Welcome to What Would Baba Do, your dad blog destination and friendly companion on a captivating journey through the modern world of gifts & gifting. In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, we’re delving into the realm of gifting, but with a twist that’s right up the alley of tech enthusiasts, digital natives, and anyone who appreciates the marvels of the digital age.
The digital era has revolutionized the art of giving and receiving gifts, and it’s not just about sending a virtual gift card. We’re here to help you explore the dazzling array of gift options suited for the digital age, designed to ignite the passions of the tech-savvy in your life.
When it comes to choosing the perfect gift, we consider every aspect, including the recipient’s interests, needs, and yes, our own budget. In this guide, we’ll bridge the gap between heartfelt giving and the digital age, unveiling a world of gift ideas for the technology enthusiast in your life.
The Baba Gifts Range
To help, I’ve created the Baba Gifts Range to help you find the perfect digital gift for every budget and interest. Here’s a rundown of the different price ranges:
- $ = Under $25
- $$ = $25-$50
- $$$ = $51-$100
- $$$$ = $101-$250
- $$$$$ = $251+
Next, let’s dive deeper into an array of gift categories, each tailored to specific interests and preferences in the digital age. Whether you’re shopping for a young gamer or a tech-savvy adult, we’ve got you covered with a treasure trove of gift ideas for the digitally inclined.
There are many gift categories; so to help you navigate, here’s a menu:
- Gifts for Kids (8-12)
- Gifts for Kids (12+)
- A word on cellphones …
- A word on games & gaming …
- Gifts for the Whole Family
- Gift for Music Lovers
- Gifts for Fitness Enthusiasts
- Gifts for the Tech-Savvy Person
- Gifts for the Creative Person
Gifts For Kids (8-12):
In this category, we’ve gathered a range of fantastic gift ideas for kids aged 8-12. To simplify, we can group them into two sub-categories: Gaming & Reading. Considering this age group, we’ll explore both options in a little more detail to help you find the perfect tech-inspired gift for the youngsters in your life.
I won’t belabor this with more sub-sub-categories, but here’s what I’m thinking:
- Online Access (i.e., Subscriptions)
- Platforms & Accessories
Here’s a little on each of these games:
Minecraft is a sandbox game that allows kids to build anything they can imagine. It is a creative outlet that teaches kids problem-solving skills, encourages collaboration & teamwork, and can help kids learn about different cultures and perspectives. It is also a fun and engaging way to learn about STEM subjects, including architecture.
Most of my children played Minecraft at one point or another. The elaborate structures, the designs, but also setting up a server, creating communities, and many other features were the norm when they said: “Baba, let me show what I did.”
Heck, one of my closest friends used to run his own Minecraft server. Yes, he’s an adult. It’s a good game for all ages!
Here are some of the benefits of Minecraft for kids:
- Creativity: Minecraft allows kids to express their creativity in a variety of ways. They can build anything they can imagine, from simple houses to elaborate castles and other structures.
- Problem-solving: Minecraft teaches kids how to solve problems. When building things in Minecraft, kids need to think about how to use the resources they have available and how to overcome challenges.
- Teamwork: Minecraft is a great way for kids to learn how to work together as a team. Kids can collaborate with other players to build things, solve problems, and explore the world of Minecraft.
- Learning: Minecraft can be used to teach kids about a variety of STEM subjects, including architecture. For example, kids can learn about geometry by building different shapes and structures. They can learn about perspective by understanding how to make their structures look realistic. And they can learn about scale by understanding how to make their structures proportionate to each other.
Overall, Minecraft is a great gift for kids aged 8-12. It is a fun and engaging way to learn about different subjects and to develop important skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork. I believe it’s available on Windows (PC), Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo (e.g., Switch products).
Roblox is a popular online gaming platform that allows kids aged 8-12 to create, play, and share games with others. The game has a wide variety of games to choose from, including educational games, action games, adventure games, and more. Roblox is a free app download; however, the allure is in purchasing coins to use for different accessories within the game (e.g., clothing, mini-games that exist within, etc.)
Here are some of the benefits of Roblox for kids:
- Creativity: Roblox allows kids to be creative by designing their own games and avatars. Roblox also has a large community of players who share their own games and creations.
- Learning: Roblox has a variety of educational games that can teach kids about different subjects, such as math, science, and history. Roblox also has a variety of games that can help kids develop important skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication.
