Before Black Friday sales, check out if Kindle Fire versus iPad versus LeapPad is the best for your family.
In our house we are blessed to have an iPad, a Kindle Fire and a Leap Pad, so one of the questions that we often get from parents and other homeschoolers is, “Which one is best for my kids (or to use for homeschool)?”
It’s a valid question because (obviously) each one of these is an investment for the family. Since we’ve had extensive experience will all of them, I’ve broken down the functionality of each of them and compared them so hopefully it will be helpful if you’re trying to decide which one to buy for your family.
Kindle Fire for Kids
One of my favorite things about the Kindle Fire is that there are so many free books that you can access! For example, if your kid is into Minecraft, there is an entire set of FREE Minecraft books that you can download for your Kindle. And, you can also lend and borrow books from other Kindle users that you know, along with sharing within your family.
If you’re looking for a tablet that will facilitate learning, studies and reading, then the Kindle Fire is amazing for that. Amazon boasts 38 million shows, movies, songs, books, games, apps and more that can all be accessed on the Kindle. (Yes, you can play games on the Kindle!)
In my opinion, the Kindle Fire is best for kids age seven and up. Although you can buy protective cases, the Kindle Fire is a little more fragile than the LeapPad. There is an option for younger kids with the Fire Kids Edition and Kid-Proof Case that starts at $79.99.
Amazon has a great Kindle Fire that starts at $49.99 right now. If you’re looking to get your feet wet with a tablet (or even just try out a Kindle), this is a great deal.
Your entire family can definitely benefit from a Kindle and your child can grow with it.
iPad for Kids
We have a regular sized iPad, but if I were going for an iPad now for my daughter, I would buy the new iPad Mini 4. I think the size is perfect for kid hands.
The iPad Mini is definitely an investment, starting at $399 for the 16GB version. So, I find that price point alone best for older kids or for a family that is going to share this tablet.
One of the best things about an iPad is that Apple has an 850,000 app library (and growing daily). So, the chances of finding what you want for your kid is pretty high. In fact, my daughter uses several learning apps (like Spanish and math) as part of our homeschool learning.
Something that many people don’t know about iPad is that you can still read Amazon books on one. So, almost anything that you can read through a Kindle, you can read on an iPad. That’s another argument for iPad– you get the benefit of all the iPad apps, plus the Kindle library.
LeapPad for Kids
LeapPad is a great way to introduce a tablet to your kid and the latest from LeapFrog is the LeapPad Platinum. At around $129, it is pricey, but may make up for it in other ways — like the durability. My kid’s LeapPad had been dropped, kicked (accidentally) and everything in between and it did not even effect the tablet — cosmetically or the software.
Another great thing about LeapFrog is that they work with educators to provide the games for their LeapPads, so there a A LOT of good, educational and fun games, videos, books and music. The 1,000 app library is way less than the Kindle and iPad, but it is more focused on children’s education. However, you do have to buy extras, like the games and cards (depending on what version of LeapPad you are using) and they can be pricey. For example, the LeapFrog PAW Patrol Imagicard that works with the LeapPad Platinum runs around $19 for that one game.
The LeapPads are great for ages 2-9, but if your kid is accustomed to working with more advanced tablets like the iPad, then they may grow out of the LeapPad quickly. However, if they are new to tablets and between ages two and nine, then I definitely recommend starting with a LeapPad tablet.
Final Tablet Recommendations for Kids
Based on our experience with Kindle, iPad and LeapPad, I would recommend:
The LeapPad Platinum if your child is between the ages of 2-6. I think anything above that, and they start to grow out of the look and feel of the LeapPad. At seven, my daughter will occasionally play with her LeapPad, but uses her iPad daily.
If your goal is to have your child use the tablet for reading and books, then definitely go with the Kindle Fire. Like I said, you can also gain access to a lot of free books and lend and borrow books, too.
If your child is a little older (8 or 9 and above) and you are game for making the investment, the iPad is definitely a tablet that will grow with your child — especially if they want the ability to play games along with make and watch videos.
What tablet is working for your family? Leave your experiences in the comments for other readers to benefit! We’d love to hear from you!
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