The phone-connected robotic R2 is the most realistic Star Wars toy replica we've ever seen. It rolls, it beeps, it even shakes and falls down. The Sphero app has some games and a "watch along with the movie" mode, if you're screening the films ahead of "The Last Jedi."
Lego's more accessible coding kit and playset includes hundreds bricks and instructions to make multiple robots and toys out of the box: a rolling robot, a cat, an electric guitar, and even a mini-factory. The iOS/Android app's packed with other things to try.
The best game console of 2017 already has a lot of great games: Mario Kart 8, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey. And its controllers allow lots of on-the-go two-player games on the small screen.
Amazon's kid-targeted version of its affordable 8-inch tablet comes with 32GB of storage, a drop-protective case, a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited access to apps and games, and a two-year replacement warranty.
Are you a board game obsessive? Looney Labs' massive box set, Pyramid Arcade, is a kit to play 22 games and invent dozens more. The difficulty ranges from easy to surprisingly complicated. And it's a great kit to invent your own game ideas, too.
You can buy kits and books to teach your kid to do great things with a super-affordable computer, thanks to incredibly affordable products like Raspberry Pi. The Pi 3 arrived last year, but there are lots of cases, accessories and add-ons to try. And you might get a kick out of playing around with it, too.
Caption byScott Stein
/ Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
This isn't cheap, but Sphero's awesome detailed Cars 3 toy feels like a piece of animatronics come to life.
First off: go buy a real physical book at a local bookstore for someone as a gift. But also, our favorite e-reader is Amazon's frequently-on-sale Kindle Paperwhite. It's got backlighting for reading at night. It doesn't play games. This is all about reading.