OK, first thing’s first—it’s time to ditch the screen time guilt. Whether you need to entertain your brood for a couple of minutes at a restaurant so you and your partner can actually have a grown-up conversation or you’re heading out on a road trip, handing your kid a screen can be a much-needed respite. But when it comes to streaming Encanto on the go, you need a tablet that’s kid- and parent-friendly. In other words, you need a device that won’t crack, has parental controls to restrict content and comes with plenty of storage for all those movies, apps and games. But how to know which one is best? We’ve rounded up the six best tablets for kids below.
The 6 Best Tablets for Kids (Because You Need a Break)
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THE BEST TABLETS AT A GLANCE
For the parents: The setup of the Amazon Fire HD 10 is easy and the options for control are vast. After you link the device to your Amazon account, you can create up to four kid profiles based on the number of children in your clan. From there, you can set up screen-time limits and exactly what your kids have access to view—whether that’s carte blanche on Disney+ or parent-approved games and apps. Also included with a device purchase: a complimentary one-year subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited, which features more than 20,000 books, movies, TV shows and games in English and Spanish. (At the end of a year, Prime members can continue their subscription for just $5 a month.) Designed for kids ages ages 3 to 7.
For the kids: The battery life is 12 hours and the HD screen is ten inches, but perhaps one of the biggest benefits is the bumper that comes included. (There’s even a two-year warranty, so if it breaks or cracks, you’ll get a free replacement, no questions asked.) The basic model comes with 32GB of storage, but you can size up and get 1TB—pretty good if you want to download a bunch of content to view offline on the road.
Best on a Budget
For the parents: It has the exact same parental controls (see above) and two-year warranty as the Amazon Fire 10, but it’s a fraction of the price. It also comes with the same complimentary subscription to FreeTime Unlimited for a full year.
For the kids: The battery life is shorter (7 hours) and the storage is smaller (16 GB). But you can still download a movie or two for offline viewing, and seven hours of life is probably more than enough for the toddler and preschool set.
Best for Educational Content
For the parents: One of the coolest parts of this device is the completely customizable kid profiles and content, which are tailored to your children’s ages automatically upon setup. Once activated, you’ll get about 20 pre-installed educational apps and games, art packages and more. (You can purchase more in the Leapfrog App Center.) Also included is a child-safe web browser, which doesn’t have an address bar, but instead a list of pre-approved URLs that can be set and managed by parents. You can add up to five profiles for kids and use the parental controls to manage how long everybody is allowed on the device and at what times.
For the kids: In addition to the pre-installed apps, kids ages 3 to 8 have access to local weather, a calculator and a camera. They also each get their own home screen in the form of a town they can customize. (They can add stickers and change the colors of the houses.) Still, the content is what really makes this tablet sing. Think apps like Alphabet Stew, where kids find words by tapping nearby letters, or The Word of the Day, which offers a vocab lesson with definitions tied to visuals for easy learning. As for the battery life? It’s six hours. Not bad.
Best Non-Wi-Fi Option
For the parents: Sometimes simple really is best—this tablet works anywhere (yes, even at your brother’s remote cabin upstate) and requires no set-up or downloads. OK, so this one is more “toy” than “tablet,” but that’s exactly why it’s such a great pick for kids ages 3 and up. Each device comes with six different game modes to explore letters, phonics, numbers and music, with the option to learn in English and Spanish. Once your kid has mastered one mode, they can move on to the next for a new challenge. And with a real QWERTY keyboard, your little genius will easily transition from typing on their Smart Tablet to a real computer. Did we mention that batteries are included?
For the kids: Mazes, music, animations and a color-changing screen are just some of the fun activities that await curious learners. And with the option to play with the device in their lap or flip out the attached stand to use it on a table, the Smart Tablet can tag along with them wherever they go.
Best for Toddlers
For the parents: Designed for kids ages 1 and up, this tablet comes with a variety of educational content tailored to your child’s age, including over 60 storybooks, more than 20 sing-alongs and a 250 word book. What to do when your toddler has run through ’em all? ALIA's content refreshes every three months (for free—no subscription required) to keep up with your growing tot. We’re also big fans of the mobile app for parents that lets you manage learning modes, review learning sessions and check in on your toddler’s progress.
For the kids: Toddlers aren’t the best at sitting still, which means that their attempt to “hold” onto a tablet often ends in tears and frustration (for them and you). That’s what makes the sturdy squat pedestal of the ALIA so clever—kids can engage with the device without running the risk of it toppling over. But the real attraction here is the breadth of content that allows toddlers to sing-along, dance and learn their ABCs, 123s, colors, shapes and words.
Best for the Whole Family
For the parents: Yes, the stakes are high should this device be dropped. But it’s also an all-in-one device that the entire fam can use. (That said, you might want to invest in an iPad holder for car trips or plane rides.) As for parental controls? Easy. Parents can set up user profiles and block specific content and iTunes and App Store purchases. You can also filter the web browser to allow access to specific websites only.
For the kids: The display is top-notch. Ditto the camera. And if you invest in the iPad Pencil, your child can put “pen” to paper and really create. The battery life is ten hours, so they’ll be able to use it without interruption. Sync it with your favorite apps and games, and they’re good to go.