Best tablets for kids UK 2021: kids’ tablets for all budgets
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Practically as soon as your kid can speak, they’ll be begging for a tablet. Portable, lightweight and stuffed with infinite entertainment, educational and creative activities, the tablet is now as much a part of the home as the TV or the computer, if not more so.
Is it wise to give your child a tablet?
So should you give your child a tablet? And if so, which one will suit them? Dr Amanda Gummer, child psychologist and founder of The Good Play Guide, comments: “It can be difficult to know when to get your child their own device but there are a few things to consider - if they are taking it out and about it needs to be light and durable - and don’t forget the case!
“As large a screen as is practical will help youngsters, as their fine motor skills will not be as refined as older children. Also it’s worth considering a stand so they are not always hunched over their device.
“The key thing is the parental controls and how easily you’re going to be able to keep your child safe. Also consider what apps you upload onto it - make sure there is a good amount of age-appropriate apps that encourage different skill development and retain their interest.”
There is a wide variety of tablets available on the market, so to assess which one is best for you, you’ll need to take a few things into account.
How do you pick the correct tablet for your child?
Firstly, your child’s age: some tablets are marketed to kids as young as three, though chances are your little one will want to get his or her hands on one well before that (whether you’ll want them to is up to you).
Tablets marketed at younger children will likely have lots of appealing features, whether a durable bumper case, cartoon-themed software or a guarantee in case of breakages (likely with rambunctious youngsters).
Many tablets will also have the ability to set parental controls, which vary: these could range from allowing you to set the times your children can play with the tablet, only letting them watch TV shows once educational goals have been met, or only permitting certain websites or apps to be used.
If you’re buying for an older child, who’ll chiefly be using it for homework, games and entertainment, you may want to buy one that can add useful accessories such as a pen and and a keyboard. You will still be able to set parental controls, though we’d always advise regular chats about internet safety in addition too.
What should you spend?
How much should you spend? If you’re mainly using your iPad for your child to play games, watch videos and read books, you can go for a tablet on the cheaper end of the spectrum, while if you need something a bit more powerful to serve all the family, and with extra frills such as a keyboard or pen, you’ll likely spend a bit more.
Whatever your budget, the age of your child and your priorities, you’ll find the best tablet for your family in our roundup.
Amazon Fire HD10 Kids Tablet
If you’ve thought about buying your child a tablet, chances are at least one product from tech giants Amazon has crossed your mind.
Our mini tester adored everything about the Amazon Fire HD10 Kids tablet - and our adult testers did too.
The newly-launched gadget is marketed to kids aged between three and seven, and is perfect for boisterous little ones, with a seriously durable kid-proof case available in three colours, and a two-year guarantee in case it breaks: we loved the kickstand and handle, which made it super easy to carry around and prop up when watching a show or playing a game.
While setting up, it’s easy to set limits depending on who’ll be using the tablet, and you can control everything from how much screen time your kids will have to setting educational goals that have to be met before games or videos are allowed.
You can even set a time when the tablet shuts down for the day: a genius way of inducing bedtime and avoiding tantrums.
We were impressed by the beautiful picture quality of the screen and sound, as well as how intuitive the tablet is to use: kids, beware, your parents might steal this one to use themselves.
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro Tablet
The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro Tablet is very similar to the Amazon Fire HD10 Kids Tablet, and is the same price, except this one is marketed at kids between the ages of six and twelve.
It’s a slimmer version and is available in four cool colours for a more adult feel than the chunkier Fire HD10 Kids Tablet.
With this Amazon Fire tablet, kids have a little more freedom in that they can access the digital store and request to download apps, but parents still have control in that they can approve or deny them through the parent dashboard.
Parents can also block specific websites, while there’s a built-in control to banish inappropriate sites.
Kids can also make calls, both voice and video, over Wi-Fi, but only to contacts that parents approve. We liked how clear and simple this was to set up and use, giving parents control over their kids’ screen time in thoughtful, intuitive and efficient ways.
Both this tablet and the Fire HD10 Kids Tablet come with a one-year free Amazon Kids+ subscription, giving your little one to thousands of books, films, TV shows, educational apps, games and audio books: chances are that your little one will love this subscription so much you’ll keep renewing it for years.
As with the other version, this tablet also offers great tech specs that make for a seamless experience whether your kids are watching TV, doing their homework or playing games.
