The best gifts for kids and teens for Christmas 2018

Shopping for the teen or kid in your life? From game-playing robots to mega LEGO, we've got it covered!

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Out of all the Christmas gift lists we put together at T3, the gifts for kids and teens guide is always our favourite. Perhaps it’s because we’re hankering for our youth, or perhaps it’s because the kids and teens section always has the raddest gifts around.

Robots, app-controlled cars, nifty scooters… This category is bursting with awesome tech treats. 

Choose wisely and you can get some quality time with your kid or teen’s gift too. What? Don’t pretend you haven’t busted into your kid’s LEGO and built a sweet castle with working drawbridge!

Anyway, for this year’s round-up we’ve focused on main presents. You know, the big enchiladas around which all other pressies are arranged. But if you are looking for ideas for smaller Christmas gifts for kids and teens, check out the list at the bottom of this article. You can also look through our recommendations for the best gifts for £50 and under for Christmas 2018. 

Ready? Then let’s get this Christmas show on the road with a true Pixar legend...

Sphero Ultimate Lightning McQueen

The world’s most famous stock car comes to life!

Reasons to buy
+Easy to use app-controlled racing car +High-performance driving and drifting+Super cool animatronic features+Create scripts for McQueen to perform!

Put pedal to the metal on your Christmas shopping with Sphero’s next big smash. That’s right, the world’s most famous stock car gets a high-tech makeover thanks to the bods behind the BB-8 droid. 

Sphero’s Ultimate Lightning McQueen is an app-enabled interactive race car packed with animatronic features, including animated eyes and an animatronic mouth. Download the companion app then let your kid hit the gas, enjoying McQueen’s pro driving and drifting and reactive touch features. 

When your kid isn’t driving this seven-time Piston Cup Champion they can create personalised scripts for McQueen to perform, or watch Disney Pixar’s Cars with McQueen reacting in real-time to the film. Adults can play with this too, right?

Anki Cozmo

An adorable game-playing robot that lives to win

Reasons to buy
+iOS/Android-connected self-aware robot+Loves playing games involving skill and speed+Explores, remembers and reacts to his surroundings+Onboard VGA camera with facial recognition

A game-playing supercomputer on treads, Anki’s newcomer is funny, adventurous and self-aware. Cozmo’s designed with four motors and over 50 gears, which he uses to explore, then remember and react to, his environment.

Much like us, Cozmo makes decisions based on his mood, and emits a series of cute sounds depending on what he’s doing. He loves playing with interactive Cubes (three included) and has a 30fps VGA camera with facial recognition software to help him remember all his interactions. 

Did we mention Cozmo is competitive? Well, yeah. He likes playing games but loves winning even more, so bring your A game (and your iOS or Android smartphone) when challenging him to a game of speed or skill. Bring it on, Cozmo. Bring. It. On.

LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox

Kids nagging you for a kitten? Build ’em one out of LEGO

Reasons to buy
+Five-in-one app-controlled LEGO toy+Code and built a walking, talking robot+Help your kids create, the play, a LEGO guitar!+Highly creative fun for kids aged 7+

Much like the Purple Ones in Quality Street, no Christmas is complete with a bucket-load of LEGO. Last year we had the mighty LEGO Dimensions, but this year it’s all about LEGO’s (iOS and Android) app-enabled Boost Creative Toolbox. 

This one-stop LEGO mega shop has 847 pieces that can be used to code and build five different multi-functional models. These include an interactive cat called Frankie, a guitar with rocking sound effects and pitch bend, and an automated production line (AutoBuilder) that builds mini LEGO models!

A LEGO Bluetooth Move Hub, Interactive Motor and a Color and Distance Sensor are also included, plus a playmat and LEGO Boost wall poster. People, Christmas just got real.

Beats Studio 3 Wireless

The beat goes on with this teens choice favourite

Reasons to buy
+Pure ANC tech blocks blocks external sounds+Powered by Apple’s reliable Bluetooth W1 chip+Ergonomic pivoting delivers a custom fit+Up to 22 hours playback per charge

If you’re buying for a teen who loves blasting their earholes with heavy bass, the new Beats Studio 3 Wireless will help you hit the right notes.  Available in six colours, these Bluetooth Beats are the brand’s most stylish option yet – and the inclusion of Apple’s W1 chip makes them one of the most powerful, too. 

Noisy surrounding won’t be an issue for your teen either, as the Beats Studio 3 Wireless feature Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling (Pure ANC), which continuously pinpoints then blocks external sounds while responding to the music played. What does that mean? A rad listening experience, that’s what. 

These ventilated, cushioned cans run for up to 22 hours per full charge. That’s a whole load of Bieber.

Recon Observation Drone

Take flight this Christmas with Recon’s bargain quadcopter

Reasons to buy
+Fun RC camera quadcopter+Records video and takes stills+Saves footage to on-board SD card (included)+50-meter control range

For teens aged 14+, the Recon Observation Drone is a nifty quadcopter with onboard camera. Of course it won’t give the likes of DJI a run for its money, but it will give your teen a taste of what it’s like to fly a drone and capture aerial video and stills. 

