Research from YouGov shows that by the age of six, 85 per cent of British children have access to a tablet at home, while 40 per cent own their own. Yep, kids are crazy about technology.
Along with the wonderful learning opportunities tablets can provide, it can feel a little daunting as a parent. You don’t want to expose your child to too much, for too long. Find out what works for your family and your kids and go from there.
And when it comes to security, most tablets come with excellent parental controls, where you can control and limit screen usage and even the times when kids can use the tablet.
How we tested
We tested a variety of tablets in a busy family of five, and looked at how drawn the children were to each screen. Did they spend a long time engaging with the apps, or was the screen tossed aside quickly?
How easy were the parental controls to use and how much security did they provide? We also looked at durability – did these expensive pieces of kit feel safe in the dirty hands of a child?
The best tablets for kids for 2022 are:
Best overall – Amazon four HD 10 kids: £199.99, Amazon.co.uk
Best entry level tablet – Amazon four 7 children: £109.99, Amazon.co.uk
Best for pre-teens – Amazon fire HD 10 kids pro: £199.99, Amazon.co.uk
Best first tablet – Pebble Gear Disney Mickey and friends tablet for kids: £89.99, Amazon.co.uk
Best high spec tablet – Samsung Galaxy tab S7 FE 5G: £589, Samsung.com
Best for sharp screen – Lenovo tab P11: From £199.99, Lenovo.com
Best for the whole family – Amazon fire HD 10: £149.99, Amazon.co.uk
Amazon four HD 10 children
This is Amazon’s latest offering for younger kids. It is aimed at three to seven year olds, and as such comes with a talking childproof bumper cover. It comes in three cheerful shades: blue, aquamarine and purple – all of which will appeal to our mini testers. The cover also has a stand and carrying handle built in, which earns it instant extra practicality points from us.
The 10-inch screen is the largest Amazon tablet for younger kids, and is a really decent size to see the amount of content preloaded on it. Setup is easy, as long as you have an Amazon account. And Amazon has clearly worked hard to create parental controls that are very dense and easy to use.
Content is aimed at younger children, so if you have children at the upper end of the bracket, they may outgrow the apps on offer. But you have the option of allowing more apps to be added, including social media, Netflix and iPlayer – so it stretches to meet the needs of older kids.
We think this is a fantastic option for younger children and it ticked all our boxes for our criteria, both as parent tests and mini user tests.
Buy Now £199.99, Amazon.co.uk
Amazon fires 7 children
This indestructible screen is aimed at children aged three to seven, but even our two-year-old micro testers loved it. The tactile bumper cover survived many drops, scrapes and even being thrown down in toddler tantrums. The screen size is 7 inches, but it feels about right for little paws to grab and swipe around. It comes loaded with Amazon’s excellent parental controls, for complete peace of mind. You can monitor usage, set up different time limits for different kids, and even just turn off the device remotely.
As with all Amazon tablets for kids, it comes with a year’s subscription to Amazon kids+, which has an astonishing amount of apps. It also includes a two-year “they break it, we replace it” warranty – ideal with our less-than-cautious testers. We liked the cheerful colors this tablet came in – easy to find in the bottom of a bag and quickly fish out and throw to raging kids in the car.
Buy Now £109.99, Amazon.co.uk
Amazon fire HD 10 kids pro
The Fire HD 10 kids pro (quite a mouthful) is a smarter tablet than some of Amazon’s tablet cousins for kids, aimed at children aged six-12. With a sleek and smooth casing (with stand) and a sleekly large 10-inch screen, it made our tester feel quite grown-up. In fact, the whole family can use it thanks to the fact that it can have multiple profiles on it – and yes, this is a breeze to set up.
That includes access to Amazon’s digital store, where kids can request apps they want to add to their account. Parents can then OK or veto apps they’ve requested. Handy as a reward if you want your child to work towards something. And speaking of rewards, in the waterproof parent dashboard you can set educational goals for your child, with the option to not let them play with entertainment apps until they reach their set goals.
The Fire HD 10 kids pro has a great range of features, and we thought it was a great device to share between adults and children around the home. You can even use it with Alexa.
Buy Now £199.99, Amazon.co.uk
Pebble Gear Disney Mickey and friends kids tablet
The folks at Pear Gear teamed up with Disney to create an entry-level tablet for young children. This, the Pebble Gear, is the result. The 7-inch screen is encased in a light blue bumper cover. It’s not quite as comprehensive as the Amazon versions of bumper covers, but it’s more lightweight for that. We found out since it is a linked back model that is very easy to set up.
