Believe it or not, Black Friday has already come and gone. Pretty soon the Christmas season will begin, and we’ll mark this midwinter festival by getting together with friends and family and continuing to drink and eat far too much.
Meanwhile, we also buy gifts for those same friends and family members, whether they want them or not. Luckily, we’re here to help, and if you follow our festive advice, your gifts just might make it into the “wanted” category.
From now until Christmas, Cult of Mac will be putting together holiday gift guys full of ideas for the special ones in your life, no matter what their interests or your budget. Today, we’re looking at gifts for the whining kids in your life.
Caution: Only buy this speaker if you are the uncle or other non-paternal relation of the target child. Why? Because if you live with the receiver of this 2×12-watt boombox you’ll live to regret it.
The big loudspeaker is battery powered, so if you accidentally buy this for you son or daughter at least you can send them out into the street with it, and they can charge their cellphones from its USB port, so they don’t even need to come home to do that.
Or you could just punch yourself in the face. It might be easier in the end.
This fake Polaroid will confuse the hell out of your kids. Why on Earth would a 5MP camera look like this? The camera is as basic as it gets, with fixed focus, AA batteries and a microSD slot for memory expansion. Still, it’s darn cute, and you can always take ownership when the kids inevitably get bored with it and go back to their (probably superior) cellphone cameras.
This is a very neat gift if the receiver already has an iPhone. Buy them one of the compatible guitar effects pedals for around $130 and they can load in artist-designed presets just by holding their iPhone up to the guitar’s pickup. There’s a free companion app to manage downloads and do the beaming, and the whole lot should keep even the most ADD kid out of trouble for several minutes.
Kids love skateboards. And kids love phones. Ergo, kids must love old skateboard offcuts turned into iPhone backs.
Available for the iPhone 4/S and now the 5, the $40 plywood back uses removable adhesive to stay in place. It might be more suited to the delicate glass back of the 4/S, but the longer, slimmer iPhone 5 is mure skateboard shaped. Or whatever.
Like a Jambox, only cheaper, tougher and, uh, waterproof-er. The speaker comes in goth black (for your Emo son) or bright orange (for more outdoorsy types who don’t want to lose the thing), and runs off a rechargeable li-ion battery.
The U-Bling case is like a miniature pixel-art kit for your kid (or actually, for anyone). The case has two parts, one of which is a grid of holes. Into these holes go colored “pops,” or pixel pins, and with them you can create any design you like.
The second part of the case clips to the first to secure the pops in place, and a free app helps the lucky giftee to design their pictures. More colors can be ordered for when they’re ready to create their pixellated masterwork.
Buying an electric guitar for a noisy kid might seem like a terrible idea — unless you’re an uncle and not a parent. But this Squier (Fender’s cheap range) Stratocaster also comes with a USB port and cable, so it can be plugged direct into an iPhone or iPad, and listened too through headphones.
Thus, your little Yngwie J. Malmsteen can hammer aways at his strings and all you’ll hear is an annoying but subdued tappity-tap.
Obviously any Leatherman tool is perfect for inquisitive, creative kids, but the Raptor is particularly good for children, especially those who are training in first aid. Here’s the rundown of EMT-inspired tools:
- 420HC stainless steel cutting shears
- carbide glass breaker
- strap cutter
- 5 cm ruler
- ring cutter
- oxygen tank wrench
- lanyard hole
That ruler seems particularly handy for the classroom. What could go wrong?
Noisy, brightly-colored, rugged and cheap — what’s not to like about the JLab speaker? The battery lasts longer than most other Bluetooth speakers, and can be used to recharge your forgetful son/daughter’s cellphone, so they have no excuse not to call you when they’re running late.
So, your four-year old has her own iPad, but her motor skills just aren’t there yet. Help her through this difficult time with the Lunatik Chubby Stylus, a fat pen for the fat-fingered.
Be careful though — if your toddler has body-image issues, you might want to cover up the word “chubby” on the package.
(Probable) FACT: Foosball is named for the German Fußball (or Fussball), which just means “football.”
OTHER (unchecked) FACT: Foosball aka Table Football (UK) aka futbolin (Spain) was invented — just like the mop bucket — in Catalonia, Spain.
(Actual, real) FACT: This foosball table connects via the iPad’s 30-pin dock connector and lets you control the players with the spinny stick arms on the sides. You also get such niceties as instant replay, but there are no plastic wells in which to keep your glass of beer.
ToddlerLock is the name of the company behind this case, and as a concept, locking toddlers seems like a good one. However, the case actually locks your iPhone — specifically, it covers the home button so that your rugrats can’t stab their way out of the educational game you want them to play and into your poorly-hidden second web browser that you use just for porn.
There’s also a (free) ToddlerLock app which throws up a fake home-screen that the kids can tap away at without ever deleting your home-banking app.