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July 21, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Hi-Tech Gear & More for the New School Year

Quality gear helps to ensure your child's launch into another year of learning. We've got super-cool items for all ages.

TickTalk 3
Ages 5 – 12 | $169.99

This waterproof smart watch is perfect for kids. When you purchase a SIM card through your carrier or take advantage of the provided free SIM kit from Red Pocket, it becomes a standalone phone. On the Red Pocket site, you choose a very affordable plan for your child. It’s a little bit of a hassle to get it all set up, but once you do, you’ll love the features.

Set up the contacts — up to 53 of them — that allows your child to call or text. Everyone your child will contact will have to install the TickTalk app as well, though. Know that the sound is sensitive, so your child will have to hold the TickTalk closely to his mouth for the best volume and clarity. He’ll enjoy taking pictures and videos.

From the accompanying app on Mom or Dad’s phone, you can lock the dial screen, locate your child via GPS, set up a “Do Not Disturb” time to keep interruptions at school at bay and more. You can also set up to 20 group chats, use Wi-Fi to call and text, and more. Turn on the firewall feature to prevent unwanted calls and to permit preset contacts to get through. A red SOS button on the watch’s side dials the quick contact number you set up for your child.

Customize the screen background and pick additional easy-to-swap wristband colors ($14.99 each; seven colors to choose from). Another style note to consider: While the watch is for kids up to age 12, the design and overall feel of the watch may be too childlike for 10 and older. Still, this watch is a great way to introduce responsibility to your child before getting him a phone.


All Ages | $49.99 (+$9.99/mo. service)

If you just need to be able to reach your child, does he need a phone? Think of this as a walkie talkie — it’s durable, waterproof and easy to use. This handy little square keeps track of your child’s location and allows you to send and receive voice messages. Install the accompanying app on your phone and you’re good to go. You can even set up geofencing location alerts. Channels include chats, music (that you download to it), language translation (13+ languages) and daily jokes, too. Available in five different colors.

Tanoshi 2-in-1
Ages 6 – 12 | $199.99

This laptop easily converts into a tablet for any child. It features a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen, dual stereo speakers, a 2.0 MP front camera and 5.0 MP rear camera. It has 32 GB built-in storage and a MicroSD slot for added storage space. Tanoshi’s pre-loaded Family Link app makes it easy for you to manage your child’s screen time, approve or deny app downloads and remotely lock the device when screen time is up. Just sign in with your Google account and download the Family Link app on your own device. The app may shut off automatically until set up is complete. Parental controls let you filter out what you don’t want your child to see, search or download online. Other helpful features include GPS locator, app tracking and screen-time limits. A location sound feature lets you find the device by a ping on your phone.

This computer/laptop/tablet is great for kids who have experience with tablets already and need something they can do homework on. It has Google Docs, Google Sheets and more.


InvisibleShield Glass+ VisionGuard Screen Protector
All Ages | $54.99+

Whether it’s a smart watch, phone or tablet, protect those screens from sticky kid fingers. This scratch-resistant screen protector protects your touchscreen devices from scratches and impacts and includes Eyesafe technology, which filters harmful blue light. Clean your screen first then apply the protector. You’ll like how easily it attaches to the screen.


Huggaroo Weighted Blankets
Ages 4 and older | $149.99 (15-pound); $99.99 (seven-pound)

Steady pressure lowera stress hormones and helps little minds calm down for a restful night’s sleep. The outer cover is a soft, minky fabric (or choose chenille) and the inner quilt is 100 percent cotton filled with hypoallergenic, lead-free, non-toxic, odorless glass microbeads. It’s seven pounds and ideal for a child weighing 30 – 90 pounds who is older than 3 years.

The 15-pound blanket is suited for older kids and teens. The plush and extra-fluffy weighted blanket set is perfect for the coming chill of the fall and winter months. The duvet cover is removable, machine-washable and is secured to the inner weighted quilt via 14 sturdy double ties and loops, preventing any shifting or settling.

Created by Nashville husband and wife duo Drs. Wendy and Marty Jordanov, when their oldest son was 5, he had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. After hearing about other parents dealing with the same situation, the Jordanovs started making their own weighted blankets and therapeutic wraps. Huggaroo launced in 2016 and has grown into a complete line of personal health & wellness products for children and adults. Since 2017, they have donated a portion of profits to One Simple Wish, a non-profit supporting children in foster care.

Rocketbook Everlast
All ages | $32+

Get rid of the old spiral notebook where the pages fall out and rip as you erase over and over again. The durable — and REUSABLE — pages of this notebook stand up to the test of time. The special pen that it comes with allows you to write and draw all over the page as you typically would and use the unusual eraser to make changes where needed. But, that’s not all it can do. You can erase the entire page using the special cloth it comes with and a little drop of water. You can even take a snapshot of it using the app on your phone to email it and save for later. There are different symbols at the bottom of the page that you set up to have pages sent to like your home email, work email, etc. Notes from school can easily be shared with classmates and more.


STMT D.I.Y. Agenda Set
Ages 14 and older | $18 on

Kids can organize daily tasks, stay on top of tests and events and create a list of goals. This artsy set comes with colorful glitter tape, gel pens, sticky notes and more. Kids can customize and style with paper craft essentials. Agendas help kids to plan ahead — it takes a lot of learning to do that.

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