Tablets are much more than just an electronic babysitter for children. They can help them learn basic skills, improve reading and discover that learning can be fun. Tablets designed specifically for children have parental controls that help parents monitor progress and place limits on how their kids use the device. That means they can block access to certain websites, or restrict access to specific applications to ensure their children’s safety.

Tablets designed for kids are often more durable, constructed with the idea that young children are likely to toss and step on them from time to time. Kids love gadgets, so buying your child his own durable electronic device may mean you can get your own tablet back.

Kids and tablets go together like peanut butter and jelly. As any parent who has ever found mysterious Muppet-infused apps on their software can attest, children naturally and intuitively use tablet technology. Tablets can be a great learning device for children of all ages.

But tablets don’t have to be solely used for learning. Long car trips can be made much more fun by a movie playing on a tablet. Kids can make their own movies, take photos and more on most of the tablets listed here. They’re great tools for both learning and play, and some can even bridge the distance between home and school by using Microsoft-compatible software such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

Choosing the Best Tablets for Kids

Tablets made especially for kids come with certain features that differentiate them from the typical tablets intended for adults. As you’re shopping for tablets for your children, consider the following.

Tablet Size

Tablets meant for children tend to be slightly smaller than typical tablets. Look for tablets with five to seven-inch screens rather than adult-sized nine inch screens.

Durability of the Tablet

Children are rough on their toys, and they’re rough on tablets, too. Tablets intended for kids are often build with harder cases and sturdier shells than adult tablets. Many also have plastic “bumpers” or thick grips to make them easier for children to hold. These grips or bumpers add a little to the width, but can cushion against jolts as well as provide superior hand-holds for tiny hands.

Parental Controls

The great thing about kids’ tablets is that parental controls are built into the tablet, and are usually easy for parents to set. These controls prevent children from accidentally surfing into websites parents don’t want them to visit. Because tablet makers know that parents often find setting controls confusing, they’ve made most children’s tablets with intuitive controls that can’t be undone by most children.

Tablet Operating Systems

Kids’ tablets don’t need the same functionality or robust operating systems as their parents’ tablets. Common operating systems on children’s tablets are made by LeapFrog, Vtech, and Android. These operating systems are often touted as educator-created or approved.

Apps for Your Kid’s Tablet

Instead of cluttering up your tablet with apps for your children, a child’s tablet comes pre-loaded with plenty of apps for entertainment and education. Language instruction, mathematics support, even simple reading tools and ebooks are all found on kids’ tablets. And whatever your child’s tablet doesn’t come with, you can easily add later. Most offer plenty of storage for adding new apps.

Screen Resolution

Here’s where you may notice the biggest difference between your child’s tablet and your own. Screen resolution on children’s tablets may be lower than on adult-sized tablets, leading to some blurry images. Younger children probably won’t mind this as much as older kids.

Top 10 Tablets for Kids

1. Fuhu NABI NABI2-NV7A

 

Nabi offers parents and children a device that is durable, enduring and versatile. The tablet can grow with the child, offering features that are suitable at different levels. In fact, Nabi promotes the age range for this device as 4 to 40 years old. It functions just like a regular tablet, with full access to the internet and other features you’d expect from an adult-version device. GDGT has only user reviews for this model. Users contribute to a rating of 8.0. Parents like the features, display and storage capacity. Pricing starts at $189.

Pros

  • 7″ display

  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich Display

  • 2.7 pounds

  • Durable cover

  • Parents can control access and monitor progress

  • Built-in educational apps, chore lists and features

  • Kids can earn coins to purchase apps by completing chores or assignments

Cons

  • Great for young kids but will eventually need to upgrade

  • Because it is the second generation, still some tech issues

  • Some parents report difficulties with customer service

 2. XO 7-inch Kids Tablet XO-78

 

This tablet has additional features to help parents monitor usage. The journal feature takes snapshots of the screen so that mom and dad can see the websites the child visits and the apps the child uses the most. This tablet has built-in parent dashboards to let them monitor progress and have a better understanding of their child’s intellectual development, based on the popular Gardner Learning Styles and other theories. GDGT had just a single critic review, and they liked the ease of use, design and durability. It was given a 7.0. Prices start at $149.

 

Pros

  • 7″ screed

  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system

  • Wireless and Internet capable

  • Curriculum is created by education giants like Oxford and Discovery

  • Converts to regular tablet for older kids and adults

  • Full content in both English and Spanish; built-in language learning

  • Dashboards help parents understand their child’s development

Cons

  • Some parents say the lack of a manual makes it difficult to learn features

  • No control over sites visited on Internet, just whether kids can access Internet.

  • Poor sound quality

3. 

