9 best tablets for kids

07 January 2021

kids on tablet

If you think your child is ready for a tablet of their own (or you're sick of them stealing yours), then take a look at which ones Mumsnetters recommend to help you make the right choice.

Whether you’re looking for a tablet for a clumsy preschooler or a tech-savvy teen, there’s something for everyone.

With younger children, intuitive apps and protective cases are hugely popular. Most Mumsnetters are also keen on having some sort of parental controls in place – not only to protect little eyes but to stop children of all ages from having too much screen time.

Here are the best tablets for kids, as recommended by parents.

1. Best overall tablet for kids: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1-Inch Tablet

“DD had a Samsung Galaxy Tab A for Christmas a couple of years ago and it's been fab. It's got great battery life, you can add extra memory and it’s very easy to navigate.”

1. Best overall tablet for kids: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1-Inch Tablet

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A is a great all-rounder. At £159 (£169 for a bundle), it’s not the cheapest tablet on the market, but it’s a more affordable option for most families than the popular iPad.

Although it’s not specifically aimed at kids, it has a very useful ‘kids’ mode’ where parents can set limits. It replaces the app icons on the home screen with cartoon-style alternatives, and is restricted by a code to prevent your child from turning it back into a full-on device.

The 10-inch display is a good size for watching videos, while the range of apps means there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

For a little over £200, you can get a 4G version for convenient internet access on car journeys, outings or particularly long check-in queues.

  • Screen size: 10.1in
  • Battery life: 15 hours
  • Parental controls: Yes, in the form of a ‘kids’ mode’
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Platform: Android

2. Best tablet for younger children: Amazon Fire 7 Kids' Edition

“Go for Amazon Fire with the kids' protective cover. We've got two for our three- and four-year-old and have had them for two years. They've been thrown down the stairs, trodden on and all sorts, and still work perfectly!”

“The parental controls on the Kindle are brilliant. My three-year-old daughter is getting a kids' Kindle (to stop her from stealing mine).”

2. Best tablet for younger children: Amazon Fire 7 Kids' Edition

The most popular option – by far – on the Mumsnet forums is the Amazon Fire Kids' Edition. It’s a Kindle designed especially with children in mind, as it includes a year's subscription to Amazon Kids+ (£1.99 per month after the first year), formerly Fire for Kids Unlimited, which gives your children access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies and TV shows – and allows parents to access a parental control dashboard to limit screen time and restrict content by age. The price also includes a kid-proof case in a choice of three colours – blue, pink or purple.

This is an older model so the display is not as high resolution as on the 8-inch or 10-inch Amazon tablets (hence the lack of HD in the product name) and it has 16GB storage, but it still looks good and it’s much cheaper at under £60 (usually £99).

Just add a microSD card for up to 400GB of additional storage – that's enough space to download every episode of Postman Pat ever and a lot more besides. It also comes with a two-year worry-free guarantee so if your children break it then Amazon will replace it.

  • Screen size: 7in
  • Battery life: 12 hours
  • Parental controls: Yes
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Platform: Amazon

Price: £54.99 (was £99.99)

Exciting deal: 3 months of Amazon Kids+ for £2.99 instead of £23.99

Buy now from Amazon

3. Best tablet for older children: Amazon Fire 7 16GB with Alexa

“We bought an Amazon Fire – the 16GB model, not the kids' one, for our five-year-old last year. We bought a separate cover for it. It's been fantastic. It has thorough parental controls, and we have had no problem downloading the various apps/games she’s asked for.”

“My DC got Kindle Fires for Christmas last year and they’ve been a big hit.”

3. Best tablet for older children: Amazon Fire 7 16GB with Alexa

The kids' version of the Kindle Fire (above) is aimed at children aged 12 and below but, realistically, if your child is aged seven or eight then they'll get more use out of this much more grown-up device.

It doesn't have the rugged casing of the dedicated Kids' Edition so you’ll likely want to buy a case separately, but it's just as easy to set parental controls that suit your family's needs – just sign up to Amazon Kids+ and enjoy complete peace of mind.

It also has decent battery life at seven hours, which should be long enough to keep your children entertained.

