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9 kid-friendly tablets for keeping tiny ones tamed

best tablets for kids

Amazon Fire HD 6 Kids Edition

It’s no surprise that kids love tablets. Most tablets are easy to use and small enough for their grubby little hands. If you want to keep those mucky fingerprints off your screen, make sure that the content they access is suitable, and snag a device that might survive a drop or two, then it’s time to consider purchasing a child-friendly tablet.

Related: The 5 best phones you can safely hand over to your kids’ grubby paws

Thankfully, there are plenty of terrific tablets for kids out there. Some are specifically made for kids, and others incorporate parental controls to ensure your child doesn’t go anywhere that they shouldn’t. But whether or not you choose our go-to kids tablet, or one of our other top contenders, the list below has everything you need to get your kid set up at a nice price.

Updated on 12-14-2015 by Simon Hill: Added Amazon Fire Kids Edition, LeapFrog Epic, Kurio Xtreme 2, Fuhu Nabi 2, and VTech Innotab Max. Removed Fire HD 6 Kids Edition, Nexus 7, and Fuhu Nabi Big Tab.

The Best

Amazon Fire Kids Edition ($90)

Amazon Fire Kids Edition

If you’re looking for a tablet that’s safe and fun for young kids, then you won’t find a better deal than the Amazon Fire Kids Edition. It comes with a chunky protective case available in either pink or blue, a 2-year replacement warranty that covers accidental damage, and a year’s subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited ($3 per month thereafter). You can set up multiple profiles, and the parental controls allow you to define exactly how much screen time your kids can have and what they can and can’t get up to. FreeTime Unlimited also offers access to thousands of books, movies, TV shows, apps, and games that are suitable for your children. The screen resolution isn’t great, but for the money, this is the best kid’s tablet around.

Screen size 7 inches
OS Fire OS 5
Resolution  1024 x 600 pixels
Memory 1.3GHz processor, 1GB RAM
Storage 8GB (up to 128GB with MicroSD card)

Available from:

Amazon Best Buy

The Rest

LeapFrog Epic ($112)

LeapFrog Epic

The strength of the LeapFrog brand has been in creating educational software that’s tailored for different developmental ages, but still a lot of fun for kids. The company usually limits devices to its own platform, but this is an Android tablet (and better for it). The Epic is aimed at children between ages 3 and 9, and you get a tailored experience with apps and content to match your child’s age. It even features a built-in stylus, a protective bumper, and excellent parental controls.

Display 7 inches
OS  Android 4.4
Resolution 1024 x 600 pixels
Memory   1.3GHz processor, 1GB RAM
Storage 16GB

Available from:

Amazon Walmart Target

iPad Mini 3($310)

iPad Mini 3
The iPad Mini will give your kid the chance to take advantage of Apple’s iOS operating system with its rich choice of educational apps and fun games. It has a gorgeous display, and there’s also access to Apple’s Family Sharing, which means this device may just be the best budget tablet for an entire family. There are solid parental controls, which allow you to restrict access to specific apps and features, but it will take a little more effort on your part to make it child-safe, and you’ll want to buy a case to go with it.

Display 7.9 inches
OS iOS 8
Resolution 2048 x 1536 pixels
Memory A7 Processor, 1GB RAM
Storage 16GB

Available from:

Amazon

VTech Innotab Max ($100)

VTech Innotab Max
This tablet has a smart carry case outfitted with a handle, one that doubles as a stand. It runs Android under the VTech skin,and comes with a handful apps out of the box, however, it’s also locked into VTech’s store if you want to buy more apps. If you have any InnoTab cartridges for older devices, you’ll also be glad to know it’s backwards compatible, so you can use them with this. It’s good for tailored educational content for ages 3 to 9, but we slightly prefer LeapFrog’s software.

Display  7 inches
OS Android
Resolution 1024 x 600 pixels
Memory 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM
Storage  8GB (up to 32GB with MicroSD card)

Available from:

Amazon Toys R Us

Kurio Xtreme 2 ($90)

Kurio Xtreme 2
You get a good selection of apps and games pre-installed on this tablet, including some fun motion-based games that sense your movements. The tablet also touts a protective bumper and a handy flap that acts as a kickstand for propping it up in landscape view. The interface isn’t great, but it’s good to see Android 5 lurking beneath the surface. The parental controls are quite good, and parents can easily access the Play Store if they want to snag more apps and games.

Display 7 inches
OS  Android 5
Resolution 1024 x 600 pixels
Memory 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM
Storage 16GB

Available from:

Amazon Target Jet

Galaxy Tab 3 Lite Kids Edition ($80)

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite Kids Edition
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite Kids Edition is clearly a tablet for children. It runs Android 4.2 out of the box, and has been designed exclusively for the spitters and diaper fillers, and not … well, you. The child-proof tablet has an enhanced, rugged frame designed to survive when your kids decide to use the tablet as a basketball or hammer. It comes pre-loaded with a good amount of kids apps covering education, games, and books.

Display  7 inches
OS Android 4.2
Resolution 1024 x 600 pixels
Memory 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM
Storage  8GB

Available from:

Amazon

Fuhu Nabi 2S ($128)

Fuhu Nabi 2
This tablet is aimed at kids between ages 6 and 9, and it comes packed with a wealth of gamified learning software to help your kids develop their math, reading, and writing skills. There’s a decent set of parental controls, and once the kids are in bed, parents can use it like any other Android tablet if they want to. There are some interesting additional features, too, such as the chore list and the social network with parental oversight. The 2S is a big improvement over the Nabi 2, so make sure you have the right model if you’re shopping for this one.

Display 7 inches
OS  Android 4.4
Resolution 1280 x 800 pixels
Memory 1.3GHz processor, 1GB RAM
Storage 16GB

Available from:

Amazon

Amazon Fire HD 6 ($80)

Amazon Fire HD 6

There’s a lot to love in the Amazon Fire HD 6. It’s a good choice for older kids, who want something without a garish design, and the subscription-based Free Time, at $3 per month, can give it the look and feel of a kids-first tablet, but with fewer restrictions and for less money than Amazon’s Fire HD 6 Kids Edition, which will set you back an extra $50. Unlike some kid-specific tablets, the Fire HD 6 can also double as your backup tablet thanks to its respectable mid-range specifications. The 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution looks good when streaming Netflix.

Screen size 6 inches
OS Fire OS 4
Resolution  1280 x 800 pixels
Memory 1GB RAM
Storage 8GB

Available from:

Amazon

LeapPad Ultra XDI ($84)

LeapPad Ultra XDi
LeapFrog is often the choice for educators and parents alike, and that’s largely because of the educational software. This tablet has features that mirror “grown-up” tablets, but with plenty of parental controls. Kids should enjoy this 7-inch tablet, and the price has now dropped enough to make it worthy competition for any parent considering one of the Amazon tablets, especially if they want something more locked down. It has beefy bumpers and a durable screen that’ll fire up even after your kid drops it down the stairs.

Display 7 inches
OS  Leapfrog closed system
Resolution 1024 x 600 pixels
Memory   800MHz processor
Storage 8GB

Available from:

Amazon

This article was originally published on January 23, 2015.