The 5 Best Tablets for Kids of 2021

Selecting the right screen for your child

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet at Amazon

"This high-speed tablet has 12 hour charging power, a kid-proof case for the kids, and easy-to-use parental controls for mom and dad."

Best for Toddlers: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Tablet at Amazon

"With three levels of play, this device is much more of a toy than a tablet, which at a toddler’s age is appropriate."

Best for Middle School: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 Inch at Amazon

"Fully loaded with Microsoft Office, this tablet is ready for all the school work your middle schooler will bring home."

Best for High School: iPad Air 10.5 Inch at Amazon

"This advanced tablet is compatible with Apple's full-sized keyboard and can easily turn into a full-service laptop for your high schooler."

Best Tablet for Reading: Kindle Kids Edition at Amazon

"With no distractions from internet, games, or apps, nothing beats the Kindle Kids Edition for the kid who's a bookworm or is learning how to read."

There’s lots to consider if you choose to purchase a tablet for your child. With educational and entertainment benefits, a tablet can be a helpful gadget for child development, if used in moderation.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, children younger than 18 months should avoid screen time. Toddlers from 18 to 24 months can start to enjoy some screen time with an adult. Children aged 2 to 5 should be limited to one hour of high-quality screen time a day, which includes computers, tablets, television, and gaming devices. Kids over 6 are recommended to have “consistent limits” on screen time. The AAP also recommends establishing screen-free zones, like the car or the dinner table, which should apply to all members of the family.

If you choose to allow your child to use screens, keep track of their sleep, school work, physical activity, and any other behaviors essential to their health and reign in or eliminate screen time if you feel these areas are suffering. 

Best Overall: Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet

What We Like
  • Long Battery Life

  • Parental Controls

  • Kid-Proof Case

What We Don't Like
  • Limited App Options

  • Pricey

Amazon’s Fire HD 10 is the largest and fastest tablet from Amazon yet. The 10.1 inch tablet has charging power that lasts for 12 hours and its kid-proof case, built-in stand, built-in camera, and two-year guarantee make it pretty indestructible for little hands.

With this tablet comes a subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited which includes over 20,000 books, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, apps, and games that are all geared towards kids 3 to 12. For mom and dad, the easy-to-use parental controls manage up to four accounts and can limit access to the camera, web browsing, or any other tablet function. 

This tablet is a great option for most families. Although it costs less than an iPad, it's still pricey, so for younger kids, older model Amazon Fires may be a more budget-friendly choice. One complaint is that this tablet can only be purchased through Amazon, so Google Play and Android apps are not available. 

Dimensions: 11.5 x 8.1 x 1.0 inches | Wi-Fi Capability: Yes | Battery Life: 12 Hours | Age Recommendation: 3 to 12 years old

Best for Toddlers: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tablet

fisher-price-laugh-learn-smart-stages-tablet
Courtesy of Target.
What We Like
  • Budget-Friendly

  • Toddler-Friendly

What We Don't Like
  • No Headphone Jack

  • Runs On Batteries

If you are considering a tablet for your toddler, you’ll want one that’s not expensive, is easy to use, relatively indestructible, and age-appropriate. Leave it to the experts at Fisher-Price to come up with a very affordable toddler tablet that checks all these boxes.

With its “Smart Stage” technology, this tablet offers three levels of play. As your toddler grows, the capabilities scale up. Move from sounds and songs to identifying letters and objects, to role play and imaginative games.

This is much more of a toy than a tablet, which at a toddler’s age is appropriate given that they shouldn't be exceeding one hour of screentime per day. It doesn’t connect to the internet or have any apps. While the 11 x 8-inch plastic device is virtually indestructible, it may have some drawbacks, especially if you plan to use it in the car or on a plane.

This gadget can’t be charged; it runs on three AAA batteries. There is no headphone jack, so that may be a deal-breaker for any frequent fliers, but it does have two volume settings. For those toddlers that are tech-obsessed and constantly stealing mom or dad’s phone or tablet, this could be a good alternative. Given the price, it’s a useful toy, but don’t expect it to grow with your child into elementary age. 

Dimensions: 7.48 x 0.98 x 5.32 inches | Wi-Fi Capability: No | Battery Life: AAA Batteries | Age Recommendation: 12 months to 3 years old

Good To Know

Avoid letting your child use screens around bedtime. The light emitted from screens interferes with the sleep cycle and can lead to insomnia.

Best for Middle School: Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 Inch

What We Like
  • Budget-Friendly

  • Parental Controls

What We Don't Like
  • MicroSD Card Sold Separately Unless Bundled

  • Slower Processor

Tweens have some unique tablet needs. They likely want to play, read, watch, and listen on the go. For this crowd, parents need a budget-friendly option that still has parental controls. The Samsung Galaxy Tab A fits everyone’s needs. It has a lot of horsepower, a medium price range, and the kids mode provides parents with peace of mind.

