Crowded airports, packed freeways, and inclement weather can conspire to make holiday travel a challenge for any family. Add a couple of bored and unhappy kids to the mix, and the holidays might not be as happy as you would like them to be this year. Keep the kids happy and entertained during your upcoming travels with these electronics and gadgets. For easy reference, ideas are grouped by age.
For the young ones (ages 5 and under)
Good: LeapFrog LeapPad2 Explorer Kids’ Learning Tablet
LeapFrog offers some of the most fun and educational products for your little Einstein. Introduce your little ones to the fun of computing with their first tablet. Designed for little fingers and little minds, the learning tablet will be a hit with your preschool-age child.
Better: Sylvania Portable DVD Player With Car Bag/Kit
Looking for a portable DVD player for the young ones who can’t hold their own player and want to watch that same show for the 500th straight time? This portable DVD player features a swivel screen, a car-compatible charger, and straps so you can mount it from the headrest in your vehicle. The USB port is helpful too to watch shows and movies you have downloaded from the web.
Minimizing those “Are we there yet?” questions (ages 5 to 8)
Good: Nabi 2 Tablet
Not quite ready to spring for an iPad for your child? Then consider this lower-cost tablet alternative that is tailored to kids. The rubber edges help protect against scratching and cracks when the tablet is dropped (and if you have a kid you know they will drop it). No access to Google Play can be a bummer, but there are alternatives to get access to lots of apps like Netflix to help keep the youngsters busy.
Better: Kindle Fire HD
The high-definition screen will create a quality viewing experience for your little one (and for you after they go to sleep or dose off for a nap on the journey). Access to the Amazon App Store offers an array of video apps, educational apps, and games. Buy a nice cover or case to protect it like the Nabi.
Enjoy the last few holidays before they are teenagers and want nothing to do with you (ages 9 to 12)
Good: Toshiba Satellite Click 2-in-1 13.3″ Touch-Screen Laptop
Combine the best of both worlds with this 2-in-1 laptop and tablet. Older kids will be entertained accessing the apps in tablet mode, and will be able to catch up on that winter break book report using the laptop mode.
Better: Apple iPad Mini With Retina Display
Lower cost than the full-size iPad, but now offering the same high-resolution screen and access to the same apps through iTunes. Your pre-teen can be entertained, learn, and not bug you about how bored they are. Tablets are even more useful now that more airlines offer WiFi access in flight. Numerous after-market accessories are available to ensure that your pre-teen stays powered up on the go.