[Updated August 2020]
We all know toddlers and young children shouldn’t have a lot of screen time. But I’m way beyond trying to stop mine from using a tablet altogether. And, in fact, my children used my iPad or their own Kindles to play some genuinely educational games that are helping them with things like numbers and letters. These games reinforce the non digital ways in which we teach our sons these things (puzzles, songs and talking).
And yes, they do watch Youtube videos too. But they get plenty of outdoor time, reading time, sitting playing games with Mummy and Daddy time etc, so I have no problem with it. Their development is absolutely spot on.
My view is that we cannot expect our toddlers and young children not to be curious about tablets and mobile phones when we carry one around in our pockets all the time. I don’t see my job as being to protect my sons from screens. I see my job as being to ensure anything he has is in moderation.
But anyway. I digress.
Our three year old uses an Amazon Kindle and our 5 year old has an iPad Mini. But in the process of trying to find age appropriate tablets for our children we did a ton of research and here’s what we think are amongst the best tablets for young children (3 to 8, roughly) in the UK right now.
Kindle Fire Kids Edition (7 Inch)
There are a few things to love about this tablet specifically for kids and toddlers.
- The price! At £99.99 for the 16gb edition, this is hundreds of pounds cheaper than even the cheapest iPad on the market!
- Comes with a child proof case (choice of 3 colours – blue, pink and yellow)
- Amazing parental controls. You can do things like set educational tasks or goals and make them compulsory before your child can, for example, watch Youtube. Want them to complete a couple of numbers or reading tasks before switching to Youtube? The Kindle Fire will manage that for you
- The “2 Year Worry Free Guarantee” is an absolute gift for parents with toddlers who, like ours, haven’t quite grasped being gentle yet! This guarantee means that if you child breaks the tablet within 2 years, Amazon will replace it without any hassle
It’s worth pointing out that the Kindle Fire Kids Edition (at the time of writing) also comes with a year’s worth of Fire for Kids Unlimited, which is a subscription service offering loads of educational content for young children.
Cheap, durable and appealing for children.
The Leapfrog EPIC Tablet
This is a tablet specifically made for children and toddlers from 3 years and up. It’s designed specifically for children. In other words, this isn’t a “normal,” tablet that has been reconfigured for children. It’s only for little ones.
Some of the features to love:
- It is an Android based system, so if you’re already familiar with Android devices, this should be relatively straightforward for you to get to grips with to show your little one
- Being Android based, you can also install Android apps and games on it
- Comprehensive parental controls
- Leapfrog’s ‘Just for Me Learning,’ tailors the learning activities to your child
- Leapfrog has a reputation for educational learning toys for toddlers and children
Although this product does specify a recommended age range of 3 to 9 years, having seen my son try a friend’s, I’d use this as a guide. Our son is 2 and was able to use it well. By the same token, children of 8 or 9 might well be bored of this. So do your research before making the purchase.
VTech InnoTab Max 7
Another tablet designed specifically for young children, the VTech Innotab Max 7 is aimed at youngsters from 3 to 6 years of age. It’s another product from a company with a history of educational toys and products for children so this is another tablet built specifically for children, rather than a run of the mill tablet with “child mode.”
A few features to note:
- Expansive parental controls to limit web browsing for children
- You can download material from VTech Learning Lodge
- Very durable design
- This tablet has a 2mp camera on it
Kurio Tablet (7 Inch)
At £69.99 this Android based tablet is amongst the more affordable for the parents of toddlers. It’s also packed with featured and has excellent parental controls.
A robust case and up to 7 hours of battery life make it a good companion for a long trip in the car.
Do you know of a great kids’ tablet device we’re missing from our list? Give us a shout!