In our family, we have struggled a bit with technology and our little ones. When our oldest was two, my mother in law considered buying him a tablet of his very own! We politely tried to dissuade her as we didn’t think that tablets were appropriate for kids. As time went on though, it turns out our oldest was really doing well with some of the learning apps on my wife’s iPad. He’s almost four now, but we figured it was time to get tablets for the kids!
Ok, so not both of them, but at least the oldest. Talk about tons of research and time spent learning about tablets for kids! It seems that each time we were close to settling on a purchase of a particular brand or model, one of us would find a compelling reason not to buy it. This Christmas however, we finally decided on the Amazon Fire Kids edition. It turns out amazon makes great tablets for kids!
It wasn’t always this way, as the Amazon Fire kids Kindle edition received some horrible reviews when it was first launched, but what really changed my mind was the adult version. For an anniversary gift, I bought my wife the most basic Amazon Kindle. For $50, and because of Amazon’s famous return policy, I figured I couldn’t really go wrong. She liked it so much, I actually bought one for myself! The value is incredible, but after a screen protector, case, and memory card (all optional), the tablet wound up being more like a $100 tablet. Still a great deal if you’re looking for tablets for kids.
It turns out though, that the Amazon Fire kids edition is actually a better choice. While it uses the same exact tablet the Mrs. and I have, there are some differences. For starters, the Amazon Fire Kids tablet comes in at $99! Almost twice the amount of the base Kindle Fire we purchased for ourselves. It does however come with a thick rubbery case, a subscription to Amazon Free Time, and a two-year no questions asked warranty. (Although we haven’t had to test that out yet thankfully!)
Because of our experiences with the Kindle Fire, we also opted to purchase an additional memory card and a screen protector to make it even more functional. So if you’re looking for tablets for kids, you really want to check out the Amazon Fire Kids if for no other reason than the Amazon Free Time App. While it’s not perfect, it really helps alleviate some of the confusion and anxiety when it comes to handing over fully functional tablets for kids. We suddenly realized that our kiddo wold have access to messaging, YouTube, in App Purchases and of course the sketchy underbelly of the internet.
The Amazon Free Time App helps mitigate those fears though. Via the included app subscription, you can block out the web browser, create an age appropriate profile, and much more! When the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet was first setup, it asked my wife for our little one’s age. It turns out that Amazon actually goes through each of their apps to rate the age appropriateness and allows children to dynamically download age appropriate books, videos, games and apps all at no additional charge. In addition, we can set time limits on app types as well as time frames that our little one can use the tablet. We have set a hard limit on how much time he can watch videos and play games as well as a general time frame for tablet use. He has quickly learned that when he reaches his time limit, he needs to move on to another activity. Regardless of the tablets for kids you are researching, you really want to make sure they can be locked down.
Another great benefit of the Amazon Fire Tablets For Kids: their profile is stored in the cloud! Right after our little guy’s tablet was setup, we were prompted to create pins on our tablets. It turns out they are all connected to the Amazon cloud, and lets say we go somewhere and my little guy forgets his tablet at home. I can hand him mine, log into his profile and he can see the same exact things that he has on this kids tablet. It takes a few moments to download the apps again, but it’s easy and there is no additional charge!
My little guys tend to be a bit rough when it comes to toys so tablets for kids need to be rugged and durable. The Amazon Fire Kids Edition accomplishes this goal by having a thick rubbery case, but you’ll really want to get a screen protector. My only long-term concern is the charging port. The connector is one of the flat micro USB plugs and if your child gets frustrated easily, could easily jam the plug into the port. We are using this as a learning tool for him, and put a dab of nail polish on the side of the plug that should go “up” to help solve this problem. With the warranty though, I think we’ll be good.
So what are the costs compared to other tablets? Tablets for kids need to reach that special price point sweet spot, where they are affordable in case they break, and if your child loses it, you won’t be out a mortgage payment. So what are the real costs behind the Amazon Kids Fire Edition? Start off with the $99 base price point, add in a screen protector for around $7 and an additional memory card for another $14 and you’re at a final price of $120 before taxes. This compares to $269 for the base 16 gb model of the iPad mini 2 without a screen protector and case and you have one heck of a deal!
Something that could sweeten the deal for parents on a budget is the financing option. Ok it’s not really financing, but you can opt to purchase one at only $20 with 5 monthly payments. Just look for the payment option on the right hand side of the screen when you go to order one.nIt’s a great way to buy tablets for kids if you don’t have a ton of cash on hand.
When it comes to tablets for kids, it’s tough to beat the Amazon Fire Kids Edition. You can lock it down, comes with tons of FREE apps, books, games, videos and a two-year replacement warranty, it’s hard to compare to some of the tablets for kids that are on the market today. My advice, you have nothing to lose!
Our recommended tablets for kids bundle:
Sandisk 32 Gig Micros SD Card – $13.87
Fire Tablet Screen Protector – $6.95