Today the world of technology is bigger than ever before. Technology can be found in (almost) any daily activity, from playing sports to reading and writing. This giant growth of the technology that we use is influencing the development of our children.
How many times do you hear about so called “tablet schools”? Or you read that kids completed their writing exams on a computer?
Research shows that all new technological means that have become available for children have a positive influence on their development. Researchers at the University in Twente have concluded that in most cases where kids are studying digitally through a tablet or computer for their exams, are more likely to achieve better results than kids who only did written exams and learned through the reading of books.
Which tablets and gadgets are the most fun in the different age categories?
Kids & technology
They will be introduced, but that doesn’t mean you can’t guide them. What kind of technology is appropriate per age group?
Kids ages 2 to 4: playing and discovering!
Choose for the real learning tablet instead of an Ipad and exchange this with physical activities like an activity table or a tricycle.
Kids ages 4 to 6: learning safely!
It’s time for them to explore your old tablet. Just make sure you put any child safety blocks on the tablet. Exchange for toys to build with or with outside play.
Kids ages 6 to 10: online in the world!
A tablet is still fun, but now the need for a laptop arises for things like school work. Make sure you exchange online and offline play.
Kids ages 10 to 16: getting their own device!
This is the age where most kids get their own Smartphone. Continuous online activity and less parental guidance. Try to let it go and give your child some responsibility of their own.
What are the best tablets for kids ages 2 to 4?
In this age category they are not ready for a real tablet, however a special tablet for young kids would work very well.
- LeapPad 3($139.92) Leapfrog tabloids are very famous among children and given that they only produce tabloids for kids- the specialization makes their product significantly superior than most of their competitors
- Vtech InnoTabMax ($109.99) It has MP3 and child safe WIFI feature coupled with enjoyable and creativity enhancing apps. Kids can learn a great deal from it.
What are the best gadgets for kids ages 2 to 4?
- Any activity table with a lot of movement and color stimulation
- Walking bike or tricycle, traditional and fun for a young child
What are the best tablets for kids ages 4 to 6?
The kids are not ready for a fully equipped laptop, but this might more likely be the fase where they learn more from a fully equipped tablet than from a kid’s tablet.
- In most cases people have their old Ipad lying around, which around this age is a great choice for your child to practice on. However some are only used to the Android tablets, which in that case I would recommend
- An android tabled from a brand like Samsung, Lenovo and many others.
What are the best gadgets for kids ages 4 to 6?
The main activity is usually educative playing, good gadgets could be:
- Big Lego blocks, which van be great for learning motor skills while building.
- A soccer or basketball net, to play outside for plenty of physical activities.
What are the best tablets for kids ages 6 to 10?
This is the age where most kids start their online journey. A tablet might not be enough for your child, considering their school work. A laptop is an easier use for school work than a tablet. It gives you more control than a desktop computer which is put in their room.
What are the best gadgets for kids ages 6 to 10?
- Lego, this is great for building cool things together or separate.
- Play mobile, use your imagination to build anything you would like.
What are the best mobile devices for kids ages 10 to 16?
These kids will most definitely need a laptop for school. All their homework will happen online. Although around this age they might feel the need to have their own smart phone as well.
A good option would be the old phone that you have laying around somewhere. Another option would be to choose a phone which is easy to use.
What are the best gadgets for kids ages 10 to 16?
Try not to go for the expensive stuff all the time. Appreciation for small and attentive gifts can bring you a long way. Besides, schooling these days is expensive enough as it is!
Tablets for children between the ages of 2 and 4:
It is generally known that children of young ages learn the fastest.
If you introduce kids between the ages of 2 and 4 to technological advances, they won’t just enjoy it but they will actually learn a lot from it. Usually smart phones and “normal” tablets are still too complicated for them, so the most logical choice would be to choose for a special tablet called a kids tablet.
Kid’s tablets usually run an Android operating system and have a child safe environment. The tablets often contain fun and educational games that are completely focused on children. It is also easier for parent to check your child’s activity on the tablet itself, this is easier because the tablet contains a pre set parental view function.
At the moment there is a relatively big amount of choices of kid’s tablets available. De prices vary quite a bit, but usually it ranges between 50-250 dollars. Example of a good quality tablet is the Amazon fire tablet.
Being termed as the Best Budget Tablet, Amazon Fire is priced at $49.99 when reviewed. Since its release, Amazon Fire has been the go-to choice for many customers. Though these tablets are based on Android but they are not Android tablets. They don’t have any Google App but you can use Google services through Silicon Web Browser. Coming to the range, it is comparatively lower than other tablets with similar specs but you will also see advertisements for products on the lock screen
Even though we mention having a tablet for your child to help the development is a great opportunity, a child this age should not be staring at a screen the whole day.
An organization called “kennisnet” has done research about the influence on health hazards and concludes that kids ages 2 to 4 should only spend a maximum time of 30 minutes on a tablet per day.
There is no need to apply to these rules to the point, but it is something to keep in mind.