- Socialization: Roblox is a great way for kids to socialize with other players from all over the world. Kids can play games together, chat with each other, and make new friends. Frankly, for this age-group (8-12), I prefer they only play with known friends (e.g., from school, neighbors, etc.).
Overall, Roblox is a great gift for kids aged 8-12. It is a fun and engaging way to learn about different subjects, develop important skills, and socialize with other players.
Moving on to online access – subscriptions (I’ll keep this short & sweet):
Keeping to this age-group … Not knowing where the recipient is in their own annual subscription (if they have one), it’s probably safest to offer these as digital gift cards.
And finally, in platforms & accessories, and for this age group (and the next one), I recommend either a Nintendo Switch Lite or -if they already have a cellphone- a mobile game controller.
Here’s a little on both:
Nintendo Switch Lite
The Nintendo Switch Lite ($$$$) is a great gift for kids aged 8-12 (and honestly for the next age group, too) who love to play video games. It is a portable console that is easy to carry with you on the go. The Switch Lite has a large library of games to choose from, including many popular titles such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
The Switch Lite is also a great way for kids to connect with their friends and family. They can play online multiplayer games together, or they can pass the console around and play local multiplayer games.
Overall, the Nintendo Switch Lite is a great gift for kids aged 8-12 who love to play video games. It is portable, affordable, and has a large library of games to choose from. And perhaps best of all, having a portable console allows for some separation in devices. You can put a timer on gaming, and still allow them to continue on other digital devices, like an e-book reader (e.g., the Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$) … more on it in a minute). At this age, having different digital devices affords us (the parents) some flexibility; however, it gets old (and expensive) quick.
Moving on to one of my favorite gaming accessories …
Mobile Game Controllers
Mobile game controllers are devices that can be used to play mobile games more comfortably and precisely. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have the same basic function: to provide physical buttons and joysticks that are easier to use than touchscreen controls. And I personally believe it helps minimize damage to smartphones.
Mobile game controllers can be used to play a wide variety of mobile games, including action games, racing games, sports games, and RPGs. They are especially useful for games that require a lot of precision, such as first-person shooters and platforms.
There are many different mobile game controllers on the market, but some of the most popular brands at the time of this writing include:
When choosing a mobile game controller, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Compatibility: Make sure that the controller is compatible with your phone or tablet.
- Form factor: Some mobile game controllers are designed to be attached to your phone, while others are standalone devices. Choose a form factor that is comfortable for you to use.
- Features: Some mobile game controllers have additional features, such as programmable buttons and built-in batteries. Consider which features are important to you when making your decision.
Here are some of the benefits of using a mobile game controller:
- Improved comfort: Mobile game controllers are typically more comfortable to use than touchscreen controls for extended periods of time.
- Increased precision: Mobile game controllers can provide greater precision than touchscreen controls, which can be helpful for games that require a lot of accuracy.
- Enhanced immersion: Mobile game controllers can help you to feel more immersed in your games by providing a more physical gaming experience.
Overall, mobile game controllers can be a great way to improve your mobile gaming experience. If you are serious about mobile gaming, I recommend investing in a good quality mobile game controller.
Also, for this age group (8-12), many kids are into reading books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid ($), Harry Potter ($$), and I’m sure others ($). I doubt this age group is into audio books, but I’m sure e-books are available too. Of course, e-book lending services, like Kindle Unlimited ($$$), are a good option too.
A good combination of both gaming and reading would be a tablet. At this age, I would start them off with something like the Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$). I don’t have any experience with it, but that’s what I would consider. Here’s why:
Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet
The Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$) is a great tablet for kids aged 8-12. It has a large screen, a long battery life, and a variety of features that make it safe and easy for kids to use.
Here are some of the benefits of the Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$):
- Safety: The Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$) has a variety of safety features, such as parental controls and a kid-friendly web browser. Parents can set limits on how much time their kids spend using the tablet and what apps and websites they can access.
- Education: The Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$) has a variety of educational apps and games that kids can use to learn about different subjects. The Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$) also has access to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which is a subscription service that gives kids access to thousands of books, games, videos, and educational apps.
- Entertainment: The Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$) has a variety of entertainment features, such as access to streaming services, games, and books. Kids can watch their favorite movies and TV shows, play games, and read books on the Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$).
Overall, the Fire HD 10 Kids Tablet ($$$$) is a great gift for kids aged 8-12. It is a safe, educational, and entertaining tablet that kids can enjoy.
