The Best Tablets for Toddlers to Keep Kiddos Engaged and Entertained
These days, kids are growing up as mini digital geniuses. After all, toddlers often have a better understanding of how to tap and swipe than most grandparents. And while limiting children’s screen time is crucial for healthy development, a toddler tablet can certainly come in clutch—especially when it’s crucial that your little one be entertained for a little while. Suffice it to say, a toddler tablet can help you maximize that time so your little one is not only entertained, but also learning in the process. “These devices enable participation in interactive active learning environments, which is different from passively watching TV,” says Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, DO, the founder and president of the interdisciplinary research organization Children and Screens.
That said, tablets for toddlers aren’t toys, and you’ll want to make sure that whatever device you offer your child is safe, sturdy and loaded with age-appropriate apps. Here’s what to consider when shopping for the best tablet for toddlers, plus our top product picks to suit your family’s needs.
A toddler tablet can offer some great learning opportunities. Some of the best tablets for toddlers come with educational apps that teach little ones how to read, write, do math and even learn a new language. “When kids use these for fun, the programs can help them learn a lot,” says Meg Meeker, MD, a pediatrician and creator of the “Parenting Great Kids” podcast.
Plus, whether they’ve earned a treat or you just need a few minutes to yourself, there are times when you’d like to let your toddler watch a fun movie or listen to songs—and having a kid-friendly tablet at the ready beats having to hand your own device over to your tot.
Another big benefit to buying a toddler tablet instead of giving your kid a standard tablet to use (aside from the inevitable destruction) is that tablets designed specifically for young kids come with features to ensure they’re protected from unwanted content that’s not age-appropriate.
A toddler tablet can also be useful for video chatting with faraway family and friends. “Positive uses enable social connections and act as a prompt to promote deeper engagement,” says Hurst-Della Pietra. “Emerging evidence suggests that at 24 months of age, children can learn words from live video chatting with a responsive adult.”
Still, she cautions that screen time can never replace the role of parents and caregivers in kids’ social, emotional and cognitive development—after all, toddlers learn best from engaging with people. It’s up to you as a parent to establish digital media guidelines to encourage healthy screen use. What’s more, Meeker emphasizes that having access to a tablet is a privilege, not a right for little ones. “The child needs to understand that parents make the rules around device usage,” she adds.
There are a number of things to consider when searching for the best tablet for toddlers. For starters, you’ll want to make sure it lives up the rigors of life with a little one. Here’s are some other factors to take into account:
- Price. You probably don’t want to sink a ton of money into a tablet for your child. As Meeker points out, not only are toddlers apt to be rough with the device, but it’s also the first of many tablets or laptops they’ll have over their lifetime.
- Durability. Expect your kiddo’s toddler tablet to be dropped, thrown and spilled on, so look for a screen that won’t crack easily with a protective case around the edge and a warranty.
- Parental controls. This is a must to keep your kiddo safe. Some tablets come with a daily or weekly report of use and how much time is spent on each app, which can be useful for parents of older children.
- Portability. Consider how easily the tablet can be held or carried by little hands.
Toddler Tablets Comparison Chart
|Overall best tablet for toddlers||Best learning tablet for toddlers||Best tablet for 2-year-olds||Best tablet for 3-year-olds||Best non-WiFi tablet for toddlers||Best budget-friendly tablet for toddlers||Best family tablet|
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids
Animal Island AILA Sit & Play
Dragon Touch KidzPad
Fire 7 Kids’ Tablet
LeapFrog LeapPad Academy Kids’ Tablet
Vankyo MatrixPad Z1 Kids’ Tablet
Apple iPad, 10th Generation
|Dimensions||10.5" (L) x 8.2" (W) x 1.1" (H)||7.4" (L) x 4.6" (W) x 6.4" (H)||7.4" (L) x 4.4" (W) x 0.9" (H)||6.4" (L) x 7.9" (W) x 1.1" (H)||5.9" (L) x 8.5" (W) x 0.6" (H)||N/A||9.8" (L) x 7.1" (W) x 0.3" (H)|
|Weight||1.5 lbs.||1.5 lbs.||1.9 lbs.||15.1 oz.||1.6 lbs.||11 oz.||1.1 lbs.|
|Storage||32 GB||32 GB||32 GB||16 or 32GB||16 GB||32 GB||64 GB or 256 GB|
|Battery life||13 hours||4 hours||3 hours||10 hours||4 hours||8 hours||10 hours|
|Buy NowRead Full Review||Buy NowRead Full Review||Buy NowRead Full Review||Buy NowRead Full Review||Buy NowRead Full Review||Buy NowRead Full Review||Buy NowRead Full Review|
Ready to start shopping? Here are some of the best tablets for toddlers on the market today.
