Childhood has gone high tech and some kids may be even more screen savvy than their parents. According to the non-profit organization Common Sense Media, 42 per cent of children under eight have access to their own tablets.[1] Thinking about getting your little one their own device? We outline the pros and cons of the best tablets for kids under $150 at time of publish.

If you’re shopping for yourself, check out our 7 best Android tablets and specialty models for adults.

Is your child old enough to use a tablet?

For children under two years old, experts suggest avoiding screen time when possible.[2] For children aged two to five, the Canadian Paediatric Society’s recommendations focus on quality more than quantity. They suggest limiting “recreational” screen time—think non-educational games, movies and television—to less than one hour per day.[3][4][5]

That said, kids’ learning tablets and tablets with interactive features can be great educational tools—and if they occupy your kiddo long enough for a little peace and quiet, well, we consider that a win-win.

What are the main types of kids’ tablets?

  • Android tablets are powered by Google’s operating system (OS) and can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or cellular plan.
  • iPads are an alternative to Android tablets. Made by Apple, they run on the company’s iOS software and range in cost from $400 to over $2,000.
  • Drawing tablets, often referred to as graphic tablets, allow kids to sketch or draw on a responsive pad or screen.
  • Learning tablets usually come pre-loaded with educational games and activities and may give you the option to download additional content.
  • Reading tablets, a.k.a. e-Readers, are like digital books where kids can turn each page via tap or swipe.

What kids’ tablet features should you consider?

  • Affordability: Save the high-end tablet or laptop for yourself. Most kids don’t need a tablet with sophisticated software.
  • Durability: Choose a tablet that will withstand your child’s rough-and-tumble lifestyle.
  • Parental controls: The ability to set screen-time limits or restrict internet access is an ideal feature, but you can also purchase apps to do this work.
  • Screen size: A larger screen is easier for everyone to see—especially if more than one child will be using the tablet at once—but it may also be harder to hold and heavier to carry.
  • Connectivity: Will your child be downloading apps or streaming video? A tablet that connects to the internet broadens the scope of what it can be used for.
  • RAM: Young kids aren’t the most patient. More RAM that helps apps load faster will cut down on frustration for everyone.
  • Storage: As your kid becomes more tech-savvy, they’ll undoubtedly want to expand their app catalogue. Extra storage will let them install more apps and take more pictures and videos, prolonging the life of the tablet you decide to buy.
  • Battery life: Be mindful of how often your kid’s tablet will need to be charged.

For more information about shopping for an iPad or tablet for you or your family, visit our tablet buying guide.

 

What type of kids’ tablet are you looking for?

Best Learning Tablet for Kids Ages 1 to 3

LeapFrog My First Learning Tablet – English Version 80-602902

Screen size: 9 inches | Storage capacity: n/a | Weight: 0.75 pounds | Connectivity: n/a

This toddler-appropriate learning tablet doesn’t have a real screen. Instead, it mimics the look and feel of mom and dad’s smartphone with a home button and 20 app icons that introduce letters, numbers, shapes, animals, colours and more. Depending on the mode you set (Explore, Learn or Music), the apps will activate a variety of fun, educational activities.

Pros Cons
The tablet’s surface is washable, so you can easily wipe it down if your child uses it with sticky fingers. The camera icon doesn’t actually take photos so your child may be slightly disappointed if they expect to see a selfie.
Volume controls with two levels and a silent mode mean you won’t have to listen to endless sound loops if you don’t want to. Smaller toddlers may have trouble holding or lifting this tablet on their own due to its size.
When your tot tires of interacting with their tablet, an automatic shut-off saves the battery life for future play.

Best Learning Tablet for Kids Ages 3 to 8

LeapFrog LeapPad Academy – English Version 80-602210

Screen size: 7 inches | Storage capacity: 16 GB | Weight: 1.6 pounds | Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5 mm Jack, Micro USB, Wi-Fi

Learning just got a whole lot more fun. Preloaded with more than 20 educator-approved apps, this LeapFrog learning tablet helps kids develop skills like coding, math, reading, spelling, problem-solving and creativity. Your child’s favourite activities can be saved to the device and played without an internet connection. Plus, dual front- and back-facing cameras are a nice bonus.

