Best iPad for Kids – Complete Buying Guide for Parents

Selecting the right iPad for your child can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many options to choose from, it’s tough to figure out where to begin. In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to consider when purchasing an iPad for your kid. From durability and parental controls to educational apps and creative features, we’ll break down all the key factors that go into choosing the best iPad for children of all ages.

Benefits of iPads for Kids

The iPad has become an incredibly popular device for children in recent years. With its intuitive touchscreen interface, multitudes of kid-friendly apps and portable size, the iPad offers a safe and engaging device that both educates and entertains. For many parents, the benefits outweigh the cons.

The iPad encourages interactive learning through educational apps and games. Creative apps allow kids to draw, compose music, or code their projects. iPads can also occupy children during long car rides or flights, making them the perfect travel companion. While screen time should still be monitored, the iPad provides a versatile tool for play, education and creativity.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an iPad for Kids

Determining which iPad model best suits your child’s needs depends on several key factors. The child’s age is the most important, as younger and older children have different requirements. You’ll also want to consider budget, durability, parental control needs, processing power and storage space.

1. Child’s Age

The child’s age is the number one consideration when selecting an iPad, as it determines many of the required features.

  • 3-5 year olds

For very young children in the 3-5 year age range, you’ll want to prioritize durability, parental controls and easy-to-learn apps. A rugged protective case is highly recommended to prevent damage if dropped. Look for models like the iPad 10th gen that support Apple’s Guided Access feature to limit your child to one app at a time. Focus on educational, interactive apps to encourage learning letters, numbers, and concepts. The lower-priced iPad 10th gen provides solid performance at just $399.

  • 6-9 year olds

As children reach the 6-9 year age range, you can consider models with more versatility. These children have longer attention spans and can manage more complex apps and activities. The iPad 10th gen or iPad Air 5th gen are good options here. The regular iPad is the cheapest at $399, while the Air offers a more powerful chip and sleeker design for just $599. Aim for at least 32GB storage for saving photos, videos and larger apps. Screen size and weight are more important at this age too. The 10.9” display and 1 pound weight make the standard iPad easy to handle.

  • 10 years old and up

By age 10+, children can take advantage of even more advanced iPad capabilities. The iPad Air 5th gen, 11” iPad Pro and 12.9” iPad Pro become ideal for older kids’ needs. The iPad Pro models feature the powerful M2 chip, Face ID, four stereo speakers and up to 16GB RAM. This enables productivity apps, high-res image editing, Garageband music creation and advanced gaming capabilities. Kids can even connect a keyboard for written schoolwork. With 128GB or even 512GB storage options, there’s room for endless apps, videos, photos and other content.

2. Budget

Budget is a major factor when selecting the right iPad. Current models range widely in price, from $399 for the entry-level 10th gen iPad to $1099 for the 12.9” iPad Pro. Determine how much you can reasonably spend, then determine the best model that fits within your budget. Lower-priced iPads like the 10th-generation model make a great starter iPad for younger kids and basic usage. For older children who will use the iPad for school, creative projects, gaming or productivity apps, it makes sense to spend a little more for added features and capabilities.

best ipad for kids

Features to Consider 

Along with your budget and your child’s age, there are several key iPad features to factor in.

1. Screen size and resolution

Consider your child’s primary iPad activities and portability needs. For young children, the 10.2” display of the iPad 10th gen is a good starter size. For older kids using the iPad for more creative endeavors, illustration and design apps, the 11” or 12.9” Pro models provide expansive canvas space. However, the larger Pro models are more cumbersome to transport, so the easily portable 10.2” iPad or 10.9” iPad Air are better for travel. Retina displays provide incredibly sharp, true-to-life visuals.

2. Performance

Processing power determines how smoothly apps run and how much multitasking potential the iPad has. Look at chip specifications like the A14 Bionic in the iPad Air or M2 chip in the latest iPad Pro models. These deliver desktop-class performance for smooth workflow. Comparatively, the A14 chip in the base iPad 10th gen model still provides capable performance for kids’ apps. Match processing power to your child’s usage -creativity and productivity apps demand more power.

