As children grow, their interest in electronics grows with them. When you feel they’re ready, you might give them a tablet (if nothing else to keep their grubby hands off yours). Here are some of the best tablets for kids.
What Makes a Good Kid’s Tablet?
You could just grab any old tablet and hand it to your kid, but that doesn’t make it a good tablet for them. Some of what you want in a tablet will depend on their age. You can trust a twelve-year-old not to drop an expensive device more than you can your six-year-old, for instance. But even that varies to degrees; you might buy the six-year-old a giant case with a large handle while giving the twelve-year-old a more moderate case.
Either way, you’re still putting a case on the device because let’s be honest, you probably put a case on your tablet, too.
With that in mind, here are a few things to look for when picking a tablet for your child:
- Durability: Expect your child’s tablet to get dropped, probably more than once. So it’s best if the tablet is durable and able to survive a fall. Failing that, double-check that you have plenty of case options to protect the tablet. Of course, both the ability to survive a drop and in a case is better.
- Well-stocked app stores: A tablet doesn’t do much without apps, but unfortunately, some Android tablets don’t come with the Play Store. Sometimes they’ll have a third-party store instead filled with questionable apps and terrible ads.
- Parental controls: Of course, with apps and browsers comes the access to content you might not want your children to have. Not to mention paid games, in-app purchases, and the temptation to stay up until 3 a.m. trying to beat one more level. Parental controls go a long way to keeping your children safe and curtailing overuse.
All our picks meet those requirements, though you may need to get a case for the device to meet particular durability standards.
Best Overall: Apple iPad (Probably Yours!)
Without a doubt, Apple makes some of the best tablets you can buy. And more recent versions have dropped from fairly inexpensive to downright affordable.
And no matter what age your children are, they can learn to use iPadOS without much effort. If they’ve mastered pushing a button, they’re probably ready for the iPad’s software.
With an iPad, you get access to plenty of tablet apps, parental controls, and more cases than you can count. That sheer amount of choice in device protection covers everything from small children to older teenagers.
And iPads include a feature no other tablet can match, a giant swath of third-party education accessories and apps. That includes toys that teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) concepts, iPad-compatible coding kits, or free education courses. While you’ll find them on other platforms now, excellent learning apps like Endless Alphabet and Skybrary (formerly Reading Rainbow) often come to the iPad first and Android later (if at all).
But rather than buy your child a new iPad, you should give them yours. Then buy yourself a new iPad, especially now that Apple recently announced a new, slightly larger, entry-level iPad. The 7th-generation iPad picks up an optional Smart Keyboard, so you could upgrade your typing experience while delighting your child with their very own iPad from last year.
Best for Young Children: Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet
If your children are on the younger side, then you might want to consider an Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet. As the name implies, Amazon designed this tablet with kids in mind. And you have plenty of choices, as it comes in three kid-friendly sizes.
That means it comes with a rugged child-friendly case, but that’s not the best part. Amazon will replace it if breaks in the first two years—no questions asked. No other tablet includes that for free, at best you’d have to pay for a replacement plan. It’s a really great benefit even if you wanted to buy a Fire tablet for yourself.
You also have parental controls and a host of kid-focused media, like Disney and PBS kids shows. Amazon includes a year’s subscription to FreeTime Unlimited for additional content.
Amazon used Android as a starting point for the OS on Fire Tablets, but it doesn’t have the Google Play Store (unless you’re willing to sideload it). Amazon’s App Store doesn’t have all the same apps yet, but it’s fairly robust.
Best Android Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab A
If you prefer an Android tablet with the Google Play Store, then look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. The tablet features an eight-inch screen, 32 GB of storage, and a MicroSD slot for expansion.
Best Convertible Chromebook: Acer R11 11.6″ Convertible
More and more schools are making the switch to Chromebooks. If your local schools already made the switch, then you might want to consider a Chromebook for your children instead.
Giving them a Chromebook at home will promote consistency of operating systems, which is less to learn and relearn. Chromebooks work a lot like the Chrome browser, and that stripped-down nature makes them secure and easy to use. Now more than ever, you should consider buying a Chromebook.
The keyboard folds back, which converts this laptop to a tablet. And Google added Play Store access to Chromebooks. When you consider that it functions as a laptop or a tablet, with full access to Android apps, you’re getting two devices in one purchase. If you were considering buying a laptop and a tablet for your child, why not do both at once?
Best Convertible Chromebook
2018 Newest Acer R11 11.6″ Convertible HD IPS Touchscreen Chromebook, Intel Celeron Dual Core up to 2.48GHz, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD, 802.11ac, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB 3.0, Webcam, Chrome OS
Your child might already use a Chromebook at school, so why not bring one home for consistency? Chromebooks are fast, inexpensive, secure, and easy to use. This one folds in half to become a tablet.