Choosing the perfect gift for your kids can be challenging, given the wide variety of toys available on the market. Consider exploring products and services developed by kid tech startups worldwide for a unique and innovative approach. Here are six innovative products and services that offer kids an opportunity to play and learn in new ways, from a kid-friendly smartphone to Montessori toys and an alternative to LEGOs.

1. Playper Castle Playset
Price: $34.99 at Playper
The Playper Castle Playset is a recyclable and plastic-free toy that offers a refreshing alternative to traditional LEGO sets. Created by Los Gatos, California-based startup Playper, kids enjoy a story-driven play experience as they build a multi-level castle complete with a drawbridge and secret trap door using thick PlaperBoard pieces. The playset also includes seven characters and additional accessories for a fun storytelling experience.

2. Bark Phone
Price: Plans start at $49 per month
The Bark Phone, a customizable Samsung A14 smartphone with built-in safeguards offered by Atlanta-based startup Bark Technologies, is ideal for parents who want to monitor their child’s phone activity for safety. Using the company’s technology, parents can keep tabs on their child’s texts, emails, social media, and apps for inappropriate or dangerous content. The phone allows parents to manage calls, contacts, app downloads, and set limits on app usage.

3. Pok Pok Playroom
Price: $6.99 per month
Pok Pok Playroom, an app from Toronto-based startup Pok Pok, offers a collection of digital toys designed to inspire creativity and learning through open-ended play. The app features activities such as a world puzzle, marble machine, blocks, drawing, musical blobs, and more, creating a calming yet entertaining digital playroom that regularly updates with new toys and activities.

4. GoldieBlox Watermelon Mini Purse Building Kit
Price: $24.99 at GoldieBlox
The Watermelon Mini Purse Building Kit from Oakland, California-based startup GoldieBlox offers a unique STEM-related product that allows children to build a functional purse or pencil case. Using the startup’s patented system of bricks and stitches, kids can learn STEM concepts while enhancing their creative and spatial skills.

5. Storypod
Price: $99.99 at Storypod
Storypod, a screen-free audio learning experience created by Miami-based startup Storypod, aims to enhance a child’s cognitive development through interactive stories and music. By tapping an audiobook or trivia card onto the Storypod, kids can listen to stories, songs, or lessons in English or Spanish and engage in learning through trivia questions or activities.

6. Tiny Earth Toys subscription
Price: Plans start at $37 per month
The Tiny Earth Toys subscription from Charlotte, North Carolina-based startup Tiny Earth Toys offers a rental membership for educational toys exchanged every two months. With a focus on Montessori-style toys, this offering aims to help children develop learning skills while reducing the demand for plastic toy production and promoting environmental conservation.

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