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Kids don’t need a nice tablet, just something simple and basic.
Handing your iPad to a child can be an expensive proposition. It likely cost you a few hundred dollars, and it’s a very nice piece of equipment. As much as you want to get your child to be quiet for a few minutes, it’s also very possible that the tablet will end up on the floor more than once while using it.
As much as you may love your child, they’re simply not careful enough with things to let them have an expensive tablet on their own. Kids drop things, spill things, and break things all the time. What you really need is something that you don’t care about that they can play with. Expensive electronics and other items at home should not be handed to your child unless absolutely necessary. Get something that’s just for them.
There are lots of options in the tablet space for kids, but there’s one pretty clear and obvious winner when it comes to ease of management and simply being able to turn it on and hand it to your child. We’ll look at a few of the options.
Since we just said that iPads were too expensive, we’re not going to spend much time here. The iPad is by far the nicest feeling tablet of the bunch, but you’re also paying for it. Apple does a great job with parental controls, and those controls just work as is often the case with Apple products. If you’re not worried about the cost of the iPad, it can be a great choice.
There are so many really cheap Android tablets available. The big problem you’ll find with a lot of these cheap tablets is reliability as the specs are complete junk. Your child will spend more time rebooting the tablet than actually being able to play it - you’ll spend more time trying to fix it as well and get just as frustrated with it. We’ve been through enough of these cheap tablets that we’re done with them.
There are some nicer Android tablets, but you’ll be paying more for them as well. Probably the best option for kids is the Samsung Galaxy Tab A. They have both an 8” and 10” version of the tablet, and it’s a solid choice for kids to play games and watch shows on. The tablet can often be found on sale for under $100 (the 8” version).
The biggest negative to going with Android for your child’s device is going to be management of the apps. Apple and Amazon both have excellent options for parental management that Android lacks out of the box. There are apps that work to accomplish this, but they will struggle a lot of times on cheaper Android tablets. If you’re comfortable managing the tablet, then Android can be a solid choice.
Amazon Fire Tablet
The Amazon Fire tablet is by far our favorite choice for kids. These tablets are comparable in price to some of the cheaper Android tablets, while working much better than those tablets out of the box. Amazon has figured out parental controls for these tablets and makes it very easy to set up a device for your child, and to manage their accounts. They also have several apps that are meant just for kids in order to help manage their time on the tablet.
Furthermore, there are very specific versions of the tablet that are made just for kids - they have big cases on them and there is a choice of colors. Amazon Fire tablets also have excellent quality screens for their price, and they come in both 8” and 10” sizes (skip the 7” size as it’s not really worth it without the HD screen). While the screens aren’t quite as good as the iPad, you’re often paying a third of the price.
The biggest downside to the Amazon tablets is that you have to use the Amazon app store. While the store isn’t terrible, it certainly lacks in options compared to the apps available for Android and Apple. There are ways to get Android apps on the Amazon Fire tablets, but it’s a bit of a pain to workaround. While this probably isn’t a deal breaker for kids, it’s something to keep in mind.
There are several options for tablets for kids. While we recommend the Amazon Fire tablet, the other options available can also be solid options for kids.