  • Screen size: 7in
  • Battery life: 7 hours
  • Parental controls: Yes
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Platform: Amazon

4. Best budget tablet for kids: Lenovo TAB3 7 Essential Tablet

“The Lenovo tablets are good and well-priced for a decent spec.”

“Lenovo tablets are surprisingly good for the price. I went for one of those so I could install whatever parental control or ad blocker I wanted.”

4. Best budget tablet for kids: Lenovo TAB3 7 Essential Tablet

One of the best value options on this list, the Lenovo TAB3 7 Essential is also the most petite. Its seven-inch screen is perfect for little hands and it weighs just 236g.

Even though it’s a budget option, at just over £50, it still has plenty of features to keep your family safe online. It also allows you to set up multiple profiles on the same device, which is ideal for siblings.

The screen is made from tough glass and has a splash-proof coating to help protect it from those inevitable disasters. It doesn’t compete with Apple when it comes to weight or speed but, at almost £300 cheaper, it offers much better value.

  • Screen size: 7in
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Parental controls: Yes
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • Platform: Android Pie

Price: From £74.99

Buy now from Amazon

5. Best high-end tablet: 2019 Apple iPad Mini 64GB

“Pricey, but I would get the iPad. I’ve tried out cheaper tablets but nothing compares to iPads.”

“We’re an Apple household and I wouldn’t know how to do anything else. We got DD an iPad Mini and it means we can connect all our devices via Family Sharing.”

5. Best high-end tablet: 2019 Apple iPad Mini 64GB

Definitely not a budget option, the iPad Mini is an investment that will last for years if well cared for.

Although it's not specifically designed for children, Apple offers some very sophisticated parental control options which allow you to hide certain apps – including core Apple apps like the camera and email – prevent any purchases, and stop access to films and TV shows with minimum age ratings.

If you're an iOS family rather than an Android one, Family Sharing allows you to link all of your devices together and control any child's device centrally.

Yes, it costs more than the similar-sized Amazon Fire, but the screen is a touch bigger, has a higher resolution (3.1 million pixels at a resolution of 2048 × 1536) and, if you’re an Apple family, then there is simply no alternative.

A pencil stylus and keyboard, available separately, help turn this tablet into a mini laptop – ideal for homeschooling.

  • Screen size: 7.9in
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Parental controls: Yes
  • Storage: 128 GB
  • Platform: iOS

Price: £377

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

6. Best educational tablet: LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate

“My daughter got the LeapPad last Christmas when she was nearly four and still plays with it regularly. It has some really educational games on it.”

“It's been dropped many times and is very robust.”

6. Best educational tablet: LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate

For a tablet that’s geared towards learning and brain development (as opposed to being geared towards watching as much Hey Duggee as possible), LeapFrog’s LeapPad is a great option.

It’s aimed at children aged three to nine and the parental controls reflect this, with web access filtered by LeapFrog’s in-house learning experts. It’s not just about education though as you can still download hundreds of child-safe apps. But watch out as it’s not compatible with the Android store, meaning it doesn’t have the longevity of other tablets.

It does have a stylus included which can help prevent getting the screen too grubby and can help your little one learn to write. Even better, it’s been designed with a shatter-safe screen and a wrap-around bumper so you won’t need to worry about it getting dropped.

  • Screen size: 7in
  • Battery Life: 6 hours
  • Parental controls: Yes
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Platform: LeapFrog

Price: From £96.69

Buy now from Amazon

7. Best tablet for parental controls: Kurio Tab Connect

“We got this for DD. There are so many apps on there already that I haven't had to pay for any more games yet. She also loves taking pictures and videos on the two cameras. We’ve set the time controls so that she can play for two hour-long slots a day between 10am and 6pm and, amazingly, she doesn't have a tantrum when it turns itself off!”

7. Best tablet for parental controls: Kurio Tab Connect

Kurio specialise in making tablets for kids. The Kurio Tab Connect is a decent budget tablet, although some Mumsnet users say the Amazon Fire 7 Kids' Edition has a better build quality.

Where the Kurio excels is in parental controls – you can monitor the tablet, access it remotely and control the front-facing camera and the volume. It also has a robust rubber case.

The purchase price includes a year’s access to educational apps and eBooks. It’s worth noting that the version of Android this tablet runs on isn’t the newest. It’s version six and currently you can get up to version 10.

