Tablets, cell phones, computers and other electronic devices offer a myriad of benefits. They are ubiquitous these days, and here are just a few of their benefits! They provide information at our fingertips, entertainment, help with work, they provide directions and navigational help, let us listen to music, help us connect with our friends and family, and more! Most adults today use devices all the time, and probably take their benefits for granted. Kids who are growing up now won’t even recognize a world without the existence of these amazing and helpful devices. As parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers, and friends it is our job to introduce technology to kids in an age-appropriate way.
This means that we need to provide children with access to devices that have age-appropriate content (games, apps, shows, and movies), that are suitably durable for adolescents, and that are easy and intuitive for little hands and fingers to manipulate. Some of the most popular tablets for adults are the iPad, Kindle Fire, and various android-based tablets. Tablets used by adults generally aren’t suitable for kids though, because they either contain adult shows, games, and apps or because they are too fragile for young children.
We’ve put together this website to provide you with the information you need to choose the perfect tablet for your kids. You’ll find reviews of individual tablets, an interactive guide that allows you to compare the features of different tablets, and articles to help you select age-appropriate devices and programs for your kids.
Ultimate Guide For The Best Tablets For Kids
|Apple iPad Mini (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black & Slate)||5+||$$$$||4.6|
|LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Kids' Learning Tablet, Green||3-9||$$$||3.7|
|VTech InnoTab 3S The Wi-Fi Learning Tablet||3-9||$$||4.2|
|Kindle Fire HD 7", HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB||4+||$$$||3.9|
|Google Nexus 7 Tablet||6+||$$$$||4.1|
|Barnes & Noble NOOK HD+ Tablet 16GB||8+||$$$||4.3|
Included in the matrix are 5 columns:
- Tablet Picture (click to view more details or to purchase)
- Tablet Name (click to view more details or to purchase)
- Age Range
- Price – These are approximate prices on Amazon.com. These change frequently based on availability, special promotions, and more. But generally speaking: $ = under $50, $$ = $50 to $100, $$$ = $100 to $200, $$$$ = $200+
- Rating – The average user rating on Amazon.com. This can be very helpful in deciding if people are satisfied with their purchase.
The tablets included in the table above are the best and most popular devices that we’ve identified. We are constantly on the look out for new tablets, new manufacturers, and new devices that provide a mobile computing experience. As new models and new technologies come out, we will update our guides and reviews accordingly.
What Exactly Is A Tablet?
A tablet is a small, mobile computer and display that focuses on internet access, media consumption, and light game playing. Tablets are larger and more powerful than a cellphone, and smaller and less powerful than a laptop or desktop computer. They provide the perfect combination of functionality and portability to allow easy and convenient access to information and entertainment. A person can use a tablet in almost any situation you can think of – while relaxing at home on the couch, while winding down in bed, while waiting in the lobby of a doctor’s office, on an airplane, waiting to meet up with friends, while eating breakfast or lunch – the possibilities are endless. People use tablets to browse the internet, to read the news, to check their social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, to play games like Angry Birds, to listen to music, and to watch movies and television shows. And tablet devices are now so common and so well developed that they’re not just specialty gadgets for adults – they are also appropriate for kids!
What Do Kids Need A Tablet For?
Kids can use tablets for the same purposes as adults! They can use tablets for entertainment, learning, and playing games. It’s important to note that it is important for adults to set reasonable and appropriate time limits for children to use devices and screen time, according to their age and temperament. The Mayo Clinic offers advice for managing children’s screen time and limiting excessive usage. One of the most important things a parent can do is be an active participant and understand what their child is watching and doing.
Here are some general guidelines. Children under 2 shouldn’t have any screen time at all. Children from 2-4 should have no more than 1-2 hours of screen time per day. Children 4 and up should have no more than 3 hours of screen time per day. Screen time is any time spent in front of a screen – this includes watching TV, playing game consoles, and using tablets.
We almost always adhere to these guidelines with our own children, though we do make exceptions when we are traveling and when our kids are sick. If we’re stuck in airports or on airplanes we allow as much TV show and movie watching as the kids want, and the same is true if the kids are home sick. Our basic stance is that these are occasions when diversions are hard to come by – and tablets provide an ideal way to pass the time.
