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My 4 year old loves playing games and watching movies on my IPAD. It makes me nervous that we spent that kind of money for a preschooler to be carrying it around like its a babydoll. This year I decided we need to get her own tablet so I’m not a worry wart.
I did some research on the top tablets for kids with a few things in mind.
#1 Parental Settings. I dont want my 4 year old to be able to type in some letters and be able to surf the web without knowing what she is even looking at.
#2 Educational Games. She loves the games on my IPAD. I decided I was going to download the apps that are not only fun for her but also educational at the same time. She now has books from abcmouse.com where they read to her, and alphabet songs where they show the uppercase and lowercase letter while singing about it.
#3 Duarability. No pessimism allowed. If she drops it or decides to carry it in her Doc Mcstuffins backpack with all of her dolls and books, I want to know for sure that the screen will not crack.
#4 The ability to watch movies/Tv Shows. The most popular thing she likes to do is watch her favorite shows from the Nick Jr App. It has to have the capability to watch shows and movies. We are flying to Florida after Christmas this year and I want her to be able to stay entertained while I tend to my 18 month old.
My research was not only on the top tablets for kids but also what the parents thought about the tablets with costs.
#5 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids
has a 8″ screen. It also offers Wi-Fi with a Android operating system. It is lightweight weighing only 10.88 oz. You can use the battery for up to 11 hours. Now lets see if it covers all 4 of the checklist. #1 Parental Settings: The Galaxy 3 has a Kids Mode for parental controls over content and internet access. #2 Education: engadgets writer Brian Heater comments on the Galaxy 3 Tab that it has “a slew of educational apps, games, e-books, and the like”. Apps such as “Learn ABC’s and 123’s”. #3 Durability: “It has a rugged frame for clumsy little hands”, says Heater. #4 TV & Movies Capability: Hulu Plus, a website and subscription service offering on demand streaming video of TV shows and movies, is offered free for the first 3 months. After the promotion it is $7.99 per month. Wi-fi access is offered through Boingo for the first year for free. After the promotion they charge $9.95 per month. You can preorder on November 1st or purchase in stores November 10th for $229.99.
#4 Vtech Innotab 3 S
has a 5″ LCD screen and comes with Vtech Kid Connect Basic wi-fi for 1 year. I was unable to see how much it would be after the promotional period was over. The Innotab 3s also comes with a rechargeable battery pack with AC adapter for up to 9 hours of battery life. You can exchange texts and drawings between another Innotab 3s and smart phones. #1 Parental Settings: Password protected parental control lets parents approve additional websites from what Vtech already allows. Parents can set a daily usage limit and view history of websites. #2 Educational: Not only does the Innotab 3s come with 20 apps, you can also purchase cartridge games which sell for around $25 per game. There is also a “Make a Wish list” where kids can explore hundreds of games, e-books, and videos and send their favorites to their parents email. #4 TV/Movies: The web browser allows the Nick Jr website, which has tv shows available. You can download movies to a 2GB-16GB micro SD card which can be purchased for the Innotab for around $12 on amazon. The Innotab 3s is sold for $99.
#3 Kindle Fire HD
has a 7″ screen with built in wi-fi. It weighs just 12.2 ounces and has up to 10 hours of battery life. #1 Parental Settings. The Kindle FreeTime is now on every new Kindle Fire and allows parents to create a profile for each one of their kids. It allows them to set what videos, apps, games and even sets a daily limit. #2 Education: The Kindle first started out as a reading device, so of course you have options for e-books. For just $4.99 per month enjoy unlimited access from Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, PBS and more. #3 Durable: 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic. #4 TV/Movies: As stated above you can purchase FreeTime at $5 per month and have unlimited access to movies and TV shows for kids ages 3-8. The Kindle Fire HD is available on amazon for $139.
#2 IPAD Mini
has a 7.9″ display with wi-fi and weighs 11.68 ounces with up to 10 hours of battery life. It has the same operating system as my IPAD but is just a little smaller so my preschooler would know how to work it instantly. #1 Parental Settings: You can restrict access to Safari, FaceTime, itunes store, installing and deleting apps by clicking on Settings-General-Restrictions-Enable Restrictions. You can prevent access to specific content type as well. #2 Educational games: You have access to the app store with over 475,000 apps available. #3 Duarable: By itself it will probably have the same issues I am having now with durability but there are multiple cases you can purchase through amazon for around $20. They have KidBox Protective Covers with a Stand and Handle. #4 TV/Movies: There is the app store as well as the itune store with many shows to choose from. The down fall with the IPAD mini would be the price of $299, which is a little more then I wanted to spend.
#1 Nabi Jr
has a 5″ display screen with wi-fi, Android operating system and 16GB for memory. It weighs 12.8 ounces. The reviews were not great for the battery life with only 4 hours and 42 minutes of battery with continuous web surfing over wi-fi, as reviewed by LAPTOP Battery Test. #1 Parental Settings for the Nabi Jr sounded above par for me where you can handpick the apps you want your child to access. You can also keep track of your child’s household responsibilites with the Chore List app. #2 Education: The Nabi Jr comes with more than 30 apps and games from puzzles to teaching how to count. #3 Durable: This tablet is made for kids with a soft reddish rubber bumper to protect the tablet from being thrown around the room. #4 TV/Movies: It comes preloaded with Spinlets+ TV which offers full episodes of childrens shows for $2.99 per month. The price of the Nabi Jr Tablet at walmart.com was $139.99.
After researching all the tablets I found out that the Innotab was the most economical choice at $99. If you are looking for the best battery life I would go with the Galaxy at 11 hours of battery. The thing I realized with all of these tablets is even though most of them come with preloaded games/apps, most of the tablets required a fee per month for the services I wanted. At the end of the day the Nabi will most likely be the one I purchase and not just because of the commercial with the song, “Good Morning Red Bird”.
Title Image created by Lindsey Clair