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The Best Toddler Tablets Are Packed With Educational Games and Can Survive Anything

It's learning, disguised as fun and games.

Sure, you may have been content as a child with a bat and ball, but for youngsters growing up today, a toddler tablet might as well be his or her right hand. (Hell, it’s probably your child’s left hand, with the right swiping and tapping away.) Whether parents like it or not, the internet is an inescapable part of preschooler lives, and since you can’t cram that genie back in the bottle, you might as well harness these devices’ unique captivating powers. Therefore, when selecting a toddler tablet, pick one with a learning component. Lucky for you, when it comes to these learning tablets, they’ve been packed full of robust features to give children a bump in education while also including built-in tools to protect tender eyes from unsavory content. (That’s especially valuable, since remote learning, in some form or another, is a reality for most pre-k kids these days.)

When choosing a tablet for your toddler, it’s important to get one that’s age-appropriate and easy to use. A 1-year-old doesn’t need an iPad (or even internet access, for that matter). You don’t want to invest a ton of cash in something that will be thrown around in the car or go missing during a sleepover at grandma’s house, yet you want something that will survive myriad drops, falls, and kicks. Pre-installed learning games are a huge bonus. Most of all, if you get a WiFi-enabled tablet, you want a one that has parental controls, so you can monitor if they go online and which sites they see, what games they’re playing, and how much time they spend doing both of those things.

Every parent handles screen time differently and it’s worth noting that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 2 to 5 have no more than one hour a day of screen time and that the hour be limited to high-quality programming. These modern preschool tablets for toddlers disguise STEM learning, reading, and even music in packages and apps that your children will love. As such, they’re a great way of imparting foundational learning by way of fun and games.

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The Best Tablets for 1-Year-Olds

Another tablet in name only, this one lets kids press buttons and hear sounds and music. The camera is a pretend one, and the tablet has color, number, and shape learn modes. Kids can also create their own music, which is a pretty nifty feature.

Think of this durable wooden toy as a primer for your child's first real tablet in a few years. With each touch of an app-like icon, one of 150 sounds and melodies come out, including colors, numbers, and first words in three different languages. Beyond the entertainment, it also helps develop fine motor skills.

Parts of this toy will teach your child foundational skills like numbers, the alphabet, and objects. But other parts are just fun, including a whack-a-mole game that will keep your child enthralled for hours.

The Best Tablets for 2-Year-Olds

Another tablet in name only, this one lets kids press buttons and hear sounds and music. The camera is a pretend one, and the tablet has color, number, and shape learn modes. Kids can also create their own music, which is a pretty nifty feature.

For young kids who dig PBS, this tablet comes preloaded with 23 educational games and 120 video clips. You get a seven-inch screen, roughly 6.5 hours of battery life, 16GB internal storage plus a microSD slot, and, of course, parental controls. You can download apps, games, movies, music and eBooks from Google Play.

The Best Tablets for 3-Year-Olds

If you own a Fire tablet from Amazon, get thyself this kit. It's loaded with preschool lessons, teaching kids letter formation, numbers, phonics, and colors. Kids follow along with the app, but then get hands-on learning using the Osmo pad and the sticks and rings. For example, a cute character on the app tells kids that M is for mouse, and they create a mouse on the Osmo pad. Plus, they can play dress-up with gender-neutral characters, and a ton of other great stuff.

This Android-based tablet is pre-loaded with 20+ educational apps and creativity tools designed by LeapFrog learning experts, and gives kids access to LeapSearch, LeapFrog’s kid-friendly browser. You get a three month trial of the learning program LeapFrog Academy. The tablet has 16GB storage plus a MicroSD slot for expandable memory up to 32GB. Parents can go in and set time limits and choose which apps or websites can be used on up to three profiles. You get seven hours' of battery life.

Amazon's latest kid-centric tablet has all the durability of the line thanks to the rubberized bumper around its frame. It arrives pre-programmed with parental controls and a two-year, no-questions-asked warranty for peace of mind. The seven-inch display is vibrant as it plays any one of over 20,000 apps, games, books, videos, songs, and Audible books through the included year of Amazon Kids+.

So what do you get for an extra $50? A premium viewing experience for your child, with an eight-inch high-definition display, along with up to a terabyte of expandable storage. (No longer will you have to worry about your child running out of things to do before you arrive at your destination.) But you'll also receive the same guarantee and access to Kids+. If the Fire 7 is the best tablet for kids, then the HD 8 is the best tablet-plus.