Gifts For Kids (12+):
As kids grow older, their interests evolve, and the world of tech-inspired gifts opens up even wider. In this category, we’ll explore gift ideas designed for kids aged 12 and beyond, catering to their changing preferences. Let’s dive into a diverse range of tech-savvy gifts tailored to meet their evolving interests.
Gaming: Many of the games in the previous age group apply here. Of course, older kids (including those of us above 30), might want some of the more mature games (e.g., Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Zelda, etc.). However, getting a kid a game assumes they already own a gaming console or a PC. Some popular gaming consoles include the PlayStation 5 ($$$$$), Xbox Series X ($$$$$), and Nintendo Switch ($$$$$).
Quick side note: Interest in gaming consoles ebbs & flows. Recently, I’m seeing a higher interest in gamers wanting to build their own personal computer (PC) —to build it as a gaming machine. In that case, consider shifting your gift ideas towards computer components. However, consider only buying what’s on their predetermined wish list. Otherwise, you risk major compatibility issues. And honestly, this is where digital gift cards might be best.
Subscription services: This may seem like an odd gift but hear me out. There are many great subscription services available that offer access to a variety of content, such as streaming TV/channels, music, and books. Some popular subscription services for kids aged 12+ include
Be sure you know what shows, and show categories, they are into so that you can match that back to the appropriate streaming service. For example, if the person is a hardcore Marvel and/or Star Wars fan, then Disney+ is your answer. Assuming you’re paying for a year up front, making sure you have the right subscription service will ensure it is a thoughtful gift ($$$-$$$$).
Creative software: Arguably another type of subscription service, creative software allows kids to be creative and create their own content, such as music, videos, and art. Some popular creative software programs for kids include Adobe Creative Suite ($$$$$), Canva, and other such annual subscriptions. Out of this bunch, I would argue that getting them a year of Canva Pro would be the winner ($$$).
Recreational: Technology has seeped into many “traditional” items too. Here are some examples:
Cellphones: A cellphone ($$$$$) can be a great gift for kids aged 12+, as it allows them to stay connected with friends and family, access information, game, and learn new things. However, it is important to talk to your child about the responsible use of a cellphone before giving them one.
Let’s address the elephant in the room …
A word on cellphones …
Some parents may be against giving their child a cellphone at this age, and for good reason. Here are a few concerns:
- Cyberbullying and online predators: Children who have cellphones may be more vulnerable to cyberbullying and online predators.
- Screen time addiction: Children who have cellphones may spend too much time on their screens, which can have negative consequences for their health and well-being.
- Distraction from schoolwork: Cellphones can be a distraction from schoolwork and other activities.
However, those can be mitigated; and there are also some benefits to giving a child a cellphone at this age. For example, a cellphone can help children to:
- Stay connected with friends and family: A cellphone can help children to stay connected with friends and family, especially if they are involved in activities or sports that take them away from home often.
- Access information: A cellphone can give children access to information from all over the world. This can be helpful for schoolwork, research, and staying informed about the latest news and events.
- Learn new things: A cellphone can be used to learn new things through educational apps, online courses, and other resources.
If you are considering giving your child a cellphone at age 12, it is important to have a conversation with them about the responsible use of a cellphone. You should also set clear rules and expectations, such as how much time they can spend on their phone each day and what types of apps and websites they can access.
And since we talked about cellphones, let’s also talk about games & gaming:
A word on games & gaming …
I understand that some people may have concerns about giving children video games as gifts. However, it’s important to remember that there are many different types of video games available, and many of them are appropriate for children of all ages (e.g., LeapFrog and VTech). There are also many educational video games that can help children learn about a variety of subjects.
When choosing video games for children, it’s important to consider their age and interests. It’s also important to set limits on how much time they can spend playing video games. For more on that, I invite you to read “Baba’s Guide to Navigating Digital Parenting: Strategies and Tools.”
I hope this reasoning suffices for those who may have concerns about giving children video games as gifts. I think it’s important to have a balanced approach and to allow children to enjoy video games in moderation.
It’s also worth mentioning that kids have loved games before they were digital. Since then, they have found ways to play them: early consoles, coin-operated at convenience stores, handhelds, on computers, in browsers (nothing installed), new generation consoles, cellphones, and even on computers issued by schools and sanctioned by teachers. Instead of blocking them and making them more desired, I recommend you lean into it, choose the right games, be judicious & discerning, and above all be communicative.
Look … I’m quickly becoming an old man, and I love playing games to this day. At the risk of being judged, I love FPS games like Call of Duty (CoD) and Rainbow Six because they allow me to “let off steam” in <15-minute bursts. And yes, I sometimes end up playing for hours.