3. Durability

Durability should be front of mind when selecting an iPad for kids, who are prone to drops and spills. Protective cases are a must, with heavy-duty options like the Otterbox Defender case providing the best shock protection. Also look for water resistance, like the IP67 rating found in newer iPad models. For the clumsiest kids, investing in AppleCare+ for accidental damage coverage may save you money in the long run.

4. Battery life

Battery life becomes essential if your child will be using the iPad during long car rides, flights or for all-day entertainment. The latest iPad models boast impressive all-day battery life up to 10 hours for video watching or web browsing. Actual battery life depends on usage – gaming and streaming drain the battery faster.

5. Camera quality

If your child will be using the iPad for video calls, selfies or photography projects, camera quality deserves consideration. Most iPad models feature decent rear cameras, but the Pros have the most advanced camera systems with 12 megapixels and advanced lenses. Kids won’t care as much about camera specs, so basic quality should suffice in most cases.

6. Accessories

Don’t overlook helpful accessories when purchasing an iPad for your child. A sturdy case is mandatory for protecting against drops, while screen protectors guard against scratches. Styluses are great for drawing apps, while keyboard cases can transform an iPad into a laptop for typing practice and schoolwork. Headphones allow kids to keep their audio to themselves. There’s a massive range of kid-friendly accessories available for whatever their needs may be.

Best iPads for Kids – Comparing Models

Now that we’ve covered the key factors to weigh when choosing an iPad for your child, how do the various iPad models compare? Here’s a brief overview of the capabilities of each iPad model:

iPad 9th Generation

  • 10.2” Retina display
  • A13 Bionic chip (good performance for education apps and games)
  • Up to 256GB storage
  • 8MP Wide rear camera
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • Lightning connector
  • Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 1st Gen
  • From $329

The standard 9th generation iPad represents the most affordable iPad option. The 10.2” screen strikes a nice balance between portability and display size. Performance easily handles learning apps, light gaming, web browsing and streaming video. It misses features like the laminated display, 120Hz ProMotion and M-series chips of the pricier models, but still provides solid capabilities for kids and basic usage.

iPad 10th Generation

  • 10.9″ Liquid Retina display
  • A14 Bionic chip (excellent performance and efficiency)
  • Up to 256GB storage
  • 12MP Wide back camera
  • Landscape stereo speakers
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • USB-C connector
  • Touch ID home button
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 1st Gen
  • From $449

The newest 10th generation iPad improves upon the 9th gen with a larger 10.9” Liquid Retina display, landscape stereo speakers, A14 chip and USB-C connector while still starting at just $449. The A14 Bionic chip provides snappy performance for demanding apps and games. This makes the 10th generation model an ideal iPad for kids who want more capabilities and features without jumping to the iPad Air or Pro price points. It can handle productivity and creativity needs better than the 9th gen thanks to the faster A14 chip.

iPad Mini 6th Generation

  • 8.3” Liquid Retina display
  • A15 Bionic chip (blazing fast performance)
  • Up to 256GB storage
  • 12MP Wide camera
  • Landscape stereo speakers
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • USB-C connector
  • Touch ID home button
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2nd Gen
  • From $499

The iPad Mini 6th gen packs tremendous capabilities into its ultra-portable 8.3” design. The A15 Bionic chip delivers faster performance than the iPad Air or 10th-generation iPad. The edge-to-edge screen design looks stunning yet fits easily in bags. Older kids who want laptop-like performance for creative apps and multitasking in a super compact form factor will love the iPad Mini. It’s pricier but ideal for portability.

iPad Air 5th Generation

  • 10.9″ Liquid Retina display with True Tone
  • M1 chip (desktop-class performance)
  • Up to 256GB storage
  • 12MP Wide camera
  • Landscape stereo speakers
  • Up to 10 hours battery life
  • USB-C connector
  • Touch ID power button
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2nd Gen
  • From $599

Step up to the iPad Air 5th gen and you get a huge performance boost from Apple’s M1 chip, also found in the latest MacBooks. The thin, elegant design weighs just 1 pound like the 10th gen iPad. It adds bonuses like compatibility with the 2nd gen Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard case. This combination of portability and high performance makes the iPad Air a versatile pick for older kids and students for more intensive work and play.

iPad Pro 12.9” (5th Generation)

