Updated: Sep 15, 2020
If you're wondering which tablet is best for kids - especially kids that are using learning and educational apps at home and/or doing distance learning - you're on the right page. During distance learning, several kids in my class used tablets or iPads to stay connected with me and with their classmates and so I got to know what was good and bad about using tablets for home learning as well as which tablets are best for home use.
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Best Kids Learning Tablet
Kids that use tablets at home for learning are likely to be using apps, playing games, doing online activities, using online learning platforms and communicating and collaborating with their teachers and friends. They probably use their tabs for long periods of time and need to be productive when using it as well as enjoying the experience.
Tablet or Laptop for School?
If you're buying a new device for a child and you've been weighing up whether to go for a tablet or a laptop, you're not alone! Tablets appear to be the most child-friendly and appropriate for children - especially younger kids - but some parents might be concerned that buying a tablet might limit their child's learning. Not the case. When it comes to the kinds of basic things that kids will be doing for school, there are very few things that can't be done on tablets and iPads these days.
Why a Tablet is Better than a Laptop
My recommendation, based on my first-hand experience with online learning and home learning, would be that parents buying a new device for a very young child (maybe up to year 1) should go for a tablet. This is because:
younger children usually prefer a touch-screen and are better at using them
tablets are simpler to use and maintain
tablets are portable and easily handled by young children
portability, small size and lightweight can be convenient for video conferencing/live lessons
accessories can add more functions - stylus/pencil, keyboards, cases etc.
That being said, most young children are more than capable of using a laptop - one five-year-old girl in my class had her own laptop and was very good on it.
iPad vs Chromebook for Kids
If you're considering a Chromebook for kids home learning purposes but you also like the sound of an iPad - read this post I wrote where I go through the pros and cons of both devices with students in mind. 🤗
Android Tablets for Kids
Android is a mobile operating system used on many mobile devices and tablets including devices made by HTC, Sony, Amazon and Samsung among others. iPads, which are Apple devices, however, run iOS and not Android.
Android and iOS are similar to use but one thing to keep in mind is that not all apps are available for both. The Google Play Store and the App store both contain thousands of children's apps and games as well as apps for learning online but some parents might prefer to check if their kids' favourite apps are available for the device they plan to buy.
Video Conferencing on Tablets
You'll find that most online learning platforms and video conferencing applications can be used perfectly through a tablet or an iPad either using a mobile app or via the web.
Mobile vs Full Versions of Apps
Apps that are made for mobile may have fewer features and their layout may be adjusted to fit smaller screens but they work just as well and usually contain all the features kids would need for home learning or distance learning. In fact, the simplified mobile interfaces may even be more child-friendly than full versions.
Access via Web-Browser or App
Some platforms are accessible through a tablet or an iPad's web-browser instead of (or maybe as well as) through an app.
If you want to check - I have a page here which lists all the ways you could possibly access various online learning platforms depending on the device you have or plan to buy.
Kids will need a camera to join in with video conferencing or live lessons but these are commonly featured on most, if not all, tablets and certainly all iPads. Having front-facing cameras (the ones just above the tablet screen) as well as the main camera on the back of the device is useful for when kids want to show their teacher or classmates something on camera without having to awkwardly turn the device to show them.
Cheap Tablets for Kids
In terms of prices, tablets for kids can be relatively cheap: if you buy from lesser-known brands then prices can often be under £100, which is a bonus for an item that may be more heavily used or manhandled (or kid handled!) more than usual.
Tablets from better-known brands excluding Apple come in at a bit more expensive and then iPads can be around twice as expensive as tablets from other brands. It all depends on your own families circumstance but there are definitely plenty of excellent tablets for kids for any budget.