Moving on …
Gifts For the Whole Family:
When it comes to gifts for the whole family, we’re venturing into a realm of shared experiences and tech-enhanced quality time. Let’s explore a variety of gift ideas that promote togetherness and fun for all. We have a collection of tech-enhanced gifts that will bring joy to every family member. Let’s uncover the perfect family-friendly gifts in this digital age together.
- Streaming subscriptions: It may seem odd, and perhaps more of a personal choice for each family; however, I have seen this gift work well. Getting a family a whole year’s streaming subscription allow them to watch movies, TV shows, and other content on their TV or mobile devices. Some popular streaming services for families include Netflix, Paramount+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.
- Board games: Board games are timeless. They are a great way for families to spend time together and have fun. Some popular board games for families include Monopoly ($), Catan ($$), and Clue ($). If the family ventures into more risqué joking & the like, I recommend Cards Against Humanity ($$).
- Video games: There are many great video games available that can be played by families together. Some popular video games for families include Mario Kart 8 Deluxe ($$$), Super Smash Bros. Ultimate ($$$), and Overcooked ($$).
- Smart home devices: Another one that might seem odd; but again, I’ve seen it work very well. Don’t think birthday gifts alone. Think home-warming or a combined holiday gift for a new family. Smart home devices ($$$) can make life easier and more convenient for families. Some popular smart home devices for families include smart speakers, smart thermostats ($$$$), and smart lights ($$$).
Gifts For Music lovers:
In this category, we’ll explore a world of tech-inspired gifts designed for music enthusiasts. From delightful surprises to opportunities for learning and enhancing their musical journey, there’s a diverse array of tech-inspired gifts waiting to be uncovered. Let’s dive into this symphony of music-inspired tech gifts.
- Streaming subscriptions: Streaming subscriptions allow music lovers to listen to their favorite music on-demand. Some popular streaming services for music lovers include Spotify ($$$), YouTube Premium (that’s YouTube without ads, YouTube Music, and others) ($$$), Apple Music ($$$), and Amazon Music Unlimited ($$$).
- Concert tickets: Concert tickets ($$$$) are a great way for music lovers to see their favorite artists perform live.
- Music lessons: Music lessons ($$$$$) are a great way for music lovers to learn how to play an instrument or improve their singing skills.
- Gadgets: There’s a plethora of ideas here: Record players ($$), a piano ($$$+), a guitar ($$$+), a ukelele ($$+), and you can even expand that into other equipment & accessories including microphones, amps, speakers, etc. Heck, most would love a very nice headphone set ($$+).
Gifts For Fitness Enthusiasts:
Whether they’re dedicated gym-goers, yoga enthusiasts, or elsewhere on their fitness journey, we have a range of tech-fueled & traditional gifts to suit their needs.
- Online fitness classes: Online fitness classes ($$$$) are a great way for fitness enthusiasts to get a workout from the comfort of their own home. Some popular online fitness platforms include Peloton Digital and Beachbody On-Demand.
- Everyday Equipment: This could a wide variety of items including:
Gifts For the Tech-Savvy Person:
This category is dedicated to those who have a deep passion for the latest gadgets, cutting-edge technology, and all things digital. Tech-savvy people are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest gadgets. They love to learn about new technologies and how they can be used to improve their lives. If you’re looking for a gift for a tech-savvy person, it’s important to choose something that is both practical and exciting.
In this same category, I’ve lumped in digital nomads –Those who embrace a nomadic lifestyle, working remotely from various corners of the world. The gift suggestions below support their travel and work on the go.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a gift for a tech-savvy person:
- Tech folks are not all the same. It’s a wide spectrum. What are their interests? Do they love to play games, watch movies, or create digital content? Choose a gift that is related to their interests.
- Avoid getting them something that they already have or don’t need. What kind of technology do they already have? Ask around, if you can.
If you’re still not sure what to get, consider asking the tech-savvy person in your life what they want. They’ll be happy to tell you!
Here are a few suggestions, but know that this area is vast and I cannot do it justice.
- Smart speakers: Voice-activated devices ($$$$) that can play music, answer questions, control smart home devices, and more. Some popular smart speakers include the Amazon Echo ($$), Google Nest Mini ($$), and Apple HomePod mini ($$$).
- Smart thermostats ($$$$): This is especially important if they work from home (WFH). A smart thermostat allows you to control your home’s temperature from anywhere in the world, using your smartphone or computer. Some popular smart thermostats include the Nest thermostat ($$$$) and the Ecobee thermostat ($$$$).
