Today, tech is a kid’s entertainment and learning buddy. It’s their ticket to their future tomorrow. At CES 2019, the Kids at Play Summit heads into its 10th year of exploring kids’ relationship to technology.
While there are as many unknowns as ever, one thing’s for sure: kids are developing the skills as grownups. Play, as it always has been, is great prep for growing up as a critical thinker and problem solver.
Here’s what we’re seeing on the horizon for 2019:
1. PREPPING FOR THE FUTURE:
From toddlerdom on, kids are growing up swiping, tapping, and now talking to machines. As we study behaviors we learn about creating great interfaces for kids. As technology improves, kids are learning empathy and social skills from products as well as the harder core subjects. There’s also a focus on learning by watching — just look at how much time kids spend on YouTube, for example.
2. STEAM – CODING:
Interest in coding and STEAM-related activities as an important skillset has not waned. Learning cause and effect— having the agency to iterate, to learning to problem solve from failures — are some of the things that coding teaches kids. We’re also seeing “entrepreneurial skills” becoming equally important.
Other companies on the show floor are personalizing engaging play that combines coding skills and creativity. For example, Coding Critters help kids as young as preschool learn about coding through storybook adventures and playsets. Meanwhile, Artie the new coding and drawing robot, helps older kids create simple and complex designs using scratch coding.
3. CONNECTED PLAY:
Kids are moving from home to school to outdoor play and the exectation is that tech will be their companion. Razor, scooter and Minelab, a kid-sized metal detector, are just two examples. And Kano’s popular Harry Potter Wand is the perfect example of a tech toy that travels anywhere.
These all bring together our goal to have well-rounded children that are connected to their passions and their families.
With tech and toys becoming more a part of our everyday, it can feel overwhelming to navigate the products out on the market. Neighborhood toy store owners curate the best product selection to help parents, grandparents and caregivers navigate the products out on the market.
Kimberly Mosley is president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). Founded in 1992, ASTRA is an international not-for-profit trade organization that serves more than 1,800 independent retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives in the specialty toy industry. It can be found at booth 43967 in the Sands.