 

This tablet comes with a drop safe bumper to make it more resilient for very young children. It’s a more basic tablet, without some of the more advanced educational features and application access as more expensive kids’ tablets. The parental control features are impressive, however, allowing parents to control what times and how long kids are able to access various features. It also has HD video and 3D graphics. Pricing starts at $119.

Pros

  • 7″ screen

  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system

  • Adobe Flash 11

  • 1 pound

  • Up to 8 profiles for multiple-child use

  • Parents control when and how long kids have access

Cons

  • Limited educational offerings

  • Can’t download other apps

  • Poor customer support

4. Contixo Kids 7-inch Touch Screen Android 4.1

 

This tablet offers the latest Android operating system, Jelly Bean. It also has dual cameras and a rubber protection case. It’s more basic than tablets like the Nabi, but it’s the ideal combination of low price and features for kids under the age of four. Pricing starts at just $99.

Pros

  • 7″ screen

  • Android 4.1 operating system

  • Wi-Fi

  • 10.1 ounces

  • 3-hour battery life

  • Pre-loaded apps

  • Front and rear cameras

Cons

  • Very basic tablet; most kids will need to upgrade as they get older

  • Low price but not necessarily better value

5. Ematic FunTab 4GB 7 Multi-Touch Screen Kids Tablet with Android 4.0

 

The interface on this tablet adapts to your child to keep learning challenging and fun. It also has interactive books to help improve reading skills. “Zoodles Kid Mode” is a unique feature that adapts to your child’s age and skill level, complete with progress reports for parents to monitor. Prices are affordable, starting at $89.

Pros

  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system

  • 7″ screen

  • Built in art studio

Cons

  • Some customers have had issues with freezing and loading

  • A few customers report problems dealing with customer service

6. Coby Kyros 7-Inch Android 4.0 4 GB Internet Tablet

 

This tablet has a resistive touch screen, which many people find easier to control and manipulate. It comes with Ice Cream Sandwich and 4 GB Flash Memory. GDGT currently has just two user reviews, contributing to a rating of 6.0. The best features named include portability and durability. Pricing starts at $85.

Pros

  • Adequate 7″ screen

  • Just .6 pounds

  • High Speed Processor

  • 802.11 bgn Wi-Fi

Cons

  • No parental control features

  • No protective cover for durability

  • Slow browsing speed

  • Not a lot of storage

7. 

 

This tablet offers a slightly bigger screen and the Google Play Store, which has many great apps for children. While it’s not specifically designed for kids, the added functionality is ideal for older children and teens. The G-sensor helps with calibration and operation. Pricing starts at $71.99.

Pros

  • 9″ touch screen

  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system

  • Offers Skype and Netflix

  • Wi-Fi capable

Cons

  • Lacks parental controls

  • 1.6 pounds heavy for a tablet

  • Customers have reported issues with freezing

 

8. 

 

This tablet has a more durable cover, stylus and screen protector, which makes it a good tablet for older children. Some parents say this is the closest you can get to a high-end tablet at a price that’s reasonable for a children’s product, without worrying about a catastrophic loss of a $500 device. Pricing for this tablet starts at just $69.

Pros

  • 7″ Screen

  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system

  • Dual camera

  • Wi-Fi

  • Skype Video Calling and Netflix

Cons

  • Not Bluetooth capable

  • 3 hours battery life

  • Not for young children

  • No parental controls

9. 

 

This is a good interactive tablet with the Google Play Store already installed. It also has a slightly longer battery life compared to many of the other kids’ tablets, so it’s ideal for long car rides and flights to keep kids occupied and their minds stimulated. Pricing starts at $66.

Pros

  • 7″ screen

  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system

  • Up to 4 hours battery life

  • 10 ounces

  • 3D gaming CPU

  • Gyro sensor

Cons

  • Better for gaming then learning

  • Lacks parental controls

  • Some complaints about processing speed

10. Alldaymall(TM) 7-inch Capacitive Touch Screen Android 4.0 

 

If you are looking for a basic tablet for kids, this is a good choice. While not as kid-friendly as those specifically designed for younger children, this tablet has the main functions necessary for older children to read, surf and complete basic projects. Pricing starts at $58.99.

Pros

  • Android Ice Cream Sandwich Operating System

  • 13.7 screen

  • Wi-Fi

  • 9.6 ounces

  • 1 GHZ Processor

Cons

  • Not for young children

  • Good for gaming but not necessarily learning

  • Some report it is slow

 

The tablets for children offer parents the ability to find great educational tools and a good price that will grow with their children. By teaching children the right way to use technology when they are young, children have a greater tendency to use it appropriately as they grow older.

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