What Do Kids Do On A Tablet?
The shows and movies that your kids will watch, the apps they will use, and the games they will play depend on their age and interests.
- TV Shows and Movies: this is an easy one! Whatever your kids would watch normally, they can watch on a tablet. Depending on the type of device you have, media can be purchased from the iTunes store (for apple devices), from the Google Play store (for Google devices), from Amazon (on non-Apple devices), etc.
- Games: most tablets allow access to some type of app store that allows users to download a variety of free and paid games. Angry Birds is one of the most popular games that appeals to people of all ages. Games like Candy Crush, Bebbled, and Bejeweled challenge users’ pattern matching speed and aptitude. Puzzle games like Unblock and Red Stone require you to move blocks and objects around to solve the game. There are platform games designed for the user interface of a tablet, and strategy and role playing games of varying levels of difficulty. Whatever a person’s age, there is sure to be a game to entertain and challenge them.
- Learning Apps: there is a whole host of apps designed to teach toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary aged children shapes, letters, numbers, pattern matching, sequencing and more. The best part about these games is that they are entertaining and fun for the kids – and they require the kids to think and learn in order to play!
The Best Tablets For Kids By Age Group
We’ve grouped our recommendations into two age groups: 3-5 and 6+. The younger group will do best with the tablets specifically designed for little hands, and kids who are still learning to treat electronics gently. The 6+ age group is generally mature enough to handle devices that are more sophisticated and powerful – if the time is taken to set it up with appropriate apps and content. It’s also important to choose a suitably robust case for these devices.
Age Range 3-5: VTech InnoTab 3S The Wi-Fi Learning Tablet
The VTech InnoTab is a fantastic tablet for preschool aged children. It has a sturdy molded plastic frame that is perfect for gripping by little hands, and is durable enough to withstand some rough handling. The device and UI are designed for young children, so the navigation is simple and intuitive. It comes with a camera and the ability to take short movies, which every kid loves to do. It comes pre-installed with a variety of age-appropriate games and activities. Once your child has exhausted the entertainment value in the included apps, you can download additional programs from the VTech online store. It also has a WiFi connection to allow content to be added directly to the tablet, without having to connect it to a computer. It is the perfect device for using at home, while waiting for appointments, and while traveling. Your child will be entertained, and you can feel confidant knowing that your little one is engaging in a safe and fun learning environment.
Age Range 3-5: LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Kids’ Learning Tablet
Similar to the VTech Innotab, the LeapFrog LeadPad Learning Tablet has been designed expressly for use by young children. The device form and function are meant to appeal to kids, and to be straightforward enough to be used without requiring a child to be able to read and navigate through complex menus and options. The tablet is tough and durable, and it is kid-safe right out of the box. It also has additional parental controls so that parents can ensure their children only play games and use apps approved by mom and dad. The included applications allow kids to learn letters, play number games, draw pictures, and take pictures with the device’s built-in camera. Additional apps are available for download and purchase.
Age Range 6+: Apple iPad Mini
The Apple iPad Mini is a delightful device that is beautiful to look at and a joy to use. It is a bit too delicate for preschool age kids, but once a child is 6-7 and older they can generally be trusted to handle it appropriately. An iPad is a suitable tablet for adults, too, of course – but they can be configured to be used solely by a child by careful management of installed apps to ensure that only child and age-appropriate programs are installed on the device. Similarly, a robust and sturdy case should be purchased for the tablet, as well as a protective screen covering. Once those measures are accomplished, a child can use the iPad Mini for years, simply by updating the available content and programs based on the child’s maturity and interest.
Age Range 6+: Kindle Fire HD 7″, HD Display, Wi-Fi
The Kindle Fire is a fantastic and affordable device made by Amazon that can be configured for perfect use by kids or by adults. It is fast and customizable, and the background, fonts, and colors can easily be changed to kid-friendly settings. It can (and should!) be set up with parental control software that can set screen limits and profiles for individual children.