Gadgets for children ages 2 to 4.
Kids this age love trying and exploring new things, because of this we have two ‘non technical’ gadgets who can be a lot of fun and also very educational.
The first one is the VTech Magic Star Learning table.
A small table full of fun stuff for your child to explore and learn about. It has a steering wheel, a cell phone with dials and a small piano that plays music and lights up. This means that you child will be entertained and at the same time is exposed to new ways of learning colors, shapes and numbers.
Another gadget we like to recommend is a tricycle or a walking bike. This really helps with motor skills to help develop balance. It also introduces your child to his very first bike.
Tablets for children ages 4 to 6
For kids ages 4 to 6 years old you might want to ask yourself the following question: how far is my child’s development on technological area? You have to be strict on this one, sometimes parents consider their child to be very far in the development. This is normal because it is after all your own child, and you raise them yourself.
Try to let go of this thought in order to answer it realistically. If you think your child has not been in much contact with technological gadgets, or your child has been in contact at all with the new developments of our age, we do recommend in this case continuing using a kids tablet. This is because it will make the step to using a “regular” tablet easier.
Kids this age are often fast when it comes to learning new things, because of this you may choose to let your child play on a kids tablet until the age of around 4 or 5 years, depending on your child’s developments. After this, and if you think your child is ready, you can take that step to start using a regular tablet. If in your opinion your child is far ahead in the developmental area, you might want to consider starting to use the regular tablet right away.
But what does it mean when we say “regular tablet” and what is the difference? The most used description for a regular tablet is: “a tablet is a portable device with a touch screen to control the tablet with.”
To put it in more simple words, it is a mini computer which is controllable through a touch screen.
Often, these tablets for kids ages 4 to 6 are more easy to use than regular computers, because they can touch every button on the keyboard, which on a tablet they don’t have to use either keyboard or mouse.
The most well known tablet around is the Apple Ipad. The Apple Ipad runs the iOS- operating system and is of course designed by the Apple Company itself. However, we do not recommend kids this age use the Ipad if this is child is used to using a special kid’s tablet.
Why do we not recommend the iPad?
Because kids tablet almost always operate using an Android operating system, and the difference between Android and iOS systems are very big. Because of this, your child might have a complete different experience on the iOS tablet than on an Android run tablet. Your child would have to almost completely re-learn how to use this device, which could be a bit frustrating.
Which tablet do we recommend instead? The market for buying a kids tablet relatively big, however the market for “regular” tablets is quite a bit bigger. If you don’t have a lot of knowledge of these technological advances that companies use to advertise their product with, you might get overwhelmed by it all.
Choosing a tablet always depends on the budget you can work with, but we will assume for now that we have the financial means to buy your average tablet. The best advice we can give is to choose a tablet that comes from a well known brand, think of Samsung or Levono.
These companies have become big because of a reason: the products they offer are relatively medium to a good quality. This way you can be sure that you are buying a tablet which will continue to work after a certain amount of time and you won’t be buying a new one any time soon.
Another advantage to choosing a tablet from a bigger brand is that you will be able to find much more information about the device than if you would buy a tablet from a smaller brand. In case you needed help with anything, this would make it much easier to search for answers online.
Try to use the Childs age category while searching so that the tablet will have good “parental guidance” availability. This way you will be able to choose what your child will encounter while playing, and you will be in control over what your child does with the device.
Performance wise you would not have to worry while buying a tablet from a bigger brand, a child will play things on a tablet which the device will be well able to run.
As we mentioned before in this article, we still have to be careful with the fact that looking at a screen for too long can be damaging for children. The organization “kennisnet” advices to limit screen time for kid’s ages 4 to 6 at a maximum of 1 hour per day.
Because of this we wanted to offer 2 “non technological” gadgets for children. These are still fun and educational.
Gadgets for children ages 4 to 6:
The first “gadget” everyone will know: Lego Duplo.
A set of Duplo exists of big building blocks for a child to choose what he/she wants to build. We advise to start with these blocks before moving up to the also well known Lego blocks, because these are smaller and therefore more dangerous for children who sometimes like to put things in their mouths.
A small set of Duplo blocks is available for around 20 dollars, this will give your child hours of play fun and will definitely stimulate your child’s creativity.
Another fun “gadget” can be one of those goals to put up outside and play soccer or basketball! They come in different shapes and sizes and are ideal for burning energy. Kids generally love these kinds of games and give parents an opportunity to play along.
It is also incredibly healthy to play outside in the fresh air, get some physical activity and stimulate motor skills. Sounds perfect right?
Tablets/computers for Children aged 6 to 10
A child in this category is often quite developed in the technological area, maybe even further than his/hers parents. Children this age are in a certain grade and will have had the ability to study or take tests digitally.
Your child may even have done tests on the computer or have gotten homework that had to be done on a tablet. Your child might also be interested in social platforms like Twitter and WhatsApp.
We think it might be a bit early for that.
