The best tablet for kids isn't the same as it would be for adults. Generally, a dedicated kids tablet from Amazon or Samsung is often a far better option for young children than a fully fledged iPad Pro or similar.
Typically, kids tablets are hardier than their adult counterparts so they can withstand a few knocks and drops. They're often cheaper too as they tend to pack lower-spec processors due to not requiring the high-end performance you might need for work or video calls.
Despite the relatively lower specs, such tablets are still ideal for playing games, watching films, reading books, or listening to music -- all the core activities your child is most likely to want to do with their gadget. Even better, these tablets tend to come at a fraction of the price of a modern smartphone. If your kids are stuck indoors for long periods or on a long journey with you, these tablets should keep your little ones happy.
Many tablets for kids also come with custom software which have parental controls activated by default, making it easier for you to monitor what they're installing or looking at.
Before you dive into purchasing a tablet for kids, it's worth thinking about what your child is most likely to use their device for in case there's a more appropriate alternative out there. If they love to read then something like the Amazon Kindle Kids Edition might be best. It comes in a child-friendly case and includes a year of Amazon Fire for Kids Unlimited.
If they're a big fan of gaming above everything else then a dedicated console like the Switch Lite or even the New Nintendo 2DS XL (if you can still find one) might be a better bet than a tablet. If you're convinced a tablet is the solution, read on as we break down the best tablet for kids. For your older kids, one of the best Windows tablets might be more appropriate.
Amazon's Fire line has been around for ages, and has quite rightly cornered the market when it comes to cheap and cheerful tablets. The Fire 7 is one of the cheapest tablets around and comes in a range of bright colors, which makes it the ideal choice for school kids and teenagers looking for their first smart device.
You'll want to get to grips with the parental controls before handing it over to very young children and don't expect cutting-edge performance or exceptional battery life for the price, but it really is hard to think of any other tablet which can match the Fire 7 when it comes to price and sheer volume of content; Amazon's app store is stocked to bursting point.
- Read our full Amazon Fire 7 review
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition (2020) is the latest version of Amazon’s kid-friendly 8-inch slate, and while it’s not a huge upgrade on the previous model it’s certainly the one to go for, as it has more power and storage than its predecessor, while still coming in at a low price.
Essentially it’s a kid’s version of the standard Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020), with the key strengths of this tablet including its durable, colorful shell, that will both appeal to children and withstand most accidents.
There’s also an adjustable stand built in, so children won’t have to hold the tablet to use it, and it comes with a one-year subscription to Fire for Kids Unlimited, giving you access to a wealth of kid-friendly apps, videos, and games.
The iPad 10.2 is the cheapest tablet in Apple's range, and it offers a lot for the price tag. While it's an expensive purchase for your kids, iPadOS is full of fantastic tools and apps that mean it'll grow well with your children's needs. If you want to sneak a go with the iPad 10.2, you'll be delighted with the performance and FaceTime is hugely useful when communicating with far flung friends and relatives.
Just bear in mind that if you're worried about it getting damaged, you may want to buy a case for the iPad 10.2. This is far from the most durable option on the list, although it's able to withstand the needs of older children without much trouble.
- Read the full review: iPad 10.2 (2020)
If you've got an older child or fashion-conscious teen then they might not thank you for buying a tablet which comes with a brightly-colored bumper or crayon-like stylus.
If an iPad is still out of the question then Samsung's Galaxy Tab A8 could present the ideal middle ground; it's got a mature design and decent specifications but offers the option of adding parental controls so you can still have some peace of mind.
The best thing is that as your teenager gets older, they don't need to discard the Galaxy Tab 8 as you can remove the controls (assuming you trust them) and viola – it becomes a tablet for a grown-up (well, a grown-up child, at least). Samsung's reputation for quality and design shines through on this reasonably-priced slate, so it's well worth a look.
Amazon's 10-inch kids tablet offers a crisp IPS 1080p screen that's great for playing games and watching movies on, and also provides plenty of display real estate for kids who are just starting to find their love of reading.
Like several of Amazon's other tablets, the Fire HD 10 is available in a 'Kids Edition' package which slaps a massive rubber bumper on for protection and allows you to enable controls which prevent your children from viewing questionable content. The catch is that the Fire HD 10 is quite expensive, and that massive screen means an equally massive footprint, which some younger users may find too unwieldy.
However, you do get a year of Fire For Kids Unlimited, which provides free age-appropriate content for your precious ones.
- Read our full Amazon Fire 10 (2019) review
Kurio specializes in making tech for younger users so the Kurio Tab Connect is ideally suited for them. It can withstand a fair few knocks thanks to a protective bumper that means it can deal with any unexpected temper tantrum. Features wise, it has extensive parental controls so you can lock it down as much as you need to, ensuring your child is safe while using it.
Underneath that protective hood is a fairly capable Android-based tablet albeit one running on somewhat dated hardware. This won't win any prizes for speed but your child will appreciate being able to explore the Google Play Store as and when you allow it.
Don't expect a great screen or a good quality camera, but for the bare necessities, it's a competent enough tablet that will happily contend with the most physical of children.
LeapFrog is a name that will be instantly familiar to many parents – the brand has been responsible for countless electronic devices aimed at very young children – and the Epic (which stands for 'Explore, Play, Imagine, Create', in case you were wondering) is the company's most advanced tablet yet.
While the tech is admittedly unimpressive – it has an average screen and a sluggish processor – the Epic's strength is that the whole experience is tailored for very young users. While it's running Google's Android OS, LeapFrog has customized the UI with bespoke features like daily gifts and the whole system is designed to 'grow' as your child does.
Stringent parental controls are a given, and the rubber bumper, shatter-proof display, MicroSD card slot and bundled stylus round off a package that's ideal for especially young users.
Protect your tablet with insurance
Kids aren't always gentle with gadgets, so you might want to consider insuring any tablet you buy for them. If you're in the UK you can use GoCompare to compare contents insurance deals get insured against the likes of theft, loss and accidental damage.