Artie Max app

Technology is an important part of kids’ lives today, especially with a new generation that has grown up not knowing a life without it. From tech to entertain to education tech and particularly smart toys and robotics that focus on STEM and STEAM, helping teach kids how to code, there’s plenty of innovation in the kids tech space. Not surprisingly, CES 2022 is showcasing lots of exciting new products.

Kids tech for entertainment

Tastemaker LLC Arcade1Up

Arcade1Up Midway Legacy arcade machine

Arcade1Up has taken the industry by storm, celebrating a milestone of close to three million arcade machines sold in under three years. The concept brings back nostalgia for parents and gives kids the opportunity to play video games in retro fashion, harkening back to the ’80s and ’90s. With models like the Infinity Game Table (IGT) that works as a high-tech board game alternative to the Arcade1Up Jr (JR) for helping kids develop those important fine motor skills, the company has a diverse line. New for 2022 is the addition of Wi-Fi in the Arcade 1Up Legacy Edition Line of arcades, which will allow for online cooperative gameplay and high score leaderboards, along with over-the-air updates. Each machine comes loaded with 14 games as well, two more than the 2021 models. New titles being released in 2022 include Bandai Legacy Arcade Game PAC-MANIA Edition, Midway Legacy Arcade Game Mortal Kombat 30th Edition, and Atari Legacy Arcade Game Centipede Edition. There will also be a new professional machine, the Killer Instinct, later this year that also adds Wi-Fi remote play along with authentic artwork and a true-to-scale arcade design.

Jooki 2 Kids Wi-Fi speaker

Jooki 2 kids speaker

Jooki’s new Kids Wi-Fi speaker uses patented NFC-enabled ToyTouch technology, allowing kids to place a special figurine or token on top to stream their favourite child-appropriate music playlists without the need for a screen. The wireless, screen-free music/audiobook player connects to Spotify or can play MP3 files imported offline or streamed directly from the speaker, while kids use the figurines and tokens as remote controls for triggering playlists. Parents can easily preset the playlists using the Jooki app. In addition to playing through its built-in speakers with volume limiting technology, kids can also connect wireless headsets to the Jooki 2 via Bluetooth. Jooki 2 has an eight-hour USB rechargeable battery along with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, or use local offline MP3 capabilities for content beyond music, like bedtime stories. It’s designed for kids aged 3 and up. The speaker comes with two Jooki tokens, pre-programmed playlists, and a charging cable. Additional tokens and figurines can be purchased in packs of six and five, respectively.

Picoo game console for outdoors

Picoo outdoor game console

It’s a constant battle for parents who want to balance screen time with active play. This game console aims to combine the two for the best of both worlds. Designed for use outdoors, combines both interactive game play with outdoor activities. There’s a controller and game console that are interconnected with lights, sounds, and vibrations. Cards are included with instructions for each game. Read, scan the card with one of the controllers, and go. Games include ones like MollenMania where kids have to try and catch as many moles as possible, or Zombierun for escaping zombies. The starter kit comes with four Picoos and five game cards with four helper cards, but the system works with expansion kits. Note that it comes with a pair of USB-C cables but no wall charger so you’ll need to provide one.

Cricut Explore 3 and Cricut Maker 4

Cricut Explore 3 Cricut Maker 3

Suitable for older kids who are into crafting (with the supervision of an adult), the Cricut smart cutting machines allow you to design, create, and personalize all kinds of items, from decals to personalized T-shirts, or even toys. They cut at up to eight inches per second and can work with a variety of Cricut Smart Material types, from smart vinyl to smart iron-on and smart paper. New to these models, which were introduced in 2021 but are being shown at CES 2022, is the ability to cut up to 12 feet at once. With Cricut Explore 3, you can cut over 100 materials, including cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, glitter paper, and cork. The machine allows for cutting, drawing, scoring, and embellishing projects with text, illustrations, and easy-to-fold creases. Cricut Maker 3, meanwhile, works with more than 300 materials, from delicate papers and fabrics to touch materials like leather and balsa wood. It also features an Adaptive Tool System for intelligently controlling the direction of the blade and cut pressure to match the material. Both work with the Design Space software for desktop, iOS, and Android.

Kids STEM and STEAM tech

Pixicade Plus

Pixicade Plus

The Pixicade Plus is a great toy for kids who are interested in creating their own video games and immersing themselves in STEM. Ideal for kids aged 6-12, they create their own drawings and turn them into actual video games that can be played on their mobile devices. It comes with two sets of washable markers, three game design books, 16 game template cards, more than 50 game design stickers, and two QR codes for using the Pixicade app. Draw the game on paper, snap a photo of it, then play the animated version of the game on a phone or tablet. Kids can create their own characters, build obstacles, and design goals for how to win the game.

Educational Insights Artie Max coding robot

Artie Max coding robot

Educational Insights’ newest coding robot is Artie Max, which is designed for kids 8 and up helping them learn coding concepts through STEAM learning. Unlike other coding robots, Artie Max adds the important art component to the equation by creating drawings. Kids can make line-by-line code using five coding languages, Blockly, Snap!, JavaScript, Python and C++, to create tangible art masterpieces. Connect the robot to any Wi-Fi-enabled device, code the design, then watch as Artie Max brings the design to life on paper. Kids can progress from simple shapes to full works of art like a spirograph using a more complex coding language, like Python. It has edge and line detection and can be controlled via remote. The mouth and eyes are LEDs that light up and can also be coded to showcase different colours and expressions, as well as sounds. It comes with three coloured pens to create the drawings.

Kids tech for education

Animal Island AILA Learning Adventure AILA Sit & Play preschool learning system

Animal Island AILA sit and play

Designed for preschoolers from 12-36 months of age, this preschool learning system is designed to help kids learn everything from their ABCs and 123s to colours, words, shapes, reading, and music. It’s totally hands free with exclusive content that’s age appropriate and free of ads or the requirement of a subscription. It can adapt to the child’s learning style over time, also managing screen time. The idea is to help prepare kids for school via short learning sessions. There’s also a Parent app where parents can track progress, check in on their toddler, send photos and videos, and monitor screen time.

The Quarto Group Ultimate Squishy with SmartScan technology

Ultimate Squishy with SmartScan technology

This 16-inch-tall anatomy toy is sculpted from a medical model of the real human body and includes 10 realistic and removable squishy organs along with articulated joints, 15 removable bones and muscles, and an interactive sound module. Kids can open and close the mandible skull while the transparent lung shows the workings of the respiratory system and the joints bend and rotate. Place one of the eight removable SmartParts on the electronic SmartScan module and the scanner will recognize the part and prompt the child to activate Scan Mode or Quiz Mode. The former provides audible details about the part, the bodily system to which it belongs, and other fun facts. With the latter, kids can test their knowledge and answer up to 70 quiz questions about it. There are even sounds based on each organ, from burps to gurgles. It also comes with a chart, assembly sheet, quick start guide, and a 48-page book with detailed explanations, illustrations, and other fun facts about the human body.

Bottom line

When it comes to kids’ tech, there’s plenty of innovation, whether you’re looking for an educational or exploratory toy, STEM-based product, or even just something for fun and entertainment. CES 2022 shows that innovation in kids tech is not slowing down any time soon.

Christine Persaud
With 20+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism, I have covered the tech space since before social media was a "thing" and the smartphone as we know it was even invented. Writing for various technology, lifestyle, and entertainment sites, I have covered and reviewed hundreds of tech products, from home appliances to wearables, fitness tech to headphones, TV entertainment products and services, and more. I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV show fanatic (happy to give what to watch recommendations!), and proud mother to a 12-year-old son.