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Best tablet for kids 2021: the top picks for children

Best tablet for kids
(Image credit: Future)

Seeking out the best kids tablet isn't a matter of buying the best tablet available. A dedicated kids tablet from Amazon or Samsung is generally a far better option for the little ones than a fully-fledged iPad Pro as tempting as it may seem.

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 and not require the high-end performance you might need for work applications or video calls

These tablets are still great for playing games, watching films, reading books or listening to music – all for a fraction of the price of a modern smartphone. They're sure to keep your kids occupied for long journeys (or long periods stuck indoors) too.

Many tablets aimed at kids also come with custom software which have parental controls activated by default, making it easier for you to monitor what they're installing and looking at.

Before you dive into purchasing a tablet, it's worth thinking about what your child is most likely to use their device for. If they're a total bookworm 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.

Alternatively, if they love games above all else then a dedicated console like the Switch Lite or even the New Nintendo 2DS XL (if you can still find one) might be more suitable. If you're convinced a tablet is the solution, read on as we break down the best tablet for kids. 

Best tablet for kids

(Image credit: Future)

1. Amazon Fire 7

Amazon's cheapest tablet is a winner for kids

Specifications
Weight: 286g
Dimensions: 192 x 115 x 9.6mm
OS: Fire OS
Screen size: 7-inch
Resolution: 1,024 x 600
CPU: 1.3GHz Quad-core
Storage: 16GB/32GB
Battery: up to 7 hours
Rear camera: 2MP
Front camera: VGA
Reasons to buy
+Amazing value+Great selection of content 
Reasons to avoid
-Underpowered tech-Disappointing stamina

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. 

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

A small screen slate built specifically for children

Specifications
Weight: 550g
Dimensions: 233 x 184 x 26mm
OS: Fire OS
Screen size: 8-inch
Resolution: 1280 x 800
CPU: quad-core
Storage: 32GB
Battery: up to 12 hours
Rear camera: 2MP
Front camera: 2MP
Reasons to buy
+Durable+Comes with loads of content
Reasons to avoid
-Pricier than standard Fire tablets-Chunky

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.

iPad 10.2 (2019)

(Image credit: Apple)

3. iPad 10.2 (2019)

Expensive for kids, but a fantastic choice

Specifications
Weight: 483g
Dimensions: 251 x 174 x 7.5mm
OS: iPadOS
Screen size: 10.2-inch
Resolution: 1620 x 2160 pixels
CPU: A10 Fusion
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 32/128GB
microSD slot: No
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Rear camera: 8MP
Front camera: 1.2MP
Reasons to buy
+Bigger screen than previous models+iPadOS has lots of apps
Reasons to avoid
-Older iPads are cheaper-You may need a case

The iPad 10.2 is the cheapest tablet in Apple's range, and it may be a great choice for your kids. iPadOS is full of fantastic tools, apps and games for your children, and this is one of the cheapest options.

If you're worried about it getting damaged, you may want to buy a case for the iPad 10.2 as well. This isn't going to the be the most durable option you'll find on this list.

We've also opted for the older 2019 edition, instead of the latest iPad 10.2 that was released in 2020. That is still a great option for kids if you're looking for a even faster tablet, but this 2019 edition isn't that different and won't cost as much as the 2020 version.

Best tablet for kids

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung Galaxy Tab A8

A grown-up tablet that is still suitable for kids

Specifications
Weight: 345g
Dimensions: 210 x 124.4 x 8mm
OS: Android
Screen size: 8-inch
Resolution: 800 x 1280
CPU: quad-core
Storage: 32GB
Battery: N/A
Rear camera: 8MP
Front camera: 2MP
Reasons to buy
+Great design+Decent specs for the price
Reasons to avoid
-Still not quite cutting-edge-No protection

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. 

Best tablet for kids

(Image credit: Future)

5. Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition

A large, pin-sharp screen and bumper protection

Specifications
Weight: 778g
Dimensions: 292 x 206 x 26mm
OS: Fire OS
Screen size: 10.1-inch
Resolution: 1920 x 1200
CPU: octa-core
Storage: 32GB/64GB
Battery: up to 12 hours
Rear camera: 2MP
Front camera: 2MP
Reasons to buy
+Amazing screen+Comes with Fire For Kids Unlimited
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Quite bulky

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.

Best tablet for kids

(Image credit: Kurio)

6. Kurio Tab Advance

This mid-range marvel hits the right balance

Specifications
Weight: 318g
Dimensions: 189 x 108 x 10mm
OS: Android 6
Screen size: 7-inch
Resolution: N/A
CPU: quad-core
Storage: 16GB
Battery: N/A
Rear camera: 2MP
Front camera: 0.3MP
Reasons to buy
+Google Play Store onboard+Can withstand plenty of knocks
Reasons to avoid
-Screen could be better-Camera is disappointing

Kurio's speciality in making tech for younger users so you'd expect the company to have a fairly assured grasp of what's required from such a device. 

The Kurio Tab Advance has a protective bumper to prevent damage from accidental drops and a host of detailed controls which mean you have peace of mind at all times; the web filter, for example, automatically blocks inappropriate content. 

However, this is still a pretty capable Android-based tablet which can access the Google Play Store so, as your child grows, they can download content which evolves at the same rate as their minds. 

On the downside, the screen is a bit of a letdown and, like many tablets aimed at kiddies, the processor is quite weak compared to what's available elsewhere. The camera is also something of a disappointment, but it gets the job done regardless. 

Best tablet for kids

(Image credit: LeapFrog)

7. LeapFrog Epic

A child-friendly tablet with software that grows as your child does

Specifications
Weight: N/A
Dimensions: N/A
OS: Android 4.4
Screen size: 7-inch
Resolution: 1024 x 600
CPU: quad-core
Storage: 16GB
Battery: Over 5 hours
Rear camera: 2MP
Front camera: 2MP
Reasons to buy
+Clever "growing" software+Rugged design
Reasons to avoid
-Poor screen-Weak processor

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. 

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