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.
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.
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
Read details on Amazon
Why We love FreeTime
FreeTime is like a parent controlled, kid-friendly operating system.
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
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.
Evolved Mommy is about tech and gadgets as the relate to family life. We talk about Apple products like iPads, iPhones and pretty cases for iPads and iPhones. We talk about gadgets for the home like Nest thermostats and Roombas. We talk about nonsense and life in Northwest Arkansas. Whatever.