We’ve never embraced the orthodoxy that electronic toys can’t be educational or beneficial for kids. If a toy encourages kids to use their imagination, we’re all in favor, and remote control toys give kids a great jumping-off point for creative scenarios (and the invention of obstacle courses). Plus, RC toys encourage kids to run around outside, they help kids to develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and best of all, they’re toys that everyone in the family is going to want to get their hands on, encouraging family bonding.
Our selection of remote control toys runs the gamut from simple cars that your toddler can control to high-tech drones that will thrill your tween. Every single one of these toys makes an amazing gift, because there’s nothing with quite the same “wow” factor – on your child’s next birthday or holiday, they’re going to be the first toys that come out of the box for playtime. So make sure you’ve got extra batteries on hand, because you’re going to need them!
Let’s start simple: the two-button remote on the Kid Galaxy My First Soft Remote Control Tow Truck ($19.99) and the My First Soft Remote Control Fire Truck ($19.99) enables kids as young as age 2 to enjoy remote-control fun! One button moves it forward, and the other “spins,” which will be enough to thrill little kids – oh yes, and the body of the truck is made of soft plastic that won’t dent your furniture.
Billy Fun Wheels from Chicco ($29.99) is similarly simple: the intuitive “steering wheel” helps younger kids learn how to make Billy go, although they’ll have just as much fun pushing it around by hand or chasing it while you steer it. Bonus: Billy Fun Wheels also can handle outdoor surfaces!
ALL TERRAIN AND STUNT CARS
For more rough-and-tumble play indoors or outdoors, we love the Daron R/C Stunt Vehicle ($22.99) – we’ve had loads of fun playing with this guy in the office! (Seriously, we spent a good twenty minutes running it around and trying to build ramps.) (Yes, we get paid to do that.) It lights up, makes five different sound effects, and can do a wild variety of impressive stunts. It’s COOL.
Cooler still, however, are the Morphibian remote control cars ($34.99) from Kid Galaxy: these animal-themed RC trucks rumble easily over dirt and rocks and can even run on WATER. Take them into the backyard, take them on vacation, run them in the pool or the bathtub – they can do it all.
Choose your thrillride: would your kid prefer a teeny drone that fits in their pocket? Then perhaps the TX Juice Pocket Drone ($49.99) is a good place to start. Or would they prefer a top-rated drone that lights up for night flights? Then the Odyssey X-7 Microlite Drone ($69.99) will make an excellent gift. Or, to get your kid to declare “this is the best gift I ever got,” go deluxe with the Litehawk High Roller Drone ($89.99), which can roll right up the walls. YES.
BUILD YOUR OWN
- Elenco Electronics Snap Rover, $89.99; ages 8 and up
- Hexbug Vex Robotics Construction Set – Ant Robot, $59.99; ages 8 and up
- Kid Galaxy Wave Breakers R/C Racing Boat, $24.99; ages 5 and up
- Playmobil Pirates Ship with RC Underwater Motor, $129.99; ages 7 and up
- Kid Galaxy Silver Cyber Cycle, $44.99; ages 5 and up
- Hexbug Battle Spiders Dual Pack, $59.99; ages 8 and up
Not sure which remote control toy will thrill that special kid in your life? We’re the experts: just look for the friendly folks in lime-green shirts at every Magic Beans store, and we’ll help you find the perfect gift (and rhapsodize about our faves too).