needs to do is build the wand that they will be using to interact with the coding challenges. It comes with step by step instructions so that this is an easy process. It even comes with a poster that outlines the motions of spells used with the app. Once you have put together the wand, there are more than seventy different challenges that will teach your kids to code, and have fun along the way.

The creative challenges shown to your child will teach them about coding, starting out with simple steps, and getting progressively more difficult as they continue. Challenges start with concepts like loops, logic, and variables before moving onto more advanced concepts and introducing javascript. They'll be able to wave their wands, complete spells and see what happens on the tablet screen in front of them. With more than 200 sounds and wizarding artifacts, there is plenty to enjoy and explore.

Overall the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit delivers a stellar experience for any STEM minded child, as well as the Harry Potter fanatic in your life. It combines physical elements as you put together the wand, and then slowly teaches your child about coding. It's also got tons of content to explore, which means they won't get tired of it any time soon.

Pros:

  • Build your own wand
  • Learn to code by completing dozens of magical challenges
  • Wave your wand and see effects on your tablet screen

Cons:

  • Requires a tablet to play
  • Requires bluetooth to play

Best Overall

Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit

Coding becomes magic

Build a wand and learn to code with magical challenges.

Best Value: Baby Shark Song Cube

There are few songs as popular with children as Baby Shark. It's a catchy tune that's been covered in a hundred different ways, gets kids dancing and singing, and is so easy to remember that just about everyone knows the lyrics at this point. Now you can snag an adorable stackable song cube that plays this popular song and looks like it's namesake in the process.

The Baby Shark Song Cube comes in three varieties. You can pick up Baby Shark, Mommy Shark, and Daddy Shark if you want the whole collection. All of them sing, which makes a fun toy for long car rides even if the song may start to wear on parents after a while.

Pros:

  • Small plush song cube
  • Sings baby shark
  • Comes in three stackable varieties

Cons:

  • Parents may get tired of listening to the same song over and over

Best Value

Baby Shark Song Cube

Sing along

This plush baby shark song cube sings along to the most popular children's song!

Best for Babies: Lamaze Octotunes Musical Octopus

Lamaze Octotune Musical Octopus

Babies are continually learning as their little brains grow and develop. Finding toys that are safe for them, and that also helps them to progress is relatively easy, but not all toys are of the same caliber. The Lamaze Octotunes Musical Octopus delivers a safe plush toy for your little one that also fosters learning in several different ways.

To begin with, this octopus is relatively large with bright colors, which will catch the attention of your baby. Each of its eight tentacles creates a musical note when grabbed, allowing babies to create music as they play. Babies are also able to learn through the patterns that different tentacles have. There is also a handle at the top of the toy means they can get a hold of it, even though it is quite large.

Pros:

  • Built to help babies learn through color and sound
  • Soft and plush with no choking hazard
  • 8 Different musical notes entice babies to learn through music

Cons:

  • Not machine washable
  • Tentacles may be hard for small babies to squeeze
  • Might be too large for small babies to play with

Best for Babies

Octotunes Musical Octopus

A musical friend

Octotunes inspires learning in a soft, plush friend with bright colors and musical notes.

Best for Toddlers: Leapfrog Number Lovin' Oven

Leapfrog Number Lovin' Oven

Helping your children to learn as you play isn't always as easy as you might hope. Leapfrog's Number Lovin Oven makes it a little bit easier with an oven that delivers tons of educational fun through song. This toy will help your child to learn about numbers, increase their vocabulary, and even talk to them about sharing with others.

Sixteen parts come with the Number Lovin' Oven. These include an interactive oven that sings, a variety of different food items, a spatula and baking pan, and two plates for kids to play with. The oven sings with 30 different phrases and songs that have your child interacting and learning while they play.

Pros:

  • Oven sings songs to help kids learn vocabulary, sharing, and numbers
  • Lots of fun pieces to play with
  • Built with toddlers in mind

Cons:

  • Lots of parts which can be lost
  • Parents may get grumpy at loud songs from the oven

Best for Toddlers

Leapfrog Number Lovin' Oven

Get cooking

Watch your child learn about numbers, expand their vocabulary, and become better at sharing with the help of this adorable singing oven.

Best Robot: Sphero SPRK+

Sphero SPRK+

This robot aims to teach you how to code and program in a fun and intuitive way. Inside of a scratch-resistant, water-resistant plastic shell is a wee little robot that wants you to tell it what to do. You use an app on your phone to program it, and can even build your own instructions once you get the hang of how everything works.

There are three options for programming this Sphero. You can use draw and drive commands, scratch blocks, or even full-blown Javascript when telling Sphero what you want it to do. Things start out relatively simple and use progression-based learning so that neither you nor your kids are ever confused about how to program your robot friend. There are options like driving through a maze, following a specific path, and plenty more as you dive into everything Sphero SPRK+ is capable of.

Pros:

  • Beginner to pro-level programming options
  • Clear, durable, waterproof shell protects Sphero from damage

Cons:

  • Takes a while to charge
  • Only 60 minutes of playtime before battery runs low

Best Robot

Sphero SPRK+

Programming gets fun

Go from beginner to pro as you use this spherical robot to learn how to program!

Best Osmo: Genius Kit

Osmo Genius Kit

Getting kids interested in learning isn't always an easy task. One great way of getting your kids to start learning while they're having fun is the Osmo Genius Kit. This kit comes equipped with all the pieces you need to get started with Osmo. Built for kids between 6-10 years old it has a whopping five different games for children to begin learning with.

The Genius Kit comes with many different parts for parents to keep track of which may be a bummer for some of you. It includes the Osmo base, tangram pieces, number pieces, letter pieces, and stackable storage for everything when your child isn't playing. There are five different games, but only three of them require parts from Osmo. The other two can be enjoyed using store-bought art supplies. Kids will learn about reading, vocabulary, numbers, problem solving, and indulge in imagination and creative play.

Pros:

  • Comes with Osmo base
  • Has access to 5 different Osmo games

Cons:

  • Lots of small easy to lose pieces

Best Osmo

Genius Kit

Get started with Osmo

Watch your child learn about numbers, vocabulary, and more with this Osmo kit.

Bottom line

Each toy that made our list delivers a fun interactive experience for children. These toys run the gamut from plush options suitable for babies and toddlers, to full-blown robots and coding kits more attractive to older children. While every toy here is tons of fun, the absolute best interactive toy on our list is the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit.

This coding kit goes above and beyond to make learning a fun and magical process for kids. They start by building their own wand and then use the accompanying app to complete challenges that start easy and become more challenging along the way. If you want to encourage interest in STEM topics, or you have a little wizard on your hands, there's no doubt that this is the toy to pick up.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jen Karner has spent hours researching and reading reviews on a variety of different toys to find the best interactive choices for your family. You can follow her on Twitter.

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