There is a lot of Mickey and Friends preloaded on the tablet. If Mickey isn’t your little one’s vibe, Pebble Gear also does other Disney versions, including Frozen. You can also add other apps to the tablet in the app store. There are about 500 apps there – which sounds like a lot, but is nowhere near the likes of Amazon et al. However, rest assured that none of them have any in-game fees or charges, so it’s a very kid-friendly ecosystem.
As an added bonus, the screen has a polarizing filter to protect little eyes from strong blue light. This tablet also came with matching Mickey and friends headphones for kids, which is great if you need to minimize noise.
As you might expect, parental controls are a bit more rudimentary – you can monitor which apps have been used, and limit screen time, but that’s about it. But with a device as secure as this, we’re not sure you need much more.
Buy now £89.99, Amazon.co.uk
Samsung Galaxy tab S7 FE 5G
This is the largest screen we’ve tested, and at a whopping 12.4 inches, it feels quite large in small hands – and quite sophisticated too. However, you can buy bumpers for it if your child is prone to dropping expensive bits of technology (ours certainly is). As well as being huge, the screen is extremely bright and the sound is also very good on this device – this is absolutely the best tablet we tried for watching movies and TV shows in any period.
The Samsung kids app is quite simple, and certainly suitable for younger children. There are games, but not at the level of others we tried. You can “migrate” apps to the Samsung kids screen, adding things like Netflix and other apps you’ve downloaded. There are also parental controls so you can check what your little tech wizard has been up to. The Samsung Galaxy tab S7 FE 5G also comes with an S Pen, which provided lots of drawing fun for our mini tester. The battery life on this tablet is excellent and it charges super fast.
Buy now £589.00, Samsung.com
Lenovo Tab P11
Holy crap, the screen on the Lenovo Tab P11 is brilliant. That’s thanks to the 2K resolution and 11-inch screen size, and it made absolutely any content appear. And the tablet is super slim – the profile is only 8 mm.
This isn’t a kids-only tablet, so it feels a little less “CBeebies prop” than some of the others. It makes it feel a little awkward to give it to a careless child, but there are all sorts of kid-friendly (or should that be “childproof”?) covers you can buy for it.
The Lenovo Tab P11 runs on Android and comes with 64GB of storage – more than our mini tester would ever know what to do with. It also has Google Kids Place, which is absolutely brilliant. Set up a Google account for your child and they can create their own avatar – which kept our tester very entertained for ages. Your child will then have access to age-appropriate apps, books on Google Play and YouTube for children. The interface is very easy to use, with cute kid-friendly illustrations.
The parental controls on Google’s Family Link are also quite clever – you can choose to set up express profiles, where Google applies controls based on the child’s age, or you can set it up manually. You can set age limits for games, videos and websites – we set all of ours to U, but you can go for PG, 15 and so on. You can also set screen limits, bedtimes (and have different ones based on the day of the week).
We really loved that you can also remotely ask the Lenovo Tab P11 to play a sound – useful if the tablet has been lost or hidden somewhere in the house. We found that Family Link was much easier to use on our phone than on our computers, which was a little frustrating. But it will ping the phone every time an app is downloaded (you can turn this off if you want), and gives a nice overview of screen usage. We were hugely impressed.
Buy now £199.99, Lenovo.com
Amazon fire HD 10
This is an Amazon tablet that isn’t actually a kid-specific tablet. The 10-inch HD screen is a preferred size for our little tester and is 10 percent brighter than Amazon’s previous tablets. However, the case is not good for very young children – to keep the profile slim, the case definitely won’t withstand big drops. This is definitely a tablet that is better suited for a bigger child.
You can use Alexa with this tablet, including to open apps and watch videos. Since our tester seems to have a deep and meaningful relationship with Alexa, this was a big plus for them.
If you have an Amazon family account, all your profiles can be easily added to your tablet when you set it up. If you don’t, it’s easy to set up with a few details. This will then give your child access to Amazon kids+, which comes at a starting price of £1.99 per month. There’s a ton of content there – in fact, it feels almost endless. And with the child profiles comes Amazon’s excellent parent dashboard where you can monitor and limit your children’s screen time.
Buy Now £149.99, Amazon.co.uk
The verdict: Tablet for children
We struggle to fault the Amazon Fire Kids 10 – the kid testers loved it, the parental controls are top-notch and it felt pretty indestructible. And the hardware is pretty decent. The Amazon fire kids 10 pro is great for slightly older kids, and if you just want to dip your toe in the tablet water very carefully, the Pebble Gear is the safest tablet on the block.
Find more ways to entertain your little ones this spring separate children’s department