In our tech-heavy world, cell phones and tablets are part of our everyday life, and that extends to your toddlers, too. While a tablet can help keep a kid busy during an especially long car ride or a meal out, the best learning tablets for toddlers provide educational opportunities so that your little one isn’t just mindlessly watching a loop of random videos. And it’s a win-win when you can sneak in some learning for your kids and give yourself just a few minutes of peace and quiet.
When Should I Buy A Learning Tablet For Toddlers?
It seems like toddlers nowadays learn how to use devices faster than most adults, but does that mean they should have a tablet? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children under 2 years old need more hands-on exploration and social interaction with parents and caregivers to develop motor, cognitive, and social skills. The AAP reports there is some evidence that starting at age 2, kids can learn from interactive touchscreens and live-video chatting with adults. Once kids go to preschool, certain TV programs (like Sesame Street) can improve cognitive and literacy outcomes for ages 3 to 5. Every child is different, however, and having parental supervision and screen limits is important for safe usage.
Are Educational Tablets Good For Toddlers?
Tablets themselves aren’t necessarily good or bad for learning — it’s all dependent on how they’re used. Not all so-called kid-friendly content and apps are created equal, so it’s important to be selective. For example, Zero to Three, a non-profit organization dedicated to early childhood development, has guidelines on how to choose quality media content for young children. Some of their recommendations include encouraging interaction with a parent and choosing content that has a learning goal.
Like with all things, moderation is key. The AAP reports that evidence shows children ages 2 to 5 years old should be limited to an hour of digital media a day to give them time to engage in other activities that help their development.
What to Consider When Shopping For The Best Learning Tablets For Toddlers
While options abound when it comes to toddler tablets, it’s helpful to look at specifications to see what will work best for your family’s needs. Consider drop protection with a kid-proof case, battery life, parental controls, and the tablet’s access to educational content or apps. To make it easy to compare tablets and find the best one for your toddler, we’ve listed these specs for each pick.
With all that in mind, ahead find the best learning tablets for toddlers.
In a hurry? Here are the top picks for the best learning tablets for toddlers.
1. The Overall Best Learning Tablet For Toddlers: Amazon Fire HD 10-Inch Kids Tablet
2. The Runner-Up: LeapFrog LeapPad Academy Kids’ Learning Tablet
3. The Most Budget-Friendly Learning Tablet: VTech Light-Up Baby Touch Tablet
1. The Overall Best Learning Tablet For Toddlers
This Amazon Fire HD 10 kids’ tablet has everything your toddler needs: an easy-to-view 10-inch HD screen with a protective case, included educational content, and the all-important parental controls. The tablet includes one year of Amazon Kids+, a digital subscription for educational kids content that includes books, games, videos, apps, and more, as well as content in Spanish. (Note: After the first year, the monthly subscription is $4.99 plus tax.) As your toddler grows, you can add apps like Netflix, Zoom (the tablet has a dual camera), and Disney+. Parental controls allow you to limit screen time, set curfews, and manage content for up to four kids if you’re trying to juggle across different ages. The tablet comes with a thick case with a built-in kickstand for easy, comfortable viewing.
If you like the sound of this Fire tablet but want to spend less, consider the Fire HD 8 kids tablet, an older version of the tablet with a slightly smaller screen but otherwise a lot of the same features — for less than $100.
Helpful review: “This is the best option for my toddler. Not ready for an expensive iPad yet but needs a tool to learn on and watch movies on long trips. The battery life is excellent and the durability can’t be beat. Highly recommend for small children!”
Operating System: Fire OS | Parental Controls: Yes | Downloadable Apps From: Amazon App Store | Battery Life: Up to 12 hours | Protective Case: Yes | Recommended Age: 3 to 7 years old | Colors: Aquamarine, Lavender, Sky Blue
2. The Runner-Up
Your kid can get started right away with this LeapFrog learning tablet that is loaded with 20 educational apps and creativity tools. The tablet has a stand, grippy bumpers, and a 7-inch shatter-safe screen for durable and safe use. There’s a stylus to help your child practice drawing and writing skills and this tablet comes with a three-month trial of LeapFrog Academy, an interactive learning program; it’s $5.99 each month after that. Parental controls help you set screen time limits and filter content, and kids can browse only kid-friendly websites and videos through LeapSearch. You can also save up to 24 activities that can be played without internet connection, which may be a lifesaver during long road trips.
Helpful review: “Got this one for my son as using the regular tablet gave too much access to other stuff.This makes learning so much fun, and he has really grasped the challenges in a fun way. Very competitive, and the activities are very aligned with the age group.He has even coined terms like-Its a fun day to learn play day!!I love it cause he is engaged when he uses it. Some things he learns he wants us to try them out. The science part is very fun. […]”
Operating System: Android | Parental Controls: Yes | Downloadable Apps From: LeapFrog App Center | Battery Life: 9 hours | Protective Case: Yes | Recommended Age: 3 to 8 years old | Colors: Green, Pink
3. The Best Budget-Friendly Learning Tablet For Toddlers
If you’re looking for something to entertain your little one but don’t want to invest in an expensive tablet, this VTech interactive tablet is a good option. Designed for toddlers and babies, the tablet has a light-up screen that they can tap and swipe, and it includes over 160 songs, melodies, phrases, and more to help them learn numbers, letters, shapes, and time. There’s no way to download or access any other content, so you can rest assured your child will only be interacting with fun, educational content.
Helpful review: “This little tablet has made a toddler feel like a big girl! It’s easy for her to use and she’s learning on it. It goes everywhere with us! I great idea for little people!”
Operating System: N/A | Parental Controls: Yes | Downloadable Apps From: N/A | Battery Life: N/A | Protective Case: Yes | Recommended Age: 9 to 36 months old | Colors: Blue, Orange, Pink
4. The Best Android Tablet For Older Toddlers
For older toddlers you may want to give greater access to apps on the Android system, you’ll appreciate the Samsung Galaxy kids tablet, which features a large 10.5-inch LCD screen and seamlessly connects to all your other Galaxy devices. Parents can use the Bluetooth- and WiFi-enabled tablet for notes, photos, and more; kids can access Samsung Kids, a free app already on the tablet that has family-friendly learning activities, games, books, and videos. Parental controls mean you can set limits on screen time and only give access to certain apps. This pick doesn’t come with a protective case, but a kid-proof case for this tablet won’t set you back more than $20.
Helpful review: “Awesome for our toddlers! Ample amount of screen space and battery life is fantastic!”
Operating System: Android | Parental Controls: Yes | Downloadable Apps From: Google Play Store | Battery Life: Hours, though manufacturer doesn’t specify | Protective Case: No | Recommended Age: N/A | Colors: Silver, Dark Gray, Pink Gold
5. The Best Tablet To Invest In For The Family
If you don’t like the idea of having multiple tablets around your home, an iPad can be used by both parents and kids (and if you have a Mac laptop or iPhone, you can easily sync across all your devices). This iPad has a 10.2-inch retina display that will let you enjoy all your kid’s favorite movies and home videos in HD (because you’ll likely be watching them over and over again). You also have parental controls to set screen time, and block specific apps, content, and purchases — while having greater access to educational content available via apps in the Apple store, on YouTube, or on the Internet. This one is more of an investment, for sure, but one you can use for your growing little one and your entire family for a long time. Just be sure to add a protective case.
Helpful review: “So durable, long lasting battery. My whole family uses it”
Operating System: iOS | Parental Controls: Yes | Downloadable Apps From: Apple Store | Battery Life: Up to 10 hours | Protective Case: No | Recommended Age: N/A | Colors: Silver, Blue, Pink, Yellow