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The best kids’ tablets for homework, gaming and creativity

Packed with fun and productive features along with parental controls, these kids’ tablets are perfect for youngsters

Zoe Phillimore
Tuesday 09 January 2024 09:54 GMT
<p>Points were awarded for age-appropriate devices that had plenty of content to keep kids busy</p>

Points were awarded for age-appropriate devices that had plenty of content to keep kids busy

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From helping with homework to promoting fine-motor skills, a tablet is a fantastic device for kids to learn on. There are tablets for kids of every age, and content for every type of interest.

According to various surveys, more than half of 12- to 15-year-olds own devices, and 49 per cent of five- to 15-year-olds own a tablet device. These screens are popular with the kids, and for good reason. Not only are they entertaining, but research shows tablets can boost children’s language skills using apps that teach them phonics, rhyming and letter recognition. It will also give them an aptitude for technology, which we all know is going to be vital for them in later life.

Pretty much all devices come with parental controls, and it’s good to be wise to what your kids are accessing, for how long, and also who’s contacting them. You can monitor all these things, using parental controls on tablets, and all devices we tried had some form of control included.

“It’s never too early to start educating your child on digital safety,” says a spokesperson for the NSPCC. “However, a big factor to consider when we’re talking to children is age as well as their cognitive ability. Our Positively online quiz is a non-judgemental quiz designed to be taken as a family that can help guide the conversation about digital safety.”

They continue, “Children can see things online that make them feel upset, angry, or cause low self-esteem. If this happens, encourage them to mute or block accounts that do this. They can also use settings that prevent words, phrases, or posts they don’t want to see cropping up. Encourage them to make their online space a positive one. If you’re still worried then there are plenty of parental controls you can set up, on their tablets and phones as well as streaming services and gaming consoles.”

How we tested

We let our mini testers loose (within very set boundaries, of course) with all the tablets we’ve included in this round-up. We wanted to check that kids young and old were entertained safely, and had apps they genuinely found useful and/or enjoyable.

As parents, we wanted to keep a close eye on usage of the tablet, and just how long our kids were spending online. Points were awarded for age-appropriate devices that had plenty of content to keep kids of all ages busy. We also looked at battery life, display and sound quality and how robust they were, where appropriate.

The best tablets for kids for 2024 are:

  • Best overall tablet for kids – Amazon Fire HD 8 kids tablet: £149.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best tablet for the whole family – Microsoft Surface go 3 2-in-1 tablet: £369, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best tablet for younger kids – Amazon Fire 7 kids tablet: £114.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best kids tablet for value for money – Lenovo Tab M10 gen 3 tablet: £209, Lenovo.com
  • Best kids tablet for older kids – Amazon Fire HD 8 kids pro tablet: £149.99, Amazon.co.uk

Amazon Fire HD 8 kids tablet

best kids’ tablets Amazon Fire HD 8 kids tablet
  • Best: Overall
  • Screen size: 8in
  • Internal memory: 32GB
  • Colours: Blue, Purple, Red

A whole inch bigger than the Amazon Fire 7 kids tablet (£114.99, Amazon.co.uk), and according to our kids the bigger screen is more appealing. It also has more internal memory than the Fire 7 with 32GB, or you can opt for the 64GB. The Fire HD 8 kids has the same option to bolster this to 1TB using a microSD card, but you’ll need to fiddle with settings and getting the cover on and off to achieve this. Speaking of which, the cover pretty much makes the tablet bounce and is super grippy, meaning we weren’t worried about leaving our preschoolers with it to drop at will. And Amazon has made this with preschoolers up to tweens in mind (they say three to seven-year-olds).

Another step up from the 7 Kids is the HD screen. Did our testers notice? Not really, but perhaps if they were watching a lot of films or TV they might. Content-wise, the tablet comes with a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+, which offers a whole host of entertainment – and educational stuff too. They’re going to while their screen time away with apps from LEGO, the BBC, Disney and the ever-present Blippi.

Using the parental dashboard you can set kids’ ages (you can manage up to three kids’ separate profiles on the tablet) individually, so it shows content that’s appropriate for them. If they try to download anything that is not appropriate for their age, the person with parental control will get an email and you can allow or deny them the ability to download it. You can also set the tablets to a younger-child theme, which is designed for pre-readers.

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Apple iPad 10th gen tablet

best kids’ tablets Apple iPad 10th gen
  • Best: For teenagers
  • Screen size: 10.9in
  • Internal memory: 64GB
  • Colours: Silver, blue, pink, yellow

Not every parent is going to want to fork out for an Apple iPad, but for those who are looking for something that is going to grow with their kids, the iPad 10th gen is hard to beat. It comes in a range of colours to appeal to everyone and we also tested ours with an Apple Keyboard (£279, Apple.com) and Apple Pencil (£109, Apple.com), for the full experience.