The Recon Observation Drone has a camera on its underbelly and comes with an SD Card for recording footage. This three-speed drone operates on the 2.4G frequency, with a control range of up to 50 metres. 

More importantly, it features a loop-the-loop stunt button for putting on a sweet aerial display. A one-hour charge delivers eight minutes of flight time. Gen up on UK recreational drone flight regulations before taking to the skies.

Zinc Volt XT3 Electric Scooter

A twist and go scooter for tearing up the skate park

Reasons to buy
+Two-wheel scooter with easy-fold design+Reaches speeds of up to 15mph+Simple twist and go acceleration+Slimline deck with anti-slip footplate

Ah, scooters. The quintessential Christmas gift for teens and kids. Zinc’s Volt XT3 Electric Scooter can reach speeds up to 15mph, making it perfect for skate park play and general off-road madness. 

The XT3 Electric has an air-blown front tyre and dragster-style rear wheel, designed to deliver a smooth ride. The slimline deck is durable enough to withstand heavy-footed use, and its rechargeable 24V lead acid battery will keep the kids zooming along for up to one hour at a time. 

Elsewhere there’s an anti-slip footplate and easy grip handles, plus a thumb trigger twist-and-go acceleration. There’s minimum assembly required, too, so you can get your nipper up and running quickly on Christmas Day.

OnePlus 5 JCC+

A fashion-forward smartphone to suit even the fussiest of teens

Reasons to buy
+Dual cameras for epic selfies and stills+Dash Charge function for staying juiced+Night mode for late-night social surfers+Available in three designer colours

Buying a smartphone for a teen can be tricky. They want premium features and epic cameras, which is fine – but you’re the one footing the bill for it. Now there’s a way to get fashion credentials and premium specs for less, thanks to the new OnePlus 5 JCC+.

Produced in collaboration with iconic French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, this handset features funky coloured hardware buttons and an inspirational manifesto etched onto the back. 10 exclusive wallpapers, hand-drawn by Jean-Charles, amp the phone’s exclusive vibe. 

Other teen-friendly features include a dual camera for epic selfie sessions, and Dash Charge, which delivers a day’s worth of power in 30 minutes. Gaming is also a joy thanks to a high-performance Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. This phone is a limited edition, so move fast!

littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

This DIY Star Wars drone is ready for a new mission

Reasons to buy
+Build an R2-D2 style droid+Carry out 16+ exciting missions+Record covert messages like Leia+Use gesture controls like a Jedi

Thanks to littleBits, the kid or teen in your life can now build their very own R2-D2-looking droid. Jealous much?

The Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit partners with a Droid Inventor training app, enabling this droid to go on 16+ exciting missions. These include Force Drive, where the Droid can be controlled with the Force (hand gestures), or Secret Message, where covert messages can be recorded onto the droid before it’s sent off to deliver the news. 

Each droid can make 20 sounds, taken from the Star Wars films, and come with smart device controls including joysticks and sliders to enable Force Mode, Drive Mode and other modes. There’s also craft materials in the box for personalising the droid. May the Force be with you.

Ubtech Jimu Astrobot Kit

Help your kids code better with Ubtech’s new Bluetooth robot

Reasons to buy
+Teaches older kids to code better+Build three types of robot+Boost your kid’s STEM knowledge+Suitable for ages 8+

STEM education is vital for kids and teens, so help them get a jump start with the Ubtech Jimu Astrobot Kit, which enables them to build (instructions via the Jimu app) a robot with infrared sensor. 

The Astrobot Kit includes treads, LED lights, a speaker, infrared sensor, 190 snap-together pieces, a main control box, quick re-charging Lithum-ion battery and a power adapter. These pieces can be used to build either one of three pre-designed robots, the AstroBot, Rover or Astron, or a custom creation. 

The infrared sensor detects objects to pick up or to move around, while the LED lights are ideal for nighttime play. Via the speaker, the robot can play music or sound effects. 

Garmin Vivofit Jr 2

Encourage your kid to set their own activity and adventure goals

Reasons to buy
+Kids' activity tracker in a range of themes+Can be worn in the swimming pool+Tracks steps, sleep and daily activity+Assigns rewards for daily goals

Garmin’s new activity tracker for kids is more than a steps counter. Available in a range of Disney, Marvel and Star Wars themes, the Vivofit Jr 2 encourages both adventure and play. 

The Vivofit Jr 2 is swim-proof, has a one-year battery life and is simple to set up. It throws down a friendly Toe-to-Toe step challenge (via Garmin’s Connect IQ app), encouraging your kid to move more by challenging other local Vivofit Jr 2 users to a timed steps challenge. 

You can also manage your child’s household chores via the parent-controlled app, designating a virtual coin reward if they complete a chore. Coins can then be redeemed for real rewards agreed by you. Hey, if you can’t get them to tidy their room, maybe Captain America can...

Want more? Here’s some other great gift ideas for kids and teens for Christmas 2017: