What’s the best tablet for kids?

Children love tablets, and that can be a problem: you don't necessarily want the little ones playing with £400 of expensive electronics, and even the toughest tablet is no match for the destructive power of small children. So how can you make sure you've got the right tablet for your child?

There are two options: child-proof a grown-up tablet, or buy something more suitable for children. The first option is the most flexible, because it means you still have a proper tablet: simply fitting a protective case and a screen protector and activating parental controls can make an iPad considerably more child-friendly. It's expensive, though, because you're buying additional bits over and above the cost of your iPad. Those Toy Story ebooks soon add up too.

Another option is to buy a more rugged or more disposable device. The AndyPad is no iPad, but at £129 (£179 for the pro version) it's one of the cheapest tablets around and its seven-inch screen is perfectly child-friendly. You wouldn't buy one to replace a laptop, but it's perfectly capable of keeping the kids happy - although of course you'll need to shell out extra for suitable apps for them to use.

An even cheaper option might be a tablet designed specifically for kids such as the LeapPad Explorer, which is designed for children aged four to nine. At £79.99 £129.99 it's only slightly more expensive than an iPad case, and pundits predict that it's going to be one of the top toys this Christmas: not only does it do ebooks and games, but it's also got a built-in camera, video recorder and animation studio.

It's not all good, though: those four AA batteries won't last long, and additional games can be pricey: according to PC Advisor, typical LeapPad games "start at £3.50 and many are £5 or even £7.50". Then again, a typical premium tablet is £400 before you buy any apps, so you'd need to buy a lot of games before you're losing out financially.

List Price: £79.99 GBP
New From: £65.05 In Stock
Used from: £19.99 In Stock
Release date August 15, 2011.

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