Pros Cons
Durable features such as a bumper around the edges and a shatter-safe screen offer protection from inevitable drops and falls. Additional content comes at a one-time cost or requires a subscription.
Parental controls let you set time limits. Plus, you can control the content your little web-surfer can access via LeapSearch, LeapFrog’s kid-friendly web browser. At just over 1.5 pounds, this is the heaviest kids’ tablets on our list.
With seven hours of battery life, this tablet will outlast a long car ride and still have a bit of juice for the return trip.

Best Drawing Tablet for Kids

axGear Color 10-inch LCD Writing Tablet and Drawing Tablet PEN-TAB-COR

Screen size: 10 inches | Storage capacity: n/a | Weight: 0.39 pounds | Connectivity: n/a

For the budding artist who loves to create on the go, this ultra-affordable writing and drawing tablet is the perfect portable, paperless option. With just one stylus pen, your kid has access to countless colours that will look beautiful on screen—without glare getting in the way.

Pros Cons
There’s no charging needed. The LCD tablet can write over 80,000 times (12 to 24 months) before you need to replace the coin-cell battery. Without storage or memory, there’s no way to save and display your little one’s masterpieces.
At just 175 grams, it’s lightweight and easy to tuck into a backpack and be pulled out on school bus rides or lunch breaks. Once your child outgrows the doodle stage, there are no additional features to entertain them.
A handy lock button prevents anyone from accidentally deleting a work in progress.

Best Budget Tablet for Kids

RCA 7” Android 6.0 Tablet RCT6973W43

Screen size: 7 inches | Storage capacity: 16 GB | Weight: 0.62 pounds | Connectivity: 3.5 mm Audio, Bluetooth, Micro USB, Wi-Fi

This affordable tablet offers all the basics you’d want in a kids’ Android tablet, including games, connectivity, storage and a built-in jack for plugging in wired headphones. It’s the perfect starter model, especially if its primary use will be for games. You can shop for additional apps and features via the Google Play store.

Pros Cons
The size and weight are perfect for smaller hands to hold and tote around. The device doesn’t come with a case or screen protector, so you need to purchase them separately.
The front-facing camera allows kids to FaceTime with grandparents and family. The RAM isn’t the highest and the tablet may lag for videos or streaming.
You have the option of expanding storage capacity with the use of a microSD card. The charging cord is short, which may inhibit use while charging.

Best Android Tablet for Kids

Samsung Galaxy Tab A Kids Edition SM-T290NZSKXAC

Screen size: 8 inches | Storage capacity: 32 GB | Weight: 0.76 pounds | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB 2.0

The (virtual) world is at your child’s fingertips with this durable Android tablet, which has a bumper case to protect against drops. With the Samsung Kids interface, your child will have a kid-friendly digital environment with over 10,000 hours of games, educational activities, movies and shows. Plus, you can set limits on time and accessible content. As your child gets older, you can exit Samsung Kids for a full tablet experience, including access to browsers, apps and Google Play.

Pros Cons
The eight-inch screen enhances viewing while balancing the need for portability. Comes with a three-month free trial of Samsung Kids, but you’ll need to subscribe for continuous access to new content weekly.
A long-lasting battery offers 13 hours of use on a full charge. The screen scratches, so you may want to purchase a screen protector.
You can increase storage (up to 512 GB) with a microSD card.

Get Everything You Need

Article Sources

  1. Common Sense Media. Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight.
  2. The Washington Post. World Health Officials Take a Hard Line on Screen Time for Kids.
  3. Canadian Paediatric Society. Screen Time and Young Children: Promoting Health and Development in a Digital World.
  4. Caring for Kids. Screen Time and Digital Media.
  5. Caring for Kids. Screen Time and Young Children.

How we choose products: Simply put, we don’t recommend any products we wouldn’t buy ourselves. Our writers leverage a number of sources as a starting point, including reputable third-party reviews, Walmart.ca user reviews, and Walmart Canada’s category specialists. theHUB editorial staff has final say for all products included in this guide.

Any product claims noted are provided by the manufacturer, unless otherwise stated.

Prices shown are subject to change. Please check Walmart.ca for the latest pricing.

This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.

Melissa is a freelance lifestyle journalist and mama to one. She has written about everything from beauty and health to finance and food for national brands such as Best Health, CBC, Reader's Digest and Refinery 29. When she's not parked in front of her laptop, she can be found playing with her four-year-old daughter, training for a 10K or nurturing her veggie garden (a newfound passion!).