You can add Microsoft Office to be ready for all the school work your middle schooler will bring home. The 8-inch screen is plenty big for movies, games, and reading. Many reviewers feel it's a great tablet for the price. 

Dimensions: 0.31 x 4.9 x 8.27 inches | Wi-Fi Capability: Yes | Battery Life: 13 Hours | Age Recommendation: Not Listed

Best for High School: iPad Air 10.5 Inch

apple-ipad-air
Courtesy of Apple.
What We Like
  • Liquid Retina Display

  • Top-Notch Camera

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive Investment

High school students want to do it all: play games, video chat with friends, type up homework, take photos, write, draw, sketch, and stay organized. The iPad Air can do all of those things and more.

This advanced tablet is compatible with Apple's full-sized keyboard, which connects without pairing or charging. The feature essentially allows it to morph into a laptop, so it’s useful for all that high school homework.

The display is 10.5 inches and the iPad comes in three metallic colors. Wow your high schooler with the HD camera and video features. While this iPad is a major investment, it can work as an all-in-one tool for your high school student, and may just get used by the rest of the family too.

Dimensions: 9.74 x 7 x 0.24 inches | Wi-Fi Capability: Yes | Battery Life: 10 Hours | Age Recommendation: Not Listed

Best Tablet for Reading: Kindle Kids Edition

What We Like
  • Access to Audible

  • Aimed at Reading

  • Battery Life

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of Issues with Parental Controls

  • Only for Reading

If your kid is an avid reader, they'll love the new Kindle Kids Editon. With no distraction from the internet, games, or any apps, this is the ultimate reading tablet.

With this model, Amazon has made some helpful upgrades while keeping the Kindle at a budget-friendly price. Your purchase will include one year of FreeTime Unlimited, allowing your bookworm to access thousands of books, including the full Harry Potter series.

This thinnest, lightest version has adjustable backlighting for indoor or outdoor reading, day and night. Since the battery isn’t powering tons of apps, it lasts for weeks, not days or hours.

If audiobooks are your kid's thing, the Kindle Kids Edition also includes access to Audible (with a membership), so they can switch between reading and listening via speakers or headphones. If your kid can't get enough of books or you want to encourage more reading in your family, there’s really no match for this tablet.

Dimensions: 6.4 x 4.7 x 0.5 inches | Wi-Fi Capability: Yes | Battery Life: 4 Weeks | Age Recommendation: Age 7 and Up

What Our Editors Say

"My 8-year-old is a reluctant reader and it takes some pushing to get him to practice. The parental controls and tracking features allow me to monitor his progress, set goals, and reward him when he reaches those goals. Also, the easy word lookup feature help him expand his vocabulary and strengthen his comprehension skills as he reads." - Latifah Miles, Parenting Commerce Editor

Final Verdict

If you’re in the market for a younger child, check out the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Tablet (view at Amazon). Move from sounds and songs to identifying letters and objects, to role play and imaginative games.

There’s also the iPad Air (view at Amazon) which, while expensive, is worth the money in the long run if you have an older child. This advanced tablet is compatible with Apple's full-sized keyboard, which connects without pairing or charging, basically morphing it into a laptop.

What To Look For in Tablets for Kids

Durability

Most kids are rough on stuff so look for a tablet that’s built to take spills, drops, bumps, and all the other craziness kids can dish out on electronic devices. Also, consider what kind of warranty a tablet offers. Some come with years of protection, including a free replacement, in case the tablet can’t keep up with your kid. Moreover, a tablet that comes with a tumble-resistant case is ideal and can save you a few dollars as well.

Parental Controls

You want to control what your kid does and sees online, but also keep in mind your skill level when it comes to manipulating parental controls. Some tablets have built-in controls or offer simple ways for parents to select just what their kids can access while other devices require some digging to figure out how to restrict certain content. Consider both the age of your kids and your own technological knowledge when choosing one.

Age-Recommendation

Consider the age and skill level of your child. While some tablets are designed specifically for an age range, such as toddlers or preschoolers, you’ll likely get the most bang for your buck with tablets that offer more capabilities and can grow with children as their interests and knowledge grow. However, when you are choosing a tablet that has a more open-ended age recommendation like an iPad, keep in mind that your child will likely have more internet access and the ability to download a variety of apps. In that case, setting parental controls and adjusting them as they get older would be ideal.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She's a mom of a 9-year-old son, 6-year-old son, and 2-year old daughter. She was gifted a Kindle when her first son was born and has never looked back. The joy of reading one-handed in a dark room has forever changed her life. Her kids sneer at her app-free Kindle and prefer the lights, sounds, and games of an iPad. To each their own. 

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Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics announces new recommendations for children’s media use. Updated October 21, 2016.

  2. LeBourgeois MK, Hale L, Chang AM, Akacem LD, Montgomery-Downs HE, Buxton OM. Digital media and sleep in childhood and adolescence. Pediatrics. 2017;140(Suppl 2):S92–S96. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1758J