  • 12.9″ Liquid Retina XDR display
  • M2 chip (most advanced processor)
  • Up to 2TB storage
  • 12MP Wide + 10MP Ultra Wide cameras
  • Four stereo speakers + dynamic head tracking
  • Up to 10 hours of battery life
  • Thunderbolt connector
  • Face ID facial recognition
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2nd Gen
  • From $1099

The 12.9” iPad Pro sits at the top of the lineup, offering elite performance and a massive, brilliant display. The M2 chip blows away all competitors in speed and efficiency. The 12.9” mini-LED screen looks stunning with 1600 nits peak brightness and smooth 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate. Five studio-quality microphones make it great for content creation or music recording. If you have an older student interested in illustration, design, photography or music production, the iPad Pro offers desktop-caliber capabilities in a portable package.

Tips for Choosing and Using an iPad for Kids

Beyond just picking the right iPad model, there are some additional tips for choosing and setting up an iPad that’s customized to your child’s needs. Here are some important considerations around parental controls, apps, accessories and more.

ipad for children

a) Parental Controls

One of the first things you should do is set up parental controls on the iPad to manage screen time limits, restrict explicit content and prevent access to certain apps.

Apple includes a robust set of parental control tools called Screen Time. You can set daily time limits for app categories, limit specific app usage, block explicit content and more. Restrict purchases and downloads to prevent unwanted spending and app acquisition. Make sure to protect these restrictions with a parent passcode so your child can’t override them.

For even more control over your child’s iPad activities, third-party parental control services like Qustodio offer additional capabilities like location tracking, text message monitoring and web filtering. These provide extra peace of mind, especially for kids who need closer supervision.

b) Educational Apps & Resources

The App Store offers a wealth of excellent apps for kids focused on education, creativity and discovery. Take time to explore top-rated options and curate a set of apps and games you feel good about. Some great options to consider across different age ranges include:

  • Khan Academy Kids – fun math and reading lessons 4+
  • Endless Alphabet/Endless Reader – interactive word learning 3+
  • Kodable – programming puzzles 6+
  • Toca Boca apps – open play for creativity 4+
  • The Oregon Trail – classic edutainment 5+
  • GarageBand – music creation 10+
  • Minecraft – creativity and problem-solving 8+

Subscribe to Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass for unlimited access to curated games and apps for a monthly fee.

Also check out Apple’s Today at Apple sessions for free classes on photography, art, coding and music hosted at Apple retail stores and online.

c) Creative Apps & Activities

The iPad lends itself perfectly to fueling your child’s creativity and passion projects. Here are some great iPad apps and accessories for arts, design, music and more:

  • Procreate – professional drawing and painting
  • Adobe Photoshop Sketch – digital illustration
  • GarageBand – compose music and record songs
  • Swift Playgrounds – learn to code through interactive lessons
  • iMovie – film editing for homemade movies
  • Lego Building Instructions – unlock new Lego creations
  • Apple Pencil – take analog scribbles and art digital
  • Logitech Crayon – inexpensive stylus for drawing

d) Safety & Security

Keep your child safe while using their iPad with these tips:

  • Set up the Find My app to locate a lost iPad
  • Use iCloud Backup to protect data and settings
  • Enable two-factor authentication for your and your child’s Apple ID
  • Frequently update iOS software and apps for security patches
  • Don’t save credit card info on the iPad
  • Talk to kids about being smart online and avoiding suspicious links/messages
  • Use a VPN service to keep web browsing more secure on public WiFi

e) Accessories

Accessories can enhance the experience and protect your investment. Here are some to consider:

  • Durable case – Otterbox and Speck make solid protective cases.
  • Screen protector – prevents scratches and cracks.
  • Headphones – for private listening so as not to disturb others.
  • Stylus – makes drawing, writing and precision work easier.
  • Keyboard – useful for writing papers, emails and other productivity.

Conclusion

Choosing an iPad tailored to your child’s needs and interests may require some research and planning. But the investment is well worth it for a device that educates, entertains and inspires kids of all ages. Take your time to weigh the different models based on age, usage needs and budget.

Pick iPad features that align with how your child will interact with the device. And customize the setup with proper parental controls, enriching apps and accessories. With due diligence, you’re sure to find just the right iPad to delight your kid.

Read: How to Resolve – iPad Screen Not Responding to Touch

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