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Evolved Mommy | April 26, 2015

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Kindle Fire HD beats iPad as Best Tablet for Kids

Why the Kindle Fire HD with FreeTime is a Better Choice for Kids than the iPad

Review Overview

Gadgets for Preschoolers


Kid gadgets need to be easy to use, safe and fun. Affordability and durability are also extremely important.

| On 20, Sep 2013

I know tech, so surely I know the best tablet for kids. Or so I thought until one night a couple weeks ago when I was relaxing on the couch after a long, brain-taxing day at work. I handed my 4-year-old her iPad, thinking she would go straight to Netflix and watch Pound Puppies (her current favorite). Instead…Panic! I looked over to see she had clicked on YouTube looking for the funny cat videos she and her Nana watch together.


Do you know what kind of videos can come up in the suggested viewing area when you start down the “cute kitties” route? (If you need help understanding this one, ask your husband or s/o)

As a tech-loving mama I want her to be completely comfortable with a tablet. I want her to be curious and able to engage.

Toddler iPad

Color with your fingers…

As an Apple product whore I want the iPad to be her friend. Her safe, fun-loving friend. Until recently the iPad has been her go-to tech gadget. We handed her my 1st generation iPad when she was just two years old. She plays a few games, colors and watches Netflix, but it has always seemed to me that it was just too easy for her to delete an app accidentally or get into something she shouldn’t without even realizing it.

It’s also been frustratingly difficult to find the apps and ebooks designed for kids her age. Admittedly, the latest iOS 7 update does make this a bit easier in the app store. But still. Why has it taken Apple this long? And the system still isn’t entirely kid friendly. She can’t search on her own.

The child knows how to FaceTime on her own. Funny, yes. Cute, yes. And more than slightly terrifying? Indeed.

I’ve reviewed other tablets for her: The LeapPad, Nabi, etc.

Nabi 2 vs. Meep vs. iPad

Click this image to read my review of the Nabi 2, Meep & iPad for preschoolers

Yet, the Kindle Fire hadn’t been on my radar, until now. Recently Dot Complicated sent me a Kindle Fire HD and I played with it a bit and then discovered a surprise…

The FreeTime app for Kindle Fire HD

Kindle FreeTime app for Kindle Fire HD for Kids

Read details on Amazon

Why We love FreeTime

  • FreeTime is like a parent controlled, kid-friendly operating system.
  • Completely ad-free
  • No opportunity to make purchases
  • Parents can set time limits on the various options. For example, you can set a 2-hour limit on videos and games, but make reading unlimited.
  • Separate profiles for each kid
  • PRE-LOADED with tons and tons of content (books, games, shows, etc) based on the age of your child if you subscribe to the monthly service ($4.99/month)
  • A password is required to exit the FreeTime app
  • PRICE! The Kindle Fire HD is $159 vs. $329 for the iPad Mini
Kindle FreeTime time controls

Time controls in FreeTime

I honestly believe the Kindle Fire HD with FreeTime is hands down the best tablet choice for kids. It’s one of those things that seems so obvious, I’m a little irritated Apple doesn’t have a similar option.

And, the ultimate proof: my daughter asks for the Kindle. She’s nearly forgotten her iPad exists.

To her it’s a wonderland of games, videos and books that she can explore and understand by herself.

The only thing I can complain about is that both of us have a hard time remembering where the “on” button is. (FYI, it’s on the top and blends right in with the shell of the thing)

What do you think about handing a preschooler a tablet with free reign? I want to hear all opinions. If you’re not into I get that and I respect it. Share your opinion with other moms and dads who are considering giving the littles an iPad, Nabi, Kindle or other gadget.
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  1. Jenn

    Can you use Netflix on the Kindle? We are debating Kindle vs iPad for Christmas for our 5 year old.

    • Yes, you can use Netflix on the Kindle.

  2. John

    FreeTime is deeply flawed. We got a kindle fire for our 10 year old son. The app doesn’t recognize everything educational as a qualified app. Most are for small children. You cannot designate certain websites as counting towards educational goals.

  3. We are personally not letting our kids have tablets for now – mostly because we’re concerned about the impact of “screen time” on their developing eyes. But yes, partly b/c of all the dangers that come with the technology… I am glad you shared this b/c I don’t plan to have them be computer free FOREVER! So when I feel the time is right, I am going to go for the Kindle Fire…. who knows, by the time THAT day comes, it might be even awesome-er!

  4. Emily

    I’m thinking about these for Christmas for my kids. The suggested age on Amazons site is 24 mos to 18 years, but I realize they want you to buy this. I think it will be great for my six year old but I want to make sure that it’s not too “babyish ” for my 8, almost 9 year old. Also, I’ve only seen it with 8gb…is this enough? And an you still have netflix,Minecraft etc on it? We already pay for a netflix subscription. Like you, I only have apple devices and the kindle thing will be new for us. Unlike you, I’m not tech savvy.

  5. juan

    the only I hate about kindle hd ,is the amazon spam on lock screen and the limited memory ,no option to add external sd

  6. I have to agree with this. We have both, a kindle fire hd and an ipad mini. I love the ipad mini, there are some great apps that I use for work and my own enjoyment but I feel like the kindle free time feature is much better for the kids. You get access to so many apps, books, and videos that are educational and fun. And the price of the kindle is awesome, plus the cost for free time is cheap. My 2 kids fight over the kindle and the ipad just lays there on the floor. So I plan on buying another kindle very soon unless apple comes up with a similar feature on the newest ipad.

  7. Bill

    What about the fact that parental controls are possible on the iPad. Would that change your opinion?

    • That’s a good point. Can you give any tips?

      • Bill

        Here’s the info from Apple’s website Not as robust as Kindle it seems and I don’t think you can set up separate accounts but probably a workable solution.

  8. Mikeyed

    Here is a great comparison of all the most popular Kindle devices. If anyone needs.

  9. Thank you for the info. We are considering getting our daughter a kindle fire for her main Christmas gift. She is learning to read and only recently realized that mommy reads books on her phone instead of playing games. We want her to enjoy books on an electronic devices and get use to the feel as she proceeds through school. We took the youtube app off of our ipads,pods,phones for the same reason. I wish there was a parental control on the apple devices. We have all kinds of educational apps, but they gravitate to the mindlessness of Netflix (which definitely has it’s place.) This info was really helpful.

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