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Best Tablet For Kids – 2013 List

Tablets for Kids

When trying to select the best tablet for kids, it is important to distinguish between young kids and older kids.  For most kids 6 and older, the best tablet is going to be a full featured Apple or Android tablet.  The full featured tablets start as cheap as $159 $139 for the Kindle Fire HD from Amazon and go up to $500+ for the iPad.

NOTE:  Amazon recently announced a new line of higher end Kindle fire tablets (Kindle Fire HDX)  that are available starting at $229.  These tablets are equal to or better than the iPad Mini at a significant discount. With this announcement they have also lowered the cost of the Kindle Fire HD tablet to an amazingly low price of $139.  Not long ago this tablet was retailing for $199.  They have also discontinued the original Kindle Fire.

For the younger kids (5 and younger) the 2 best tablets are the LeapFrog LeapPad2 tablet and the Vtech Innotab.  These are primarily learning tablets and do not have access to the Apple and Android app stores.  You can see the detailed reviews of those tablets below.

Here are the things that a full featured tablet can do that the learning tablets generally cannot do:

  • Download popular games like: Angry Birds SpaceWhere’s My Perry?Fibble, Where’s My Water, and Skylanders Cloud Patrol.
  • Download books and magazines from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and more.
  • Access to movies on Amazon, Netflix, HBO and more.
  • Stream TV shows from Hulu, Netfix, Amazon and more.
  • Download their favorite songs from all the top music stores like iTunes and Amazon.
  • Access to the internet

Some of the full featured tablets, especially the Kindle Fire, have a growing number of parental controls.

Best Tablets for Young Kids – age 5 and under.



As mentioned above, these are not full featured tablets, they are cheaper devices designed primarily for educational purposes.

LeapFrog LeapPad2 – $99

The LeapPad suite of tablets now has 3 different tablets with different features that are targeted to different ages.  The LeapPad2, the LeapPad Power, and the LeapPad Ultra.

LeapPad2

 

LeapPad2-Power

 

LeapPad2-Ultra

If you are looking for a tablet for your kids that places and emphasis on learning, the LeapPad2 is clearly one of the best tablets for kids, especially younger kids.  It places a focus on using the tablet form to help kids learn.  The LeapPad 2 comes pre-loaded with a few apps, and you get to download one free app the first time you connect to the App Center. The LeapPad 2 is compatible with the full library of LeapPad and LeapFrog Explorer games and digital apps (over 325 games, apps, videos and more). One of the primary drawbacks of the LeapPad 2 is that it’s not an MP3 player and it doesn’t allow you to add your own videos on the device, either. You can’t add content you already own from other locations to the LeapPad2, you can only add what you buy from the App Center or purchase at retail.  The manufacturer claims the age range at 3-9, but we’d recommend 3-5 or 6.

What people like about the LeapPad 2 tablet

  • Lots of educational and age appropriate apps
  • Kids like the 2 cameras (front and back)
  • It is more durable than a traditional tablet like the iPad
  • Younger kids love it

What people don’t like about the LeapPad 2 tablet

  • Not rechargeable, so it uses lots of batteries.  Buy rechargeable batteries – it does not come with batteries.  Or you can buy the LeapPad power or LeapPad Ultra.
  • The apps are expensive – $10 – $30.
  • It is slow when booting up
  • It can be difficult to set up and can take 1-2 hours.

Vtech InnoTab 3 Learning Tablet – Starting at $59.99

Vtech has released a new line of the popular Innotab children’s tablets – the Innotab 3 and the Innotab 3S.

The most notable feature for many parents will be the recharger pack that is included with the InnoTab 3S.  Other notable enhancements include a kid safe browser on the 3S and expanded storage.

Innotab3  Innotab3s

The InnoTab tablet line is a multi-functional tablet for children ages 3 – 9 (that’s what they claim, but as we have noticed, the sweet spot is really ages 3-5).  The InnoTab 2 includes a photo/video camera, a 5-inch touch screen, 2 GB of onboard memory, an SD card slot for expandable memory, and media players for MP3s, photos, and videos. The InnoTab comes with an art studio, coloring app, one e-book, two motion sensor games, and 2 free downloads from the Learning Lodge Navigator. Additional songs, games, e-books, and videos are available for purchase online on VTech’s Learning Lodge Navigator.

