Get your iPads out – it's going to be an app-y Christmas


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The Independent Online

Toys that connect to iPads are being tipped as one of the "must have" gifts for children this Christmas as studies show rocketing numbers play games on their parents' tablets.

After a dramatic rise in sales of tablets for children last year, toy makers are intent on going one further by offering toys that can be used with parents' iPads.

The toys, such as a car or an action figure, are placed on the tablet's screen and interact with an app.

In Britain, more than 2.8 million people own an iPad, and while some of them are children, many belong to parents who are willing to hand over their devices to their offspring. Recent research in the UK and US found that 39 per cent of adults who own an iPad have downloaded an app for children aged six to 11.

Toys that connect to tablets are now tipped to be one of the top 10 Christmas toys this year. Among them are toymaker Mattel's Apptivities – which link up to iPads – but at least three other major toy companies have their own versions.

Samantha Loveday, editor of Toy News, said: "Christmas is obviously the toy industry's most important part of the year. There are a lot of good toys coming out, but I think Apptivity toys have the potential to be up there. It's very 'of the moment'.

"The toy industry recognises that kids do play with their parents' technology like iPhones and the iPad. The idea is the kids want to be like their parents. The Apptivity is part of that. It's another sector we've started to see grow over the last 12 to 18 months."

One study has suggested that tech-savvy parents download an average of 6.8 apps for children aged 3 to 8 every three months.