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Gifts for mini multimedia moguls

Whether or not words like "nano" and "flip" are already part of your kids' vocabulary, you can boost their tech savvy (and talents) with one of these multimedia gifts. Instead of just letting them zone out to TV or tunes, encourage your children to get creative: Shoot video, make music, or give the amateurs on Flickr a run for their digital cameras with artsy family photos.

By GreatSchools Staff

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flip camera

Flip UltraHD

Flip UltraHD
$199

Wondering how to turn your tiny film geek into a budding filmmaker? Since the advent of the Flip, camcorders need no longer be limited to responsible members of the family. Unbelievably easy to use, your average 5-year-old can figure out its one-touch recording, instant playback, and editing features (I know because mine did). Designed without the need for cables or extra parts (the computer connection flips out) and with foolproof Flipshare software for editing, sharing, and uploading (pre-loaded, thank you very much), this little movie camera may transform a generation of media consumers into media creatives. Our neighborhood gang of kids — ages 5 to 12, whose only previous projects involved competitive snacking in front of the TV — got their hands on the Flip and transformed into the Little Rascals 2.0. They made a string of short films conceived, written, acted, directed, filmed, and edited with virtually no adult supervision (memorable titles: The Wizard of Snoz and Cannibal Dance Party).

If the price breaks Santa's proverbial bank — as in "We won't be spending money like this on our kids" — the Flip may be just the thing to nudge spouses who need weening from the boob tube.

The bottom line: A foolproof camcorder that empowers kids to be innovative not inert.

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