For youngsters growing up today, a toddler tablet is every bit as much a part of their reality as stacks of picture books. The Internet is an inescapable part of their lives. And since you can’t stuff the genie back in the bottle, when it comes to learning tablets, what you can do is be as picky as possible and choose the best toddler tablets packed with the most robust features, along with built-in tools to protect them from unsavory content.
These modern preschool tablets disguise STEM learning, reading, and even music in packages and apps that your children will love. As such, they’re a great way of imparting foundational learning by way of fun and games.
First off, get a tablet that’s age-appropriate and easy to use. A 1-year-old doesn’t need an iPad (or even internet access, for that matter). You don’t want to invest a ton of cash in something that will be thrown around in the car or go missing during a sleepover at grandma’s house, yet you want something that will survive myriad drops, falls, and kicks. Pre-installed learning games are a huge bonus. Most of all, if you get a WiFi-enabled tablet, you want a one that has parental controls, so you can monitor if they go online and which sites they see, what games they’re playing, and how much time they spend doing both of those things.
Every parent handles screen time differently and it’s worth noting that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 2 to 5 have no more than one hour a day of screen time, and that the hour be limited to high-quality programming.
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The Best Tablets for 1-Year-Olds
This sweet little ‘tablet’ won’t get your kid online, and that’s a plus, since kids this young don’t need it. It plays 48 melodies and introduces your child to three different languages. Ironically, this tablet is actually screen-free. Kids learn about colors, shapes, and numbers. And there’s no danger of the screen cracking.
Another tablet in name only, this one lets kids press buttons and hear sounds and music. The camera is a pretend one, and the tablet has color, number, and shape learn modes. Kids can also create their own music, which is a pretty nifty feature.
The Best Tablets for 2-Year-Olds
This kids’ tablet comes pre-loaded with more than 40 games, and has WiFi capability, allowing (older) kids to send secure text messages, photos, and voice memos to a parent-approved list of contacts. Plus it has solid passcode-protected parental controls that let you set screen time limits and add your own list of approved websites. The battery life is roughly five hours. Do note that you have to use the KidiConnect app to send the aforementioned texts, and the app can be glitchy.
For young kids who dig PBS, this tablet comes preloaded with 23 educational games and 120 video clips. You get a seven inch screen, roughly 6.5 hours of battery life, 16GB internal storage plus a microSD slot, and, of course, parental controls. You can download apps, games, movies, music and eBooks from Google Play.
Think of this tablet as a kind of virtual preschool. Its content focuses on cognitive development, early literacy, numeracy education, social skills, and emotional growth. Kids sing, dance, learn their letters and numbers, figure out shapes, hear new words, and listen to music. The tablet keeps track of curriculum milestones and makes sure the content levels up with your child.
The Best Tablets for 3-Year-Olds
The newest member of Amazon’s Fire family, this 10th generation tablet has an eight inch HD display. It comes with 32 GB of storage, expandable by up to 1 TB. The battery lasts up to 12 hours, and the CPU is an upgrade: Quad-core 2.0 GHz. It also has Dolby Atmos sound, the same as the 10 inch model. Don’t be deceived by its cutesy exterior; this is a proper Fire device, and as such, you’ll enjoy watching your own Netflix after hours, returning it to its child-friendly settings for your kiddo the next morning. Finally, with internet access, your child can connect to the company’s FreeTime Unlimited (the first year is included), which offers 20,000 popular apps and games, videos, books, Audible books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and others.
Verizon’s Gizmo tablet lets parents customize the content children can access based on their age. Parents set screen time limits. And the parent dashboard lets you see precisely what your kid is doing online. The durable bumper case keeps the tablet safe. And the tablet itself gives kids access to 300 learning apps. If you want to use this yourself, get out of Kids World and access the full adult tablet experience. It has a front camera and a back camera, plus an eight inch display and 14 hours of battery life.
The standout aspect of this Fire tablet is its battery life: Kids get up to 12 hours of reading, browsing the web, watching videos, and listening to music on one charge. The newer version of the beloved Fire Kids has a larger display, better battery life, and at 1920 x 1200, much better resolution. The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet gives your kids access to over 20,000 apps, games, books, videos, audio books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and other kid-friendly channels. Because it’s significantly heavier than its predecessor, weighing 27.4 ounces as opposed to 16.7 ounces, we think it’s better for slightly older kids.
This toddler tablet comes pre-loaded with a slew of educational apps, so it’s for parents who don’t want to worry at all about monitoring what kids see online. It has a seven inch screen, which the brand promises is shatter-proof. Parents can access a very robust content library geared specifically towards little kids. And it had adaptive technology, meaning the learning games adapt to kids’ ages and abilities to keep them engaged and motivated. There’s a kid-friendly browser that provides access to pre-selected websites, as well as a built-in stylus, and it has a battery life of roughly five hours.
With a sizable eight inch screen and 13 hours of battery life, this is another worthy option. It weighs only one pound, so it’s easy for little kids to carry around. Parents can monitor screen time and what their kids can access online.
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