Most children are more technologically advanced than their elders these days, and computers, phones and tablet devices can actually play a great role in helping them develop in school, at home and on the go. But identifying the best kids tablet for your youngster can often feel a bit overwhelming, so read on for some handy pointers followed by our pick of the best.
- Want to get them away from their tech? Check out our round up of the best board games
- What about the best kindles and e-readers?
It is important to consider before buying a kids tablet what the main use will be. If they are under 5 years old, you may want to choose something educational that is easy to navigate and will help them alongside their school learning. These early learning tablets usually come with preloaded content such as games, books and learning activities, as well as the option to download similar content at the touch of a button. Leapfrog is your go-to brand in this instance, with the Leapfrog LeapPad Platinum hitting our top spot for best tablet for kids under 5 years old.
If you are looking for a tablet for a 5-10 year old, the Amazon Kindle Fire 7 is our top all round pick in the children's tablet category. Not only does this kids tablet boast built-in parental controls but it is also pretty 'grown-up' in the sense that you can access Amazon prime, the web and more, making it pretty good value for money if you want to get a tablet for kids of all ages to use. Just remember to set up parental controls when you unbox to ensure your children only have access to the appropriate apps and content for safe browsing at all times.
Looking for a tablet for a child over 10 years old? The Apple iPad Mini 2 is a great versatile tablet for pre-teens and teens alike. Whilst it might feel a little overkill and pricey for youngsters, anything more child like and they will likely grow out of it pretty quickly. Opting for an iPad should mean you won't be investing in a tablet again for a few years, plus, it has the added bonus of linking to other Apple devices, too. If your child is in the 10-15 year old age bracket but you're an Android household, opt for the Asus Zen Pad 3S 10 for a similar experience with the Apple branding.
It' not just about age though, screen size, resolution and battery life are all things to consider when picking a tablet for kids. If it’s going to be used to watch videos and movies - a bigger screen might be an important consideration. It would also be wise to check whether the tablet device comes with a protective case or not - younger learning devices tend to be manufactured with extra durability, as we all know kids can be clumsy and heavy-handed sometimes, but you might want to factor a protective case into your budget when purchasing a more delicate model.
We’ve picked out some of the best kids tablets for all ages, abilities and purposes. So whether it’s an educational aid or an entertaining gift for all the family, there’s a tablet to suit all styles and budgets.
1. Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
Completely child-proof for entertainment on the go
Best for: All-rounder | Battery life: 8 hours | Case included: Yes | Age range: 3-12
The Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition is packed full of fun and games for kids of all ages, providing hours upon hours of entertainment. You’ll get one year of Fire for Kids Unlimited, which allows you to access thousands of books, games and videos from a wide range of children’s entertainment channels including Disney. However, it is important to note that you need a Wi-Fi connection to access a lot of the content which can make it a little tricky when on the road. It comes in three different colours and is completely shatter-proof so slippery fingers won’t risk its integrity.
2. Ainol Q88 Android 7" Kids Tablet 4.4
An regular tablet with a designated kids zone for learning and entertainment
Best for: Budget buy | Battery life: 6 hours | Case included: Yes | Age range: 2-9
This clever device acts as a children’s learning and entertainment device, but can be turned into a regular tablet with parental access. In order to come out of “kids mode” all you have to do is answer the security question. This makes it great for all the family and it comes with a protective case so it can withstand a few bumps and it’s easy to wipe down so sticky fingers don’t pose a threat.
3. Leapfrog LeapPad Platinum
A simple interface for younger children
Best for: Kids first tablet | Battery life: unknown | Case included: No | Age range: 3-9
As a kids first tablet, this is a great device with an intuitive interface. It features a learning library filled with thousands of programmes available for download and a number of pre-loaded programmes already installed. Some users don’t like that you have to pay for extra apps but this would be exactly the same on any other tablet as well. It doesn’t come with a carry case but has been designed with kids in mind, so it’s able to take a few knocks and drops. The child-safe web browser means you don’t have to worry about setting up parental controls before letting your little one loose with this device
4. Asus ZenPad 3S 10
An Android device for use by all the family
Best for: Families | Battery life: 10 hours | Case included: No | Age range: 3 +
Buying a tablet can be expensive, but could work out cheaper in the long run if all the family can benefit from it. With the Asus Zen Pad 3S 10, you can choose which apps you want to download, as well as watch movies, listen to music and browse the internet. You’ll have to set up parental controls to ensure the kids have restricted access, but if you’ve got kids of different ages, this tablet will allow each of them to use it for learning, entertainment and to keep them occupied on long journeys in the car.
5. Apple iPad Mini 2
A smaller tablet for taking on your travels
Best for: Travel | Battery life: 10 hours | Case included: No | Age range: 3+
If the Asus Zen Pad 3S 10 seems a bit too bulky, then the Apple iPad Mini 2 is the perfect size to fit in your handbag or backpack when you need to keep the little ones occupied on a flight or other long journey. It’s not the best for complex games as the screen is smaller than most, but for watching movies or reading it’s the perfect travel companion for both kids and adults alike. It’s also great for taking and storing photos as well as accessing messages if you have an iPhone.
Looking for something more specific? We have a list of the best 10 inch tablets. If you read books faster than you can say 'page turner' we've put together a list of the best Kindles and e-readers, too.