If there’s a time of the year made for kids of all ages, it’s the weeks leading up to Christmas. Of course for parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles (and pretty much anyone else who has to give a gift to a youngster) this can actually be the most stressful time of the year! Finding the right gift can be difficult, and since you don’t want to look like Scrooge — or worse, out of touch with “the kids” — our Holiday Gift Guide has you covered, and will help you find just right the present.
This week we offer gift ideas for kids and students. Because all play and no work will result in a dead-end job, which will likely be outsourced anyway, we offer a mix of things that are helpful and fun at a mix of prices, and should put a smile on their faces.
If the weather outside is frightful, you can still take to the skies. Designed to fly indoors, this ultra-sleek chopper is only 7 inches long so it should have no trouble flying in the wide-open spaces of a living room or dorm. And with multiple frequency bands, you can even pilot up to three of the X-Roter helicopters to create your own Apocalypse Now. Best of all, there are even spare propellers should you experience a “Picco Z down!”
Price: $40, radioshack.com
Two video game systems arrived this fall, but chances are if you’re actually going to be able to find one by the holidays it’s going to be the Nintendo Wii. And at this point the Wii is actually the system that delivers the most fun, too. Some of the most innovative titles this year include Wii Sports and Legend of Zelda, plus it’s compatible with Nintendo GameCube titles, and downloads of classic Nintendo games are also available. And you can’t beat that innovative motion-sensing controller, which will also make you work for that high score!
Price: $250, nintendo.com
Capturing that special moment on video has typically meant bringing along a big, bulky device and expensive camera. Sharing the footage required you to make lousy copies of the tape, too. But with RCA’s MPEG-4 point-and-shoot camcorder, junior Spielbergs can store up to 60 minutes (or 30 minutes of high-quality) video, which can then be transferred to a PC for instant playback. An A/V output lets you connect to a TV so the family can watch the dailies together.
Price: $129, rca.com
After the holidays it’s back to class, and this backpack makes lugging homework around feel a lot less like work. Controls for an iPod are located in the shoulder strap, while the player can be tucked away inside and protected from the elements. Designed with the wired student in mind, the C.O.R.E. also features a padded laptop compartment and front-pocket organizer for mobile phones and the odd PDA.
Price: $40, nike.com
Trying to study — or sleep — with outside distractions can be a problem on overcrowded campuses. These noise-canceling headphones from JVC reduce ambient noise, with “wide” and “low” modes. Wide to target the type of noise you might experience from annoying roommates, low to reduce those frequencies encountered on buses and trains.
Price: $60, jvc.com
For more great gift ideas, check out SCI FI’s comprehensive Holiday Gift Guide for something for everyone on your list.