If you’re looking for the best kids tablets around, it’s hard to beat Amazon’s Fire tablets: they’re cheap, they’re cheerful and they’re very capable. In fact they’re so cheap you could buy two for less than you’d spend on a single iPad.
And the Kids Edition and Kids Pro versions have some important advantages over rival devices, including a free subscription that includes games and ebooks; a kid-friendly case; and peace of mind should the Fire meet an unhappy fate.
Like their non-kids siblings, the Fire Kids Edition tablets use a modified version of Android that’s exclusive to Amazon. It connects to Amazon’s own App Store rather than the Google Play Store, and it’s designed to work closely with Amazon’s own ecosystem – so the ebooks come from Amazon’s Kindle library, the educational apps from the Amazon App Store and so on.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because for the first year your Kids Edition or Kids Pro gives you a free subscription to the Kids+ library of apps, books and games – so you don’t need to worry about spending extra on content for your kids to enjoy.
What is the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet?
The Amazon Fire Kids Edition is a specially adapted version of the standard Fire tablet designed specifically for children. It includes a protective, kid-friendly case, a kid-friendly user interface and a year’s free subscription to Amazon Kids+ for apps, books and other media.
There’s also a no-quibble guarantee: if your little one smashes their tablet within two years, Amazon will replace it for free.
What models of Fire Kids Edition tablets are there?
There are currently six Fire Kids Edition tablets. They are:
- Fire 7 Kids
- Fire 7 Kids Pro
- Fire HD 8 Kids
- Fire HD 8 Kids Pro
- Fire HD 10 Kids
- Fire HD 10 Kids Pro
The Kids versions are for children aged 3-7 and the Pro versions are for school-aged children. Both versions come with protected cases but the Pro version is more grown-up looking; its interface for older children is less childish too.
Is the hardware different for the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet?
Until mid-2021 there was sometimes a lag between Amazon updating its mainstream Fire HD tablets and its Kids Editions, so you’d often see the Kids versions running older hardware for a while.
That seems to have changed, and at the time of writing Amazon has just updated all of its Fire tablets including the Kids Editions. That means the only difference in the hardware is that the Kids Edition comes in a sturdy protective case, the Kids Pro comes in a slightly slimmer case and the normal Fire tablets don’t.
Can I use the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet like a normal Fire HD tablet?
Yes. The Kids Edition interface only applies to children’s accounts and all Fire tablets support multiple user accounts on the same device. If you log in as the parent or guardian you’ll get the standard Fire user interface, which is an Amazon-tweaked version of Android. You’ll be asked to create a PIN so that other people can’t log in as you, in case they wanted to remove parental controls or other restrictions.
Where do I get apps for the Amazon Fire Kids Edition?
Amazon expects you to get your apps from the included free year of Kids+, which offers a selection of apps, games, ebooks, audiobooks and video. You can also buy apps on your parent account from the Amazon App Store and then share those apps with specific users, so for example you can buy a game that isn’t in the Kids+ selection and then share it with the children’s accounts. Fire tablets don’t include the Google Play Store.
What age groups does the Kids+ subscription cater for?
Amazon groups its Kids+ content into three age groups: 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. It recommends the standard Kids Edition for children aged 3-7 and the more grown-up Kids Pro for school-aged children.
How good is the selection in Amazon Kids+?
It’s not as extensive as Google Play or Apple’s App Store, but it’s pretty good. The range of content includes key figures such as Harry Potter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Mr Men and PJ Masks, Spongebob Squarepants and Star Wars animations. As you’d expect from Amazon the range of books is particularly strong. There’s a good selection of content from Nick Jr, CBeebies, Lego and Disney, but you might find that older children find the selection of games in particular a bit basic.
How good are the parental controls for the Fire Kids Edition tablets?
They’re very good. For younger children, the Kids Edition operates a walled garden where the only content is pre-screened by Amazon, and if you’ve vetted other apps you can share them with your family members via your own account.
The Amazon Parent Dashboard works across devices and enables you to set limits on screen time, apply age filters (and customize them, for example by letting a child go up an age level) and use a clever feature called Learn First. This puts fun apps off-limits until the educational goals you specify, such as reading for X period of time, have been met.
Are the Kids Editions good value for money?
We think so, yes. Provided they’re the same specification as the non-kids versions, what you get for your extra money is worthwhile.
The Kids Edition or Kids Pro version of any Fire tablet is typically $50 / £40 / around AU$55 more expensive than the standard Fire it’s based on. For the extra money you get the protective case and a year of Kids+ plus; a standard Fire with Kids+ and a comparable third party case would cost more.
It’s worth noting that Amazon constantly discounts its Fire tablets on events such as Prime Day, Black Friday and around other significant calendar events, so it’s worth keeping an eye on that so you can get your Fire Kids Edition even cheaper.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.