What People Like about the InnoTab Tablets

  • Durable – it is built for kids
  • The camera and video work well
  • Can use cartrages and download apps
  • It is great for younger kids
  • It has expandable memory to store music and video
  • Good educational tool

What people don’t like about the InnoTab tablets

  • It uses up batteries very quickly – you will definitely want rechargeable batteries (The new Innotab 3S has a charger)
  • It is slow when starting and moving from app to app
  • If your kids are used to using your phone or tablet they may be disappointed with this tablet
  • The touch screen does not always respond as you would expect
  • Setup and installation can be tricky

Best Full-Featured Tablet For Kids



If your primary goal is to buy a tablet to help young kids learn, you should consider the LeapPad and the InnoTab, otherwise there’s almost no reason not to buy one of the several Kindle Fire tablets.

The Kindle Fire tablet line starts as cheap as $139 for the 7″ entry level Kindle Fire HD and goes up to $229 for a 9″ Kindle Fire HD.  You can even buy the 9″ Kindle Fire with wireless access included through ATT for $399.

Here’s an easy chart to compare all the Kindles.

Kindle Fires

all kindles

Amazon knows that LOTS of parents have purchased Kindle Fires and they are continuing to expand the parental controls and kid friendly features and apps.

If you are already a frequent Amazon user and Amazon Prime member, there’s almost no reason to go with any other tablet.

iPad and iPad Mini

ipad and ipad mini

The iPad – $499 and  iPad Mini – $329 are the most expensive and least durable tablets you can buy for your kids, but there are are couple of compelling reasons you may want to pay the extra price.

First, if every device you own is Apple, there will be very little learning curve with the iPad and iPad mini. Second, the Apple app store is second to none.  They have more high quality apps targeted to kids than any other app store.  The others (Amazon and Google) are catching up, but the Apple app store is still number one.

If budget is no object, you can also protect your investment by buying a protective cover for your tablet- which I would highly recommend.

Google Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

I have put these two tablets together because they represent the best pure Android tablets.  The Kindle Fire tablets are based on the Android software, but they do not give you complete access to the Google Play store.  If you want an Android tablet for your kid that doesn’t restrict you to the Amazon app store, these are the two I would recommend.  They don’t really have any features that are targeted to kids, so these are probably best for older kids that you can trust.  The Galaxy Tab 2 is available in 7″ and 10″ model.

You can get the Google Nexus 7 with 32GB of storage for only $149 on Groupon right now.

Other Tablets For Kids

There are several other tablets for kids on the market.  We do not recommend any of these, but we wanted to list them so you know we did not overlook them.  The pros of these tablets simply don’t outweigh the cons and there’s almost no reason to buy one of these instead of one of the tablets recommended above.

Nabi 2 – $199 - Android tablet designed for kids.

Kurio 7 – $149 - An Android based tablet with some kid features included.

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Cell Phones for Kids 2013

kids with cell phones

The cell phone needs of a kid are often different than the needs of their parents.  Because of this, there are many cell phones and cell phone companies whose products are designed for kids.

So why would you want a cell phone that is designed for kids?  There are many reasons.

  1. Limit the time your kid is on the phone
  2. Use the GPS in the phone to find our where you kid is
  3. Block unwanted calls and callers
  4. Prevent access to unsafe websites
  5. Tools to prevent them from texting and driving


Emergency Cell Phone for Kids

The most basic cell phone for kids is the emergency cell phone.  These are extremely limited in capability and serve the 2 most important qualities in an emergency cell phone for kids – Easy to use and instant access to help at the touch of a button – plus GPS so parents can locate their child.

5Star Responder

5star-responder

The 5Star Responder emergency cell phone for kids has just one button that connects your child to a certified response agent who will determine your child’s location by GPS and confence in you and emergency services.

Phones for Younger Kids

If your kids are younger and you are looking for a phone with limited capabilities there are many companies that have phones for younger kids.  These phones can also be used for older kids if you want to greatly reduce what your child can do with their phone.

Kajeet Phones

Kajeet cell phones for kids

Kajeet is “the smart phone for kids”.  These phones are known for their parental controls. Parents can set spending and time limits and control a child’s address book by blocking certain numbers and can find their kids using the phone’s GPS locator.  Parents can set up and monitor kids activity through the Kajeet website.

Basic phones have texting capabilities. More expensive phones offer a camera function, a video and music player, access to an apps market, and more. Phone prices range from $24.99 to $299.99 and service plans start at $4.99 per month.  Kajeet offers a prepaid, pay as you go service plan and you can even bring an existing Sprint phone to their network.

