Tablet Computers For Young Children

Tablet Computers For Young Children

Leapfrog leappad2 with charger pack 2013Which Tablet To Choose For Kids?

I recently posted on why I feel that tablet computers are a great gift for seniors. It’s mainly because of the user friendly nature of these devices.

However, I sat in my living room the other day and watched my mother-in-law and my two young nieces huddled around a tablet computer and having a lot of fun. The age range ran from 4 through to 75, so I suppose we can conclude that tablet computers are a good idea for a wide range of users!

When it comes to choosing the right tablet computer for young children, there are two options: Either go with a specially designed “learning tablet” – such as the LeapFrog LeapPad2 (pictured top right), or choose a “real” tablet.

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. For what it’s worth, both of my nieces – ages 4 and 6 – have Kindle Fire 7″ tablets, and they love them!

“Proper” Tablet or “Learning” Tablet?

kindle fire hd new modelAs I mentioned, both of my nieces have “proper” tablet computers rather than one which is specially designed for kids. Tablet computers have reduced in price quite dramatically since the Kindle Fires hit the market. The difference in price between “the real thing” (entry level models at least) and the “toy” isn’t really all that great these days.

If you go for the learning type tablet then, assuming that you choose a quality brand such as the LeapPad2, you will be getting a tablet that it specifically designed for kids. It will come with some software, games and a variety of activities which have been designed by specialized children’s educationalist.

As they are designed for children, these learning tablets tend to be fairly rugged – but they can still be damaged if the kids don’t treat with at least a little respect. You’ll be able (at a price) to add further software games and activity sets – probably by downloading direct from the web (depends on which type you buy).

In terms of functionality, there’s not a great deal to choose between kid’s tablets and the real thing these days. Kids will be able to read books, watch videos, take pictures, shoot movies and listen to music – just like a “grown up” tablet.

If you go for a standard tablet, then you will get a very flexible computer which can be shared with other family members – both older children and adults. A standard tablet will be a little faster than a child’s tablet and there will be more flexibility about the apps and software which can be loaded on it.

You should find that there are plenty of suitable apps, games and utilities for most of the latest tablets which will be suitable for your children – whatever age they are. However, you may need to take a little time and search for them – but that shouldn’t be too difficult or take too long.

Cases For Kid’s Tablet Computers

Whichever option you choose, you will want to protect your child’s tablet computer. The specially designed ones are fairly rugged anyway. Standard tablets are also pretty rugged these days. After all, they are designed to be a mobile device, so some knocks and bumps are to be expected, even when adults are using them!

Rugged cases and gorilla glass displays mean that standard tablets will stand up pretty well to the type of abuse that only a child can deliver.

kindle spongebob racing carFor added protection and fun, you can get specially designed holders and cases for kid’s tablets. Checkout the inflatable racing car. How cool is that?

It will hold a Kindle or an iPad securely while kids have fun driving. That has simply got to take the fun up a notch (or two).

As well as catering for different types of tablet (specify the right one when you buy), you can choose from a variety of cartoon themes, including Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Ninja Turtles – depending upon the preference of the child in question. option is the inflatable play cube, which will accept different tablets and comes with different cartoon themes.

When it’s mounted in this, the tablet will be safe from knocks and bumps, and it has a built in screen protector too.

In fact, there is a wide range of specially designed tablet computer mounts for children. These will help to safeguard your tablet and makes the prospect of putting a nice iPad or Kindle into a toddler’s hands a much less ridiculous prospect than you might at first think.

Which Children’s Tablet Should I Choose?

It is very much a matter of personal choice. Learning tablets are specifically designed for young children. Standard tablets are more flexible and may be suitable for sharing with other, older, family members.

With the price difference between toy and tablet being so narrow, I would personally opt for a standard tablet – purely for added flexibility – for all but the very youngest children. Having seen my nieces in action, I can certainly say that kids from as young as 4 will be fine with a tablet (they’ll be showing you how to work it within a week).


  • I’ve just passed on my old Kindle Fire to my 6 year old and made sure to lock it all down so she’s unable to access the Internet or buy anything by mistake! It is her first tablet and she’s enjoying it. I prefer the real tablets for older kids.

    • If my own nieces are anything to go by, 6 years old is big enough for a Kindle tablet. Switching off the internet is a sensible precaution of course.

  • My first preference would have been a “real” tablet as well. My wife and I couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw our 10 month old son unlock an iphone. How he learnt to use the swipe unlock I have no idea. At 18 months he could definitely use a tablet and loved to do so. But a cracked ipad screen later we decided on a Leappad, much more durable. Especially for a kid so young, toys and all sorts of items inevitably get dropped.

  • I’m inclined to go for a “real” tablet if the child is at a stage to learn to use it, just because they won’t so soon outgrow it and, as you point out, it can be shared among family members – very frugal and practical.


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