Our testers found this made the iPad completely frustration-free. The Apple Pencil let them work on creative projects that required fine accuracy, and the keyboard sped up writing and general use like nobody’s business. This made it great for both fun projects – creating super-slick Tik Tok vids, for example – and home learning tasks too. It basically becomes a laptop with these additions. However, it’s not drop-friendly, and so therefore is safer in older kids’ hands in our opinion.

Apple doesn’t allow you to switch between profiles on a device, meaning it’s quite tricky to share it across a household especially if you want parental control on their profile and not on yours. Plus, the parental controls will apply across all devices linked to the Apple ID – so, you wouldn’t be able to apply thes restrictions on the iPad and not have it on your phone. However, if your child is ready for the responsibility of their own iPad, then you can log them into their own Apple account on the device and tweak your parental controls as you want, monitoring screen time, content, website access and purchasing.

Contentwise, you can basically access anything your heart desires via the App Store from CBeebies to social media and all the streaming services, plus video-editing apps and everything in between. The iPad isn’t the answer for everyone, but for an all-singing, all-dancing tablet for an older child, it’s basically impossible to beat.

  1. £499 from Apple.com
Prices may vary
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Samsung Galaxy tab S8 ultra

best kids’ tablets Samsung Galaxy tab S8 ultra review
  • Best: For huge screen size
  • Screen size: 14.6in
  • Internal memory: 128GB
  • Colour: Black, silver, pink

With more than 14 inches of screen to gaze at, this tablet is huge. That, along with the price tag, puts it firmly in the late teens category we’d say and it’s designed for that too. It comes with a snap-on keyboard with trackpad, and an S pen. With these peripherals, it’s easy to switch between editing Tik Toks and doing the hard graft of homework.

The humongous screen is going to satisfy screenagers whether their vice is YouTube or gaming and the AMOLED display is excellent too, handling dimly shot gritty content so we could see everything in detail. The S pen slots into the cover to charge, the keypad keeps the tablet safe when moving around, and yet it’s incredibly lightweight. Basically, everything about the Samsung Galaxy tab S8 ultra all feels extremely slick (apart from the mouthful of the name).

You can still keep track of your child’s usage via the Google Family link, which is essentially a parent dashboard. This will let you set time limits, locate the device on a map, manage the content they have access to, and much more. It is a bit faffy to set up, but between you and a teen it should take no more than 30 minutes or so. Overall we were really impressed by this Samsung tablet but for the price tag, you’d hope so!

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Microsoft Surface go 3 2-in-1 tablet

best kids’ tablets Microsoft Surface go 3 2-in-1 tablet review
  • Best: For the whole family
  • Screen size: 10.5in
  • Internal memory: 64GB
  • Colours: Silver

One of the great things about the Surface go 3 is that you can customise the build of it to suit your needs. You can use it as a laptop with a keyboard, tablet with a built-in kickstand, and add a Type cover (a keyboard cover) or Surface pen if you like. We tested with a Type cover and a Surface pen for the full experience.

This is a great tablet for sharing across a family, no matter the age. Granted, it’s not great for little kids as it’s not super robust, but if you’re a family made up of tweens, teens and adults it’s going to work well for you. You can even add on a family subscription to Office 365, so up to six accounts can use their own versions of Teams, Word, Excel and the rest of the Office suite. Handy for remote work and learning. We were also impressed by the Microsoft Family app, which allows you to set screen time limits, apply filters, find your family on a map – it even tells you how they’re driving. And you can also sync up family calendars and share notes. You’ll never need to ask “what do we need from the supermarket?” again.

We were super impressed by Microsoft’s parental filters – it does basically everything you could ever want. And the pen and keyboard made lightwork of everything we tried with testing. As well as creative and work projects, Xbox gamers are going to love it as you can access your Xbox Library here. The screen quality is excellent too. A fantastic all rounder.

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Amazon Fire 7 kids tablet

best kids’ tablets Amazon Fire 7 kids tablet review
  • Best: For younger kids
  • Screen size: 7in
  • Internal memory: 16GB
  • Colours: Blue, purple, red

Designed for kids aged 3-7, this 7in screen is great for little hands. It comes with a child-proof bump case that will protect it from even the most savage drops. If the worst does happen, the Fire kids tablets come with a two-year warranty for total peace of mind. They also come with a year’s worth of access to Amazon Kids+.

Having tested Amazon’s former iterations of Fire Kids previously, we were impressed by the updates Amazon has made to this model. It seems to move with more zip, which was appreciated by both impatient parents and kids. The whole user interface is easier to navigate too, including the parental controls. During the super-speedy set-up, we were able to set up kids’ accounts with their ages, screen time limits and set when the tablets automatically power down every day. You can also use the Amazon Parent Dashboard to pause the tablet remotely. This was handy when our screenagers were reluctant to put down their tablets.