This is hands-down one of the best tablets for toddlers you can buy. It comes with a 10-inch screen, a kid-proof case (in fun colors) and front and back cameras for video chatting, plus a built-in stand (a nice feature to have, as Meeker points out that looking down at a tablet can lead to neck and shoulder pain). When you opt for the Fire HD 10 tablet for toddlers, you’ll get a year of free access to Amazon Kids+ with over 20,000 apps, games, books, videos and other educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney and more.
If that wasn't enough, this tablet was recently updated—the processing speed is 25 percent faster than the previous model, the resolution is higher-quality and the battery now lasts up to 13 hours on a full charge. We love when a great product gets even better!
Screen size: 10" | Internal storage: 32 GB | Battery life: 13 hours
- Password-protected adult mode
- Great parental controls
- Sturdy and protective case
- No dashboard customization
- Complicated search function
If you’re looking for toddler tablets that focus more on education than entertainment, look no further than this clever option designed with a preschool classroom curriculum (and daily routine) as its muse. This learning tablet for toddlers is loaded with educational activities, games, sing-alongs and read-aloud stories that strengthen kiddos’ vocabulary and build early learning skills (like counting, identifying colors and shapes and practicing letter sounds). AILA keeps track of the educational milestones and delivers the right content, at the right time, to match your child’s growth and progress. And you can download the free AILA for Parents mobile app to track your child's learning, set and toggle among primary learning modes and review skill sessions right from your phone.
Screen size: 7" | Internal storage: 32 GB | Battery life: 4 hours
- Ad-free, non-distracting experience
- Repetition helps toddler retention
- Works without WiFi
- Great speakers and realistic sounds
- Takes 3+ hours to fully charge
- Shock-absorbing cases sold separately
By the age of 2, many little ones (and their parents!) are ready for a small amount of tablet time. This Android-specific tablet makes a great option, with many of the same features as the popular Fire 10 tablet. A 10-inch screen and robust 32 GB of storage space allow your little one plenty of options when it comes to the content they’d like to consume on this toddler tablet. Popular apps like Disney+, Khan Academy, Duolingo and ABC Mouse are available, too. A kid-proof case (available in pink or blue), complete with a shoulder strap, round out the excellent features on this toddler tablet.
Screen size: 7" | Internal storage: 32 GB | Battery life: 3 hours
- Perfect for on-the-go
- Pre-loaded w/ content
- Extra durable
- Stylus not attached
- Can load slowly
- Android-only availability
This is a slightly less robust version of its Fire HD 10 counterpart, but you still get an awesome toddler tablet for your money. It features a seven-inch screen with a kid-proof case, front and back cameras and a built-in stand. Like the Fire HD 10, you get yearlong access to Amazon Kids+ with all its fun, educational content and a two-year warranty. It comes with 16 GB of easily upgradeable storage and up to seven hours of battery life, but it’s also cheaper than the Fire HD 10. All in all, it offers great bang for your buck.
Screen size: 7" | Internal storage: 16 or 32GB | Battery life: 10 hours
- Great parental controls
- Plenty of pre-loaded content
- Heavy-duty design
- 4+ hours to fully charge
- YouTube Kids not available
This learning tablet for toddlers (and big kids!) is designed to inspire school success among children 3 to 8 years old. It comes preloaded with more than 20 apps ($175 worth of content) that teach math, reading, writing, coding, problem-solving and creativity skills. This option has a seven-inch shatter-proof screen with a built-in stand and an included bumper case, 16 GB of storage, seven hours of battery life and dual back and front cameras for video chatting. Plus, the included parental controls mean you can set time limits and select approved websites on LeapFrog’s kid-friendly web browser.
