A tablet can be a great way of introducing your little one to technology. It’s not just another source of entertainment: a tablet can expand your child’s world, giving them access to thousands of apps designed to make education both fun and enriching. From language learning and science quizzes to spelling puzzles and “edutainment” games, the app market is awash with programs designed to delight and educate your child – and give you some peace and quiet.
How to choose the best tablet for your child
What can my child use their tablet for?
Just like regular tablets, children’s tablets come with a wide selection of apps, games and educational resources. The exact choice of apps available will depend on the operating system, but can include everything from music-making programs and creative skill-builders to digital painting and language learning, and new apps are becoming available all the time.
When should I buy my child a tablet?
There are tablets suitable for children as young as primary school age, but only you can judge when your child is ready to handle a tablet – and, most importantly, when you feel comfortable giving them one. Some tablets are designed to grow with your child as they get older, adapting to their changing wants and needs. The latter will set you back more, but will be worth the investment if it saves you buying a brand new tablet a year or two down the line.
Is it safe to give my child a tablet?
As technology keeps advancing, cyber threats have never been more common. The good news is that tablets are generally much safer than mobile phones or laptops, so they’re the best first piece of technology for small hands. The tablets we’ve chosen all include features designed to keep little ones safe and include parental controls for added peace of mind. Even the least tech-savvy parents can be confident that their child won’t get into trouble online.
What else do I need to look out for?
Tablets aren’t cheap, and durability is crucial. The best kids’ tablets are designed to withstand any drops, bumps and falls, so you don’t need to worry too much about damage, but if you’re still worried, a specially designed case will protect your child’s tablet even more.
Consider storage, too: a bigger capacity will add to the price, but it means you can install more apps – without having to constantly clear out old ones to free up space – and may even extend the lifetime of the tablet.
The best kids’ tablets to buy
1. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids’ Edition Tablet: The best kids’ tablet you can buy
Price when reviewed: £70 – Buy now from Amazon
The Kids’ Edition of the popular Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet is perfect for little hands: the child-proof rubber case is ultra durable, and if you’re still worried about trusting an expensive piece of technology to your little one’s slippery hands, the two-year guarantee should put your mind at ease: “If they break it, return it and we’ll replace it for free. No questions asked.”
There’s plenty to do on it, too, thanks to an included one-year subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited, which includes thousands of ad-free educational apps and games. For parents, meanwhile, the Dashboard makes it easy to see what your child enjoys, and offers easy-to-use parental controls ensure they only access what you want them to. Frankly, there’s very little reason why you should even consider buying anything else.
Key specs – Screen Size: 8 inches; Operating System: FireOS (Android); RAM: 1.5GB; Storage: 16GB; Camera Resolution: 2MP; Weight: 390g.
2. Dragon Touch Y88X Plus Kids 7 inch Tablet: The best tablet for younger children
Price when reviewed: £57 – Buy now from Amazon
The Dragon Touch is an eye-catching tablet that comes in four bright colours – pink, red, blue and green. It runs Android, but what really sets it apart is the Kidoz browser. As the name suggests, this was developed specifically for children, giving kids a safe space to create and explore. It has every safety feature imaginable, including content filtering, real-time blocking and a handy child-lock launcher, so you have complete control over what they do and don’t see.
Kidoz also makes it easy for your child to find their way around: a Facebook feed-style display features new content every day based on your child’s activity, so they’ll always have something new to keep their mind active. The Kidoz store features thousands of apps that they can “buy” with virtual currency and, more importantly, seven layers of security settings to keep them safe.
Key specs – Screen Size: 7 inches; Operating System: Android; RAM: 1GB; Storage: 8GB; Camera Resolution: 2MP; Weight: 272g.
3, LeapFrog Epic tablet: A great Android tablet that’ll grow with your kids
Price when reviewed: £95 – Buy now from Argos
If you’re worried that your child will quickly outgrow their tablet, the LeapFrog Epic is the answer. Its adjustable settings can tailor your child’s experience and keep them engaged as their needs and abilities develop. The LeapFrog Epic does a lot of that on its own; its educator-approved apps track progress and adjust the content shown based on how your child interacts with them, so kids are constantly challenged just the right amount.
This gradual exposure extends to the LeapSearch browser too. Browsing is initially limited to pages approved by LeapFrog, but over time you can add websites, and eventually unlock the entire world-wide web, once you and your child are ready. It also comes with a handy timer, which can be adjusted for different types of activity – so you can be sure they’re not getting hooked on their new device.
Key specs – Screen Size: 7 inches; Operating System: Android 4.4; RAM: 16GB; Storage: 16GB; Camera Resolution: 2MP; Weight: 350g.
4. Fusion5 7-inch Kids’ Tablet: The best low-cost children’s tablet
Price when reviewed: £50 – Buy Now from Amazon
The Fusion5 may look gimmicky compared to other tablets on this list, but its bright, dual-coloured case can withstand drops and bumps from even the smallest hands. It’s easy and intuitive for even the youngest children to use too, which means you can leave them to learn and play with minimal assistance or interference.
The Fusion5 comes preloaded with several games and other apps, and its 8GB of storage leaves a fair bit of space for you to download additional apps, movies or videos. The only real downside to the Fusion5 is the battery life, which is only rated for around 3 hours of constant use. Still, that’s enough to get through most journeys – and prevent them playing for too long.
Key specs – Screen Size: 7 inches; Operating System: Android 5.1 Lollipop; RAM: 1GB; Storage: 8GB; Camera Resolution: 2MP; Weight: 680g.
5. Kurio Tab 2 Motion 7-inch Tablet: The best kid-friendly tablet for the whole family
Price when reviewed: £75 – Buy now from Amazon
The Kurio Tab 2 can hold up to eight individual profiles, so each family member can use it as if it were entirely their own. Like all tablets made for children, the Kurio Tab 2 comes with plenty of safety and security features, including time controls, internet filtering and parental restrictions. But a parents’ area lets the grown-ups enjoy Netflix, YouTube and all the usual online attractions.
If anything lets the Kurio Tab 2 down, it’s the slower than average processor; it can feel a bit sluggish at times. However, if that doesn’t bother you too much, it’s a great tablet that can be enjoyed by family members of all ages.
Key specs – Screen Size: 7 inches; Operating System: Android 5.0 Lollipop; RAM: 8GB; Storage: 8GB; Camera Resolution: N/.A; Weight: 580g.
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