Perhaps the first name that springs to mind when you think of a tablet, the Apple iPad is a ubiquitous gadget that’s as well-known for its beautiful looks as it is for its superb tech specs.
Everything about the Apple experience is a true pleasure, from the stunning Retina display and lightweight design to the crisp cameras and powerful performance.
The intuitive interface means it’s incredibly simple to get the hang of, and kids will love the enormous range of child-friendly apps on the App Store.
While an iPad may not be as shock-proof as some of the other tablets in this roundup, that’s not to say it’s not designed with kids in mind.
Parents can set all kinds of content restrictions, from how much screen time kids can have to which websites they can visit and whether in-app purchases are allowed.
Additionally, accessories such as the brilliant Apple Pencil or the Smart Keyboard bring creative homework to life and make normally mundane note-taking exciting.
There’s no denying that an iPad is on the higher end of the price spectrum, but for those who love a really sleek, seamless experience all the way through - and want to invest in the unique Apple experience - it’s worth it.
Lenovo Tab M10 Plus
If you’re looking for a tablet that will function just as well for kids as for adults, and all for an affordable price, we loved the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus.
Smart, lightweight and sleek, with a HD display and impressive sound, it looks and sounds good whether you’re checking emails, watching TV or playing games.
What we really liked about this was how well it functions as an adult tablet, but how easy it is to switch into kids’ mode.
From there, parents can input the usual restrictions such as screen time and app access, but there’s some thoughtful extras here: a blue light filter to prevent eye fatigue, alerts to keep an eye on kids’ postures, and a function to highlight when children are using the tablet in a bumpy environments such as cars or trains.
When kids are done playing or learning with the huge range of apps, games and books on offer, it’s easy to switch back to the adult mode, making it a brilliant all-rounder for the whole family.
Pebble Gear Disney Mickey and Friends Kids Tablet
Our young tester’s eyes lit up when she saw the Pebble Gear Disney Mickey and Friends Kids Tablet, and the gadget just got better and better once she tried it out.
It feels perfectly catered to the needs of a young child, with clear, child-friendly language, an eye-catching protective bumper case and Disney-themed software.
It was incredibly easy to set up parental limits, and for added reassurance, the tablet only offers pre-loaded content to make sure children only have access to approved games, apps and e-books (there are over 500 to choose from) and can’t make in-app purchases or accidentally stumble upon anything inappropriate.
If your child isn’t a Mickey Mouse fan, you can also buy Frozen-themed or Toy Story-themed tablets.
A great option for worried parents who want certainty about the child-friendliness of their tablet.
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
If no matter how hard you try, you still prefer typing with a keyboard than on a tablet, then you’ll fall in love with the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro - and your kids will too.
The keyboard and pen included with this tablet work seamlessly together and make doing everything from homework to taking notes a pleasure rather than a chore.
When setting up the device, you can choose whether it’s going to be used by a child, a teenager or an adult to adapt the safety settings accordingly.
With the device, you get access to Google Kids Space, which gives your little one a whole world of pre-loaded apps, books and videos to keep them informed and entertained.
Parents can build in controls for everything such as screen time limits or bedtimes - handy to avoid daily battles.
We were really impressed by the tablet’s high quality display, smart appearance, long battery life and ease of use: it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum, but it’s a great choice for older kids or teens who’ll be doing lots of note-taking (if their parents don’t steal it first!).
HANNspree Pad 13.3" 32GB Zeus Tablet
The past year more than ever, having a great home schooling set-up has never been so important, and let’s face it, squinting at a small screen all day isn’t great for your eyes.
If you’re buying a tablet for your kids hoping they’ll use it regularly for lessons as well as for fun, then you might want to invest in a larger screen but without breaking the bank.
Step in the Zeus HANNspree pad, a gigantic 13.3” tablet that you could spend all day using without the dreaded post-tech headache.
Kids will love doing homework, attending Zoom lessons, playing games and catching up on their favourite series on the giant screen: it’s a great choice for making both homework and entertainment more comfortable for older kids and teenagers.
Hey Duggee Smart Tablet:
If you’re not ready to give your child an adult-style tablet yet, the Hey Duggee Smart Tablet is a great (and wallet-friendly) compromise.
Little fans of the adorable TV show will be obsessed with this colourful tablet, which at £17.99 is a seriously affordable alternative to a more techy tablet.
All you have to do is switch it on and let your little one play with its interactive features: the toy will help them learn everything from their numbers to their ABCs through fun sounds, bright colours and cute shapes.