  • Screen size: 7in
  • Battery life: 7 hours
  • Parental controls: Yes
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Platform: Android

8. Best small tablet for kids: Alba 8-Inch 16GB Tablet

“We got DD (age four) the Alba tablet from Argos last month and it's solid. It also comes with two silicone protectors which are sturdy too. Works really well for the price.”

8. Best small tablet for kids: Alba 8-Inch 16GB Tablet

Argos’s own brand tablet, the Alba, is a great option for a tight budget. The eight-inch display is a good size for watching CBeebies or Netflix and playing games. As with other smaller tablets, it’s also helpful for younger kids with small hands. It also comes with two handy silicone bumper cases to help protect it from drops.

It doesn’t have any in-built parental controls, but that’s an easy fix – you just have to download them onto the device manually. Some users say it’s not as hardy as other tablets for kids, but if your child is out of the preschool destruction years it might be the one for you.

  • Screen size: 8in
  • Battery life: 6 hours
  • Parental controls: No
  • Platform: Android
  • Storage: 16GB

9. Best new Fire: Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids' Edition

“My DS has a Fire as well. It's really robust, and we bought a cheap SD card to download films and Audible books so it has loads of storage on it.”

9. Best new Fire: Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids' Edition

The HD 8 Kids' Edition is the 2020 update and, while it’s not a huge upgrade, it has more power and storage than the Amazon Fire 7 Kids' Edition for just £40 more. It’s 32GB rather than 16GB and has 10 hours battery life rather than seven. The screen is also an inch bigger, making it easier to watch content and play games.

As with previous Fires, you also get the durable, colourful shell that should withstand most accidents and it comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, giving you access to loads of kid-friendly apps, videos and games. There’s also an adjustable stand built in, so children won’t have to hold the tablet to use it.

  • Screen size: 8in
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Parental controls: Yes
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Platform: Amazon

Price: £84.99 (was £139.99)

Buy now from Amazon

What age should a kid have a tablet?

Thanks to their lightweight and intuitive design, children are able to use tablets more easily than computers and from a younger age too. As their parent, only you really know when your child is ready. Navigating the digital world is crucial for children today. But tablets do set up another host of potential tantrum triggers – one of which is screen time.

Tablets that are specifically designed for children are a great option for younger kids as they offer loads of parental control features. If you're buying for an older child, it gets a little trickier. They might not want something that looks 'babyish,’ so you'll have to check carefully and make sure that your chosen model has systems in place that will ensure they can only access age-appropriate content.

What should I look for when buying a tablet?

  • The platform: If your phone and other devices, like laptops, are from Apple, then having a tablet from the same tech family means you can connect it up. It also means you’ll be more familiar with the interface.
  • The storage: If you need to download endless hours of Hey Duggee or Netflix films for long journeys, then you’ll need a decent amount of storage. 16GB equates to around four hours.
  • The age of the child: Younger children will need a hard-wearing tablet, or at least a very durable case to protect it, and one that isn’t too large to hold.
  • Parental controls: Regardless of the age of your child, you will want some kind of parental controls to make sure they can’t see anything they shouldn’t – and possibly to keep a rein on their screen time.
  • Battery life: Downloading can motor through batteries and if you want to take the tablet for long journeys look out for tablets with a long battery life.

What is the best tablet to buy for a child?

Overall, for longevity and price the Samsung Galaxy Tab A is affordable, and has good battery life and storage.

For preschoolers and young children, there really is no competition – the Amazon Fire Kids' Edition is the best tablet to buy for a child – the Fire 7, in particular is a real bargain. The two-year worry-free guarantee will see Amazon replace it if your child breaks it, so it’s totally kid-proof. Plus, it will see your child all the way through to the tween years.

If you’re an Apple household and can stretch the budget, then the 2019 iPad Mini is the perfect size for smaller hands, has a lot of longevity and has the quality you’d expect from Apple.

How we chose our recommendations

All of our recommendations for the best tablets for kids came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which tablets, including ones for preschoolers, primary-aged children, tweens and teens, that parents really loved. We also looked at other reviews to see which tablets, Android and iOS, performed well across the board.

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