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Talking toys can become your kid's digital friend

The Amazon Echo is a device people love to play with, but it's not much of a toy for the kids. These holiday items however are toys first, but are also voice-activated to make playtime interactive.

Joseph Kaminski Senior Associate Technology Editor / Reviews
During my almost twenty years at CNET, I handled benchmark testing/methodologies for both Mac and PC systems and, sometime after, integrated testing for micro-mobility (e-bikes, electric scooters and EUCs), which is a passion of mine. Transitioning from a BMX background to this field was seamless. Despite testing numerous products, each new one brings the same excitement as my first.
Mike Sorrentino Senior Editor
Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
Expertise Phones, texting apps, iOS, Android, smartwatches, fitness trackers, mobile accessories, gaming phones, budget phones, toys, Star Wars, Marvel, Power Rangers, DC, mobile accessibility, iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, RCS
Joseph Kaminski
Mike Sorrentino
2 min read

Voice assistants like Siri and Alexa can make phone calls and do web searches, but they're not necessarily great for kids to talk to. That's where several toys out this holiday season come in, able to listen and interact with kids during playtime.

The Zoomer brand by Spinmaster has a number of voice-activated friends for kids to play with, including the Zoomer Chimp and Zoomer Marshall.


Zoomer Marshall is known from Nickelodeon's "Paw Patrol" show.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Marshall toy represents a character from Nickelodeon's "Paw Patrol" television show, and has about 80 missions and 150 Paw Patrol sounds and phrases. The toy retails for $53 in the US, converting roughly to £40 in the UK and AU$75 in Australia.


Zoomer Chimp can play using both voice commands and hand gestures.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Zoomer Chimp can respond to basic voice commands such as "Do a flip" and then flip. It can also be controlled with hand motions by gesturing in front of the toy's face to make it move forward and back. The Chimp costs $120, converting roughly to £95 and AU$165.


The CogniToys Dino connects to Wi-Fi, and acts very much like an Amazon Echo, if the Echo were a toy instead of a speaker.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you are looking for a toy that can hold more of a conversation, the CogniToys Dino could be someone your child could chat with. The toy connects to Wi-Fi and can listen to a child's responses to provide information and play games. The Dino can solve simple math problems, tell stories and jokes. And the artificial intelligence it uses is partly enhanced by IBM's Watson. The Dino retails for $99 (roughly £80 and AU$135).


The Brightlings can listen to a child sing, and then sing the words back in its own voice.

Sarah Tew/CNET

And does your child want to be a singer? The Brightlings toy could be their new karaoke buddy. In addition to speaking about 100 phrases, the toy can listen to a child while they sing and then repeat the words in its own wacky voice.

Check out more of these voice-activated toys in our gallery below.

Talking holiday toys that can become your kid's digital friend

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