Firefly Phones (ATT, T-Mobile and more)

 firefly glowphone  firefly nokia 100

 

Firefly builds phones especially designed for kids.  These phones are a low flat fee and can be added to a carrier plan for any phone carrier that offers a SIM card like ATT and T-Mobile (Verizon does not).  These are really just simple feature phones without much to them.  The reviews on Amazon for previous models are pretty brutal.  There’s very little on the Firefly mobile website that helps you understand what you are getting for your money.

LG Migo Verizon VX1000 (Verizon)

LG Migo Verizon VX1000

Features of the LG Migo include: 4 parent programmable numbers, a dedicated emergency key and it includes a battery and wall charger.

You must be currently a Verizon customer so you can add this as an addditional line.  I recommend reading the latest Amazon reviews on this phone for tips on activation and other quirks.

Just5 Phone

Just 5 phone

This phone is actually targeted to seniors, but also works well as a starter phone for kids. The  Just5 cell phone for kids has big buttons, a large keypad, and a bright monochrome screen, making it a great phone for anyone seeking an easy to use phone.

 

Phones for Older Kids

If your kids are older, you will probably want a full featured phone, but want to restrict the things your kids can do with it.  Most of the major carries have services that can restrict the things your kids can do with their phone and also provide monitoring services.  Maybe you trust your older kids, but you just want to control costs.  There are many options available.

Straight Talk Wireless phones - Straight talk doesn’t necessarily target kids, but if you are simply looking to control costs, they have some of the most price friendly plans available.  Everything is pay as you go with no contracts and they have a variety of phones from basic phones up to the iPhone.  They will also occasionally offer a coupon to save you even more.

T-mobile phones for kids - T-mobile also has a wide selection of phones for kids as well as many parental control features.  T-mobile is also one of the more affordable major carriers and has recently gone to an all pre-paid pricing model.

Verizon phones for kids – Verizon doesn’t have a lot of phones targeted directly to kids other than the LG Migo we mentioned above and they also don’t have a section on their site for kids phones and services.  However they recently announce a program that is coming soon called FamilyBase that will allow parents to monitor the activity on their kids’ phones.  Verizon also offers prepaid plans if you want to control costs.

Sprint phones for kids – Sprint has a wide selection of phones and plans for kids and families.  Here is their kids and family overview page.



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Animation and Games

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Art and Drawing

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Craft Sites

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Mathematics Sites

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Printable Sheets

Below is a listing of sites with printable sheets for kids.  If there are sites with printable sheets that we are missing please let us know in the comments below.

 

Bing Note:

Coloring sheets that promote self esteem and kindness.

 abc teach:

 5,000+ free printables to choose from: word search, coloring sheets, craft ideas, crossword puzzles and more.

Peas-and-Bananas

Free coloring book : outdoors with Lil Boo

Kiboomu

Educational printouts, craft ideas, games, etc.

Kidopo

Free coloring sheets: animals, transportation, food, characters, toys, holidays, birthdays, sports, circus, nature and more!

Pre-K Pages:

Printouts: Literacy, math, teaching resources and teaching tips.

Enchanted Learning:

Over 25,000 pages: printables, craft ideas, literacy, reading, holiday ideas and more (many are free).

Twooth Timer:

Free printouts that teach about healthy dental care.

Mrs. P: 

Free coloring sheets, bookmark activities and more.

Freckles Crafts:

A variety of printouts featuring Freckles the Frog.

Today I Ate a Rainbow:

Coloring sheets, mazes, “name that fruit” and more.

Human Body Detectives:

Coloring sheets, calendars and other printables.

Regionz Kidz (culturally diverse):

Custom designed coloring sheets that highlight various cultures.

Mazes to Print:

Easy, medium, hard, mega, word mazes and make-your-own.

FunSchool:

Coloring sheets, word search, puzzles, holiday sheets and more.

Dinner Garden:

Word searches and coloring sheets related to gardending and eating healthy.

Kaboose.com:

Birthday, seasonal, sports, environmental, pirates, wizards and animals.

Kids Scoop:

How to fold an origami dog and more.

Weboo World:

Choose from a selection of 4 custom-created coloring sheets: castle, dragon, dolphin or princess

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Social Networking

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Teachers and Home Schoolers

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Video Sites

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