The Best Gadgets and Gear to Keep Your Kids Occupied Over the Summer

By Tom Pritchard on at

Summer's rolled around again, and if your kids are going to be off for a long break pretty soon. If they aren't already. Adults have lives of their own and responsibilities to take care of, so you can't exactly personally keep them occupied every second of every day. So instead of letting them get bored, here are some thing you can buy to stop them from annoying you all summer long.

Pokémon Go

If your kids are old enough to wander the local area by themselves (and you trust them, of course), you might as well send them off on a Pokémon adventure of their very own. They will need a smartphone to play, since the game needs a constant internet connection and GPS. That means a tablet isn't quite as suitable. Try the 3rd gen Moto 360, which costs between £120 and £160 depending on the storage you opt for. You also need enough juice to actually keep the phone going for more than five minutes, since Pokémon Go is a notorious battery hog. So make sure to get an external battery pack as well.

Pokémon Go isn't officially out in the UK just yet, but you can still download the app for Android devices right now.

Nerf Guns

If there are multiple kids at play, you can trick them into exercising while having fun. How? With Nerf guns, of course. Which gun you buy is up to you, and there are dozens of different models available - each with slightly different features. If you're looking for simplicity, get the Strongarm or the Stryfe. Each holds and fires six foam darts, though the Stryfe is magazine-fed and semi automatic (which requires 4 AA batteries). Those darts are going to get lost as well, so make sure there are plenty of spares.

For the older kids, maybe swap out the regular Nerf guns for some from the Nerf Rival range. For the particularly hot days, you can also pull out a supersoaker or two.

Lego Large Creative Brick Box, £36

Let the kids use their imagination for once, rather than just following the instructions (or in-depth game guides). This box of Lego is full of bricks and pieces of all shapes and sizes, but not one set of instructions. There are some ideas on what to build, but nothing telling you how to make them. It's up to whoever's playing to put things together, however they see fit. That should keep them quiet for a while. [Buy it here]

Nintendo 2DS, and Pokémon, £96 - £130

Games are an easy way to keep the kids quiet, and given that it's Pokémon's 20th anniversary, dose them up with some nostalgia. Well it's nostalgia for them, but you get what I mean. These transparent coloured 2DS handhelds all come with a copy of the associated Gen 1 Pokémon game pre-installed. The days before ice cream pokémon, more than 151 monsters, and even colour gameplay. [Buy it here]

Kano Computer Kit, £100

A Raspberry Pi 2-powered kit, designed to teach kids the fundamentals of coding and computing - including the chance to design some of their own games. It's designed to be as simple as putting together bits of Lego, so they shouldn't be annoying you every half an hour asking for help. They're off all summer, so you might as well use that free time to make them learn new and essential skills. [Buy it here]

Minecraft, £13-£21

Kids can't get enough of Minecraft, it is known. So there's no better way to keep them occupied than throwing them into a virtual world where you can build (and destroy) anything and everything. It's a bit like the Lego box, but in a digital realm where you can't accidentally step on a stray piece.

If your kids think Minecraft is childish and beneath them, throw them into the complex world of Civilization V. They're bound to waste many, many hours just trying to figure out the best strategies to win. By the time they're totally finished with it, Civilization VI will be out and selling for much less than the launch price. [Buy Minecraft on consoles here | Buy on PC here]

Kindle, £60

Don't want your kids in front of a TV screen or video game all summer? Make them read a book, aka the TV from the time before TV was a thing. Sure you could buy them the real thing, or you could just give them a Kindle with a bunch of stories already loaded in. One single device with access to pretty much all the books - as long as you pay for them first. As a bonus, if you're already a Prime member, you get access to ebooks you can 'borrow' (up to one a month) and read without having to pay for each individual one. [Buy it here]

Little Bits Electronics Base Kit, £60

Another educational option, this time teaching your kids all about electronics. Little Bits is designed to help unleash their creativity, creating new and interesting inventions while teaching them the basics of working with electronics. It's all modular as well, using magnets to connect together, so they can add and remove bits anyway they see fit. This is just the base kit, and comes with 10 modules. If you want more you'll have to buy those separately. [Buy it here]

Mini Camera Drone, £21

Drones are all the rage these days, but you can't trust your kids with a big expensive DJI Phantom. But that doesn't mean drones are off limits. So send them off into the great outdoors (away from all the houses) to have a play with this. This one is tiny, so you know that they're going to have a much harder time annoying people with it. That said, it still manages to pack in a camera, so they can mess around filming the stuff they get up to. [Buy it here]

Subscriptions

There are plenty of things your kids can get up to just by sitting in front of a screen. Which is ideal if you don't trust them not to cause havoc outside, or the weather is shite. Let's face it, the weather is guaranteed to be shite for a lot of the summer. There's plenty to choose from here: Netflix, Xbox Live Gold, PS+, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Amazon Prime Video (or regular Prime, which has Prime Video, Music, and Kindle's Lending Library)

Featured image: Shutterstock (modified)