- Smart lights ($$$): Allow you to turn your lights on and off, dim them, and change their color from anywhere in the world, using your smartphone or computer. Some popular smart lights ($$$) include Sengled ($$$), the Philips Hue ($$$$) lights and the LIFX ($$$$) lights.
- Wearables: Wearable devices that can track your fitness (e.g., steps, heart rate, sleep patterns, etc.), receive notifications, and more.
- Portable Wi-Fi hotspot: A portable Wi-Fi hotspot ($$$) allows you to connect to the internet from anywhere.
- External hard drive: An external hard drive ($$+) is a great way to store your files and back up your data. While there are many online services that offer “space,” I always recommend having a local copy of your data.
Whether your gift is for a geek, a creative person (e.g., designers, photographers, videographers, etc.), a digital nomad, a gamer, or just a tech-savvy person who has accumulated a lot of bits & bytes, an external hard drive with plenty of space (4TBs+) ($$$+) will always be appreciated. If you can provide one that’s 8TB and above ($$$$+), it will really hit home.
- Noise-canceling headphones: Noise-canceling headphones ($$+) can help you block out noise and distractions, so you can focus on your work.
There are a whole lot of options, so be sure to select the one that meets the recipient’s needs. For example, do they only need it for gaming? Do they care if it’s wired or wireless (typically, using Bluetooth)? Do they want over-the-ear (aka “over-ear”), on-ear, or earbuds?
- Power banks: A power bank ($+) can keep your devices charged when you’re on the go. Not just your cellphone! A good power bank could power a number of other devices too.
Tip: The mAh number indicates capacity. The higher, the better. If you see other numbers like 5V/3A, they are referencing output. Some of our devices require more output to charge normally, let alone at a fast speed. I would also consider the output port: Do you need a regular USB out (USB-A)? Perhaps you need a USB-C out?
I recommend the Anker PowerCore 20100 ($$) for everyday use; and the Anker PowerCore+ 26800mAh ($$$) if you also want to charge tablets or small laptops. If you don’t care about the brand (e.g., Anker), and your needs are modest, try this 38800mAh portable charger.
Gifts For the Creative Person:
This category is dedicated to those with a flair for creativity, whether it’s in writing, art, or any other form of artistic expression. We’ll explore a world of tech-inspired gifts that nurture their creative passions. Join us in unveiling the perfect tech-enhanced gifts for those who find their muse in the digital realm.
- Subscription to a creative software program: Allows you to access software for editing photos, videos, music, and more. Some popular creative software programs include Adobe Creative Suite ($$$+) and the likes of Canva ($$$+).
- Gift certificate to a craft store: Allows the recipient to purchase supplies for their favorite creative hobbies. Some popular craft stores include Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.
- Class on a creative skill: A great way to learn a new skill, such as painting, photography, or video editing/videography. Some popular places to take creative classes include online learning platforms and local community colleges.
- Gear: There’s plenty of tech-inspired gear out there for Creatives.
If they are a Writer/Editor, I recommend a decent keyboard ($$$+) –I linked to the keyboard I use. It is ergonomic with a curved & split keyframe, which reduces muscle strain on your wrists and forearms thanks to the sloping keyboard design. It comes with a built-in wrist rest. My favorite part? I can connect 3 devices to it at the same time. Basically, one keyboard to rule them all. I digress.
And if they are into crafting, I highly recommend a Cricut ($$$$$).
Don’t know what a Cricut does? My wife has one. It’s definitely not my area. Here’s how I’d describe it, though: A Cricut is a smart electronic cutting machine that, with the assistance of an intuitive app, empowers you to design and customize a wide array of creations, cutting through materials like paper, vinyl, cardstock, and heat transfer vinyl (HTV), making it an indispensable tool for crafting, personalizing custom cards, and fashioning unique apparel in a multitude of craft projects.
Gifts and gifting in the digital age is a vast world. And although I may not have covered everything you were looking for, I hope I have inspired you to it. The world of gift-giving in this digital era is not just about convenience, but it’s a chance to show that you care in a way that resonates with your loved ones. In every occasion, big or small, remember that the perfect gift is the one that brings a smile to their face and fits your budget.
I have shared what I could in what amounted to be one of my longest articles to-date. I’m sure I missed a few notable and glaring gift ideas. If you can think of any, drop them in the comments for all to benefit. Baba out. ▪️
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