Tech toys top Christmas lists for kids

ORLANDO, Fla. - 'Tis the season for technology.  Topping children's Christmas lists are several tech toys, including iPods, tablets and digital barbies.

"My favorite gadget is my tablet," Hannah Mayfield said.

Hannah, Ben and Ellie Mayfield are all under the age of 8, and all about high-tech toys. Their mom, Megan, sees it as a sign of the times.

"They've been surrounded by these toys since they were born, and to them it's just another thing to play with in the playroom," Megan Mayfield said.

Laurie Schacht, of the Toy Insider, says tablets still top many wish lists this year. And they're loaded with more options than ever with Innotab 3s with kid-connect technology.

"Kids can actually talk to their parents on their devices. They can send a text message, they can send a picture," Schacht said.

The Kurio Touch 4s is similar to an Ipod touch but runs on an Android Operating system. It offers parental controls and comes pre-loaded with more than 30 free games and apps.

But experts say technology in toys goes way beyond tablets.

"We're seeing all this technology appear in toys for our youngest children, and it's really giving them the skills they need both for school and eventually for every day life, but in a fun way," Schacht said.

It's called edutainment and ranges from the new Leapreader that is designed to help teach toddlers to write, to other robotic technology that could be training future computer programmers.

"Once they build it, they have to program the whole robot -- how it walks, how it talks, every movement is programmed," Schacht said.

Future fashionistas can create looks on the barbie digital dress using LED lights and there's even facial-tracking technology.

If you feel like you might be overwhelmed with all the tech, experts say it's not as complicated as it might seem.

"I feel like I'm learning right along with them. As they're exploring the toys, sometimes they'll have questions that they ask me and I'll, you know, I'll play with the toy, too, to kind of figure it out."

Prices for these toys range from $40 for the Digital dress Barbie to $100 for the Kurio Touch 4s.

With all the technology, Schacht says parents shouldn't forget about a well-balanced toy box, explaining nothing is going to replace the building blocks, playing dress up or that Teddy bear that your little one will take to bed.

For toys with internet connectivity, experts suggests you play with the parental controls to make sure they're set to levels you're comfortable with for your children- limiting what sites they see and what sites have access to their information.

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