During testing we found the battery life to be decent, offering hours of use on a single charge – Amazon claims 10 hours. There’s 16GB of internal memory, or you can opt for a beefier 36GB. And there’s an option to whack it up to 1TB using an external memory card. This is quite tricky though, in our experience. We’d say this tablet is great for younger ones, and will last them until their tweens, offering decent value for money.

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Lenovo Tab M10 gen 3 tablet

best kids’ tablets review Lenovo Tab M10 gen 3 tablet
  • Best: Value for money
  • Screen size: 10.6in
  • Internal memory: 64GB
  • Colours: Grey

Those who favour Android and Google are going to feel at home with this Lenovo Tab, as it is indeed an Android device. From a parent’s perspective, this means you have access to Google Kids, which intelligently provides content based on your children’s interests. If you have kids of different ages, fear not – each can have a login on the device.

Setting up the tablet for kids means it looks kid-friendly and keeps them within a safe boundary, showing them only content that’s age appropriate. You can also use Google’s Family Link to monitor usage and what access your kids have to content. This is a great bridge tablet between the world of drop-proof tablets that some kids may feel they’ve outgrown, and the sophisticated world of grown-up tablets. The price of the Lenovo may also be more palatable for those doing the purchasing too!

  1. £209 from Lenovo.com
Prices may vary
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HP Chromebook x2 11 2-in-1 laptop

best kids’ tablets HP Chromebook x2 11 2-in-1 laptop review
  • Best: Hybrid tablet
  • Screen size: 11in
  • Internal memory: 128GB
  • Colours: Silver

Not sure whether your kid needs a grab-and-go tablet for fun or a more serious laptop for work? Well, a hybrid such as the Chromebook x2 11 is just the ticket. It comes with a snap-on keyboard and an integrated stand in the cover, so you can set it up in a laptop configuration, but at 11 inches the screen is still very much tablet-sized. It’s not the zippiest of movers – gamers might find this frustrating – but for streaming and browsing, and dare we say homework, it’s going to do the job nicely. And you can run Microsoft Office or Google Workspace on this tablet, so it should be fairly frustration free.

As this uses a Chrome operating system, it also makes use of the Google Family Link app. Via this app you can monitor and limit your child’s screen uses, as well as find the device. If you have multiple users accessing the Chromebook, everyone will need Google Accounts and although this isn’t rocket science to do, it’s going to be more suitable for older children to flick between accounts than young kids. While not as flashy as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8 (£1,199, Samsung.com), this HP number packs a punch and is a great option if you want something grown up but aren’t part of the Apple ecosystem.

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Amazon Fire HD 8 kids pro tablet

Amazon Fire HD 8 kids pro tablet
  • Best: For older kids
  • Screen size: 8in
  • Internal memory: 32GB
  • Colours: Rainbow universe, hello teal, cyber sky

Check out those colour way names. It’s a dead giveaway that the Fire HD 8 Kids is designed for slightly older kids than the others on this roundup. Indeed, Amazon says it’s ideal for 6-12 year olds, and we tend to agree. The cover is more grown up, for one. It’s less bouncy and more sleek – with added rainbows. The slim case is a welcome relief if you often take your kids’ tablets out and about with you – it fits much more easily into a bag than those big bumper covers. But the cover still has that useful stand that we love to see on Amazon’s kids’ tablets.

Again, this tablet comes with a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+. After that you’ll need to stump up £6.99 per month to get access to it – it doesn’t come included in Amazon Prime, either. However, you’ll probably be sucked in. Or should we say your kids will be sucked in and you’ll just be footing the bill. And as it has an 8in HD screen, no matter what they stream – be that Star Wars, Sonic or Harry Potter – it’ll be in decent quality. There’s also good sound quality thanks to built-in Dolby-Atmos sound. You can also add other apps such as Tik Tok or iPlayer, if you grant access.

The Parent Dashboard on Amazon’s kids’ tablets is one of the best parent control centres we tested. We felt in control and aware of everything our testers were doing on the tablet. It gave us total peace of mind, allowing us to block websites and apps. You can also see their activity and monitor their calls and messages from this dashboard.

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The verdict: Tablets for kids

We really rate the Amazon Fire HD 8 kids. It’s excellent value for money with great display quality, long battery life, and it’s robust enough to withstand even a severe drop/chuck from a child. It is, however, more suitable for slightly younger kids. If you have an older child (and the budget), the iPad 10th gen is absolutely second to none – it’s got everything your teen is going to want, and then some.

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