Tablets are a fact of life in most families. They’re how we read, how we get our news, and how we order our groceries. And the truth is, when deployed responsibly, they’re not a bad thing for the youngest members of your family. The best kids’ learning tablets are loaded with educational programming. They let kids watch movies, play games, and stay away from unsavory digital content.
How parents handle screen time is a personal choice for each family. But if you are in the market for a kid-friendly tablet, keep a few things in mind. Make sure it’s robust, meaning it won’t break the first time your child drops it in the driveway. Ensure that it has parental controls that limit what your kid sees online and how long he spends doing it. Pay attention to battery life: You want something that lasts long enough to be of service during a road trip. And of course, don’t invest in something expensive enough that you’ll be curled up into a ball when your child cracks the screen. Which will happen.
The standout aspect of the new Amazon Fire tablet is its battery life: Kids get up to 12 hours of reading, browsing the web, watching videos, and listening to music on one charge. The new version of the beloved Fire Kids has a larger 10 inch display, better battery life, and at 1920 x 1200, much better resolution. The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet gives your kids access to over 20,000 apps, games, books, videos, audio books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and other kid-friendly channels. Kids can connect using WiFi, or download content with 32 GB of internal storage; you can add a microSD card for up to 512 GB of additional storage.
Verizon's Gizmo runs on the Verizon network, which should be self-explanatory, so yes, that's a limitation. However, parents get up to 14.5 hours of battery life, and its ease of use is pretty sensational. Parents can customize the content kids can access based on age and skill level, and determine how long they can use the tablet. The dashboard also keeps parents abreast of just what kids do online. It's durable, it gives kids access to hundreds of kid-friendly apps, and when parents want to take over, they switch it to adult move.
A fantastic kids' tablet, if you want something that straddles the middle. The screen is eight inches, so not quite as large or glorious as that of its older and newer sibling. It has 10 hours of battery life, which is solid if not exactly earth-shattering. Because it weighs 16 ounces (compared to the Kindle 10's 27 ounces), it's easier for smaller hands to handle and carry. It has a micro-USB port and dual cameras.
This tablet, meant for kids three and up, is Leapfrog's most tricked-out one. The Android-based tablet is packed with content suitable for younger kids. Like other kid tablets, Leapfrog lets parents fully screen the content their kids see. Its LeapSearch functionality provides access only to approved, kid-appropriate content, with parents being able to add or upgrade access. It had dual cameras, 16GB of memory with expandable SD card port, and up to seven hours of battery life.
If your house is already chock full of Apple devices, it's worth it to stay within the ecosystem with this smaller — and easier for kids to hold and operate — but still quite powerful tablet. With its 10.2 inch Retina display, its touch ID sensor, two cameras, stereo speakers, and 10 hours of battery life, the iPad Air is light but mighty. It's also highly breakable, so it's meant for older children. Parents can use Apple's parental controls to screen and limit content.
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