The Best Tablets for Kids to Keep Them Entertained and Engaged

Kids and tablets seem to go hand-in-hand these days. It’s not surprising, given how versatile modern tablets are, giving kids a device they can use for entertainment, communication, and education alike. Having their own tablet can also give children a sense of independence and autonomy, as it affords them free rein to explore the digital world the way they see fit.

While it’s not a bad idea to give a child an old tablet you’re not using anymore, be aware that kids will usually put that gadget to the test in a way that an adult never would. Suffice to say, there’s a good chance that three-year old tablet will see its demise in your child’s hands sooner than later. If you’re going to hand down an old tablet to your child, there are some things you want to do first to make it a viable tablet for kids, such as buying a rugged case that can absorb impact, installing some sort of parental controls, and making sure you’ve got a screen protector, just in case your kid decides to pick up a crayon and scribble on the tablet screen.

If you’re buying a new tablet for kids, there are two ways you can go. On the one hand, you can go for tablets made specifically for children, with a more robust build that should withstand the clumsier handling they will likely be subjected to, as we as preloaded kid-friendly apps. On the other, you can just buy a regular tablet, activate the parental controls, and reinforce it with protective accessories to make sure it can take a child’s rowdier handling.

Leapfrog LeapPad Academy 7-Inch

We like the idea behind kid-centered tablets like this 7-inch model, which is small enough for kids to handle, comes with a protective case, and even includes an integrated kickstand. It also comes preloaded with 20 educational apps and tools to keep your kids busy right out of the box, with plenty more available from the LeapFrog App Center.  We love the included apps, as these are focused apps meant to engage and educate, instead of pure entertainment like what kids will normally get on regular tablets. There’s a browser preloaded, but it’s LeapFrog’s own, so it’s geared towards steering kids to actual kid-friendly websites, with the built-in parental controls even letting you whitelist which websites to allow in the browser.

Problem starts, though, when you want more of their educational apps. While there is a wide selectionof choices from their store, they’re expensive as heck. Seriously, there are a few priced at $10 and under, but majority of the really good ones seem to be $20 onwards. It’s just a bit too steep and can really add up if you’re trying to keep your kid busy. Pro tip: buy apps and games during holiday sales or sign up for Academy ($8 per month to get unfettered access around 2,000 apps). Do note, this is still an Android tablet, so you can actually sideload most Android apps in it if you want (you’ll need to set the device to install from unknown sources).

LeapFrog LeapPad Academy Kids’ Learning Tablet,...
  • Enjoy a kid-friendly tablet with Android that’s packed with 20 educational apps and creativity...

Pebble Gear 7-Inch Tablet

Another device made specifically for kids, this 7-inch tablet has a rubberized case to ensure it can shrug off most bumps and drops, along with some parental controls for managing your children’s screen time. The parental controls aren’t extensive as we’d like, though, but they’re decent enough to let you handle all the basics. The tablet, by the way, is sold with specific Disney themes, such as Frozen, Mickey & Friends, Cars, and Toy Story, with the tablet then coming preloaded with apps and content related to that theme. Each tablet, by the way, also comes with a matching pair of headphones with a similar theme.

The apps for this tablet aren’t as good as those you can find on Leapfrog, since these are, mostly, curated Android apps that are available elsewhere, instead of original ones. It comes with a number of apps preinstalled (e.g. YouTube Kids), with around 600 or so more available from their GameStore Junior service, where you will get free access for 12 months before requiring a subscription.

Buy Now – $119.99

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro

Amazon’s tablet for kids comes with a slim, kid-proof case that covers the sides and back, with a handy kickstand that makes it easy to prop up on a table. It has an 8-inch screen with 1,200 x 800 resolution, so it can play decent quality 720p videos. Sure, it’s not full HD, but most kids we know won’t really care, since it’s good enough to watch shows, play games, and read storybooks. We love Amazon’s extensive parental controls, which lets you set everything from location services and camera access to filtering out apps and websites to a whole lot more. You can also define multiple users, so different kids can use the app, then set screen time use for each account individually. Suffice to say, the parental controls are topnotch, which any parent will definitely appreciate.

We love the interface of this tablet, by the way, which changes just slightly based on the age of the user, which we thought was a clever touch. It also comes with a free year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+, which gives the tablet access to a curated collection of apps from popular kids brands like Disney, LEGO, Nickelodeon, and more, as well as more standard App Store fare that have been filtered for kid-friendliness. The tablet comes with 32GB of storage, by the way, although there is an SD card slot, so you can load up a memory card if you want to store more apps and other content locally.

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Buy Now – $149.99

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro

If you think your child can handle a larger device, then the 10-inch version of Amazon’s tablet for kids might be a better choice. As you can imagine, this has better specs, with a larger screen, sharper full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,200), a faster processor, and slightly more RAM (3GB). It brings all the same features we love on the 8-inch model, from the protective case with kickstand and the parental controls to the Amazon Kids+ access and the SD card slot, albeit with a surprisingly smoother performance. Seriously, we didn’t expect the hardware upgrade to be that significant, but it really does feel like a much better device (everything seems to load and run faster). It also has a better 5MP camera, by the way, so kids can take better photos, if they’re into that, as well as a longer battery life of 13 hours. Sure, it’s no iPad, but it’s a really good, really solid tablet experience that kids will enjoy.

Buy Now – $189.99

Apple iPad 9th-Gen

Yes, you can get your kid the 10th-gen iPad if you want, but the last-gen is really good enough for most children’s needs for significantly less. Plus, the specs on this tablet means it’s something your kids can probably keep using even as they grow older. We mean, a 10.2-inch screen with 2160 x 1620 resolution, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, 12MP front and 8MP rear cameras, and Apple’s A13 Bionic chip should hold up really well (it would have been better if there was an SD card slot). Granted, you’ll still need to buy a protective case to really make it suitable for children, but you should have a lot of choices, considering the extensive selection of accessories available for Apple’s products.

Apple’s Family Sharing feature should give parents all the control they need to manage their children’s screen time. Sure, it’s not as easy to use as the parental controls on Amazon’s tablets for kids, but they’re good enough and extensive enough that you don’t feel like you’re missing out anyway. This iPad also supports the first-gen Apple Pencil, in case you have kids that are more inclined towards artistic activities. We do wish Apple made a similar service to Amazon Kids+, so we wouldn’t have to keep buying apps, but Apple does have an extensive selection and, if you take your time to seek them out, you can find some really good ones that will keep your kids busy for a decent amount of time.

Buy Now – $329