Screen size: 7" | Internal storage: 16GB | Battery life: 4 hours
- Shatter-safe screen
- 3-month LeapFrog Academy subscription
- Home screen customization
- Content-disruptive ads
- Warranty recommended
- Charging port is tricky
Here’s proof that cheap tablets for kids can still offer quality and value. This is one of the most popular tablets for toddlers out there (racking over a thousand five-star ratings from parents), and for good reason: It comes preloaded with Kidoz, an app that offers unlimited access to a range of age-appropriate, educational games and videos. Thanks to the parental controls, you can customize a profile for your child, handpick content, set screen time limits and approve specific websites.
Screen size: 7" | Internal storage: 32 GB | Battery life: 8 hours
- Great parental controls
- Super lightweight
- Fast processing time
- Android-only platform
For the tablet that does it all, Apple’s iPad is still the gold standard. That’s why we chose it as our pick for the best tablet for the whole family. Apple’s 10th generation tablet integrates seamlessly with other Apple devices, like phones, Apple TV and laptops, plus it delivers content on a crisp, sharp screen with almost no lag time. In the App Store, you’ll find a nearly limitless number of apps you can download, from toddler games to educational content to toddler yoga and dance options. Or, you can stream movies and shows from apps or websites.
Screen size: 10.9" | Internal storage: 64 GB | Battery life: 10 hours
- Four fun colorways
- Great battery life
- Functions as miniature laptop
Shopping for a tablet for your toddler can often be a challenging and frustrating decision. On one hand, you want to introduce them to technology in a way that’s educational and safe, providing them with tools for learning and entertainment. On the other hand, you’re constantly bombarded with an overwhelming array of options, each boasting different features, apps and price points. Striking the right balance between affordability and quality can feel like navigating a maze of conflicting information. Moreover, concerns about screen time and the need to ensure age-appropriate content make the decision even more complex. Finding a tablet that aligns with your child’s developmental needs while also fitting your budget and values can be a daunting task, making this seemingly simple purchase a challenging and emotionally charged process for many parents.
Our goal is to do the bulk of the research, so you don’t have to spend hours searching for the best toddler tablets on your own tablet. We do this by considering a list of criteria such as screen size, durability, processing speed, educational features, ease for little fingers to select and swipe, battery life on a full charge and of course, value. We also read user reviews, thoroughly analyzed each tablet to find out how they worked for this set of tiny-tech wizards and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.
At the end of the day, keeping toddlers occupied (and freeing up some time for moms and dads) is important, but screen-time etiquette and parameters need not be overlooked. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under 18 months of age should avoid screen time, unless it’s for video chatting (with long-distance or out-of-town family members or friends). Face-to-face interaction and play should be prioritized, foremost, during this crucial developmental stage. For children aged 18 to 24 months, once screen media is introduced, it should consist of high-quality, educational content and parents should watch it with their child to help them understand and process what they’re seeing. Additionally, the AAP advises limiting screen time for children aged 2 to 5 to one hour per day of high-quality programming, with parental co-viewing and discussion of the content, following each session, to enhance the educational value of the broadcast. These guidelines aim to support healthy child development, encourage social interaction and give precedence to activities that are more beneficial for children’s cognitive and social growth.
It’s also up to us, as parents, to set positive examples of responsible media use for our children! But for any parent who’s ever had to buy a toy phone or computer to placate their increasingly-curious one-and-under kiddo, we hear you and we’ve been there, too! Here’s a cute option that can help.
Echoing those recommendations of no-screen-time-for-18-months-and-under from the AAP, this adorable toy serves up a tablet-like experience without an actual screen. The VTech Light-Up Baby Touch Tablet is a great choice for younger toddlers (ideally one and younger), with plenty of fun, bright lights and “apps” that teach things like letters and numbers. Loaded with baby’s favorite songs, this tablet is sure to please.
- Built-in activities and pretend apps
- Three playful colorways
- Great for pretend play
- Again, not a true tablet
- Games mimic Vtech light-up toys
- Age range 9 months to 3 years old
Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, DO, is the founder and president of the interdisciplinary research organization Children and Screens, she also serves as clinical assistant professor of pediatric public health at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. She earned her medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Pediatrics, Media and Young Minds, November 2016
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