We recommend children in this age category to use Tablets, computers laptops and eventually a normal phone, not a smart phone. We have already given information about tablets in this article, but we have not yet talked about laptops and computers.
Let us first explain the following: a computer is exactly the same as a laptop, the only thing is that a laptop is portable and you can put it wherever you like. A laptop also doesn’t require separate items like the screen, the mouse and the keyboard. On the other hand a computer has things that the laptop might lack or has less of, like the performance level.
Our opinion is that a laptop would suit children between 6 and 10 very nicely. This is because children don’t usually need a fast or extra strong computer to do the things that they want to do on the laptop.
With a laptop, parents have more control over what their kids do on the device, you could ask your child to sit next to you on the couch, with their laptop in their lap.
The question is, which laptop would be the best choice?
Choosing a laptop is about the same process as choosing a tablet, the market is full of hem. But with laptops it’s usually easier to make a choice. This is because usually you have an idea in mind about if you want a smaller laptop, what the color might be and what you want to use the laptop for and so on.
For children in this age category, we recommend choosing a smaller laptop with an Intel Core processor, minimal an i3. This last part may sound a big strange if you have little knowledge about laptops and specifications. Putting it simple it means that you have to purchase with a processor (‘kind of a motor who drives the program’) from the brand Intel (mostly this is the best one that comes out of the tests) with a minimum of three cores, that’s why we said i3.
Three cores mean that the laptop can run three programs at the same time on the same power. It means that the laptops can’t run more than three, but with four or more programs the performance will be less.
The best advice we can give with regards to choosing a laptop is again the same one we said when you are choosing a tablet: choose a laptop offered by a large brand. This reassures you that the laptop won’t suddenly break and you will not lose important files or e-mails.
Asus, Acer and Levono are good choices when buying a laptop. If you would like your child to become an “Apple-child” you might want to consider buying an Apple Macbook. We only advice this if you and your family are frequent users of the Apple control program.
If this is not the case, we strongly advice to choose a Windows run laptop. Keep in mind that Apple laptops are significantly pricier than Windows laptops (an Apple laptop will cost you around 1000 dollars).
We also briefly discussed “regular” phones. For parents it is very handy to be able to reach your child when they are out and about. Simple mobile phones are the best resolution for this goal. A child will be able to text and call and the phones are easy in use. But why not buy a smart phone?
When you think of smart phones, you think about social media. Kids between 6 and 10 years old can gain very easy access to social media through these smart phones. They will be able to post things that they might later regret, because they don’t quite know how big the influence will be when posting these messages.
Therefore, we feel like it could be possible quite ‘dangerous’ for kids this age to use smart phones.
Gadgets for children aged 6 to 10:
Of course children this age have to do things other than constantly being occupied by technology and digital games. The, in our opinion, best gadget for kids this age are still toys in the shape of Lego and Playmobil. You just can’t get it wrong with these toys, a child can do and make whatever they want and it will be educational as well.
Also the prices of these toys are reasonable and parents are easily invited to play along with the child while building the creation of their dreams.
Another tip would be to play old school board games like, ‘Cluedo’ or ‘Who is who’. These games are fun for the whole family because the ending is always different and the kids will really have to think about how they might be able to win the game.
Research has shown that playing these kinds of games will increase insight cause kids to have less trouble with so called ‘insight situations’ in life. Another advantage of playing these games is that they learn to work together.
Children this age are not the best at being a good loser and playing these games often helps a child to learn how to cope with feelings like frustration.
Enough reasons to buy your family a nice board game to play on a Sunday evening!
Smart phones for children ages 10 to 16:
Finally, the kids between the age of 10 and 16; the teenagers. The most popular gadget for teenagers in this age category is by far the smart phone. If you walk along the street you will see teenagers with smart phones in their hands everywhere, it is almost impossible to think otherwise.
This age group is mostly focused on their ‘social status’ and others opinion about them, the smart phone and its social media is naturally a part of that.
Like we said about children aged 6 to 10, sometimes they have more knowledge about technology than their parents.
Some parents don’t like the feeling of this; they think they don’t have any control over the use of the smart phone, computer and tablet that belong to their kids. However, this does not have to be the case, but we will get back to that later. First we will give you some more information about the smart phone and which might be the right one for you to purchase for your child.
What is a Smart phone? To answer this question it helps to know the complete definition of the word: “a mobile phone with lots of capacities that a computer also contains, like e-mail, internet, text documents and so on. Smart phones usually run an Android operating system, with lots of different apps to download”
A smart phone can be very handy for your child. He/she can communicate with others, look up information and use it to find their way around, just to name a few.
To be able to use this you have to have a phone plan with a so called internet bundle, because you are using the internet after all. Most phone plans already contain a bundle like that but you have to keep an eye on it when choosing a bundle.
Now the only question that remains is; which smart phone do I choose?
Most kids this age are independent enough to choose their own smart phone. They often already have an idea which one they would like because they might have seen one of their friends use it. If we have to give you just one piece of advice for choosing a smart phone; choose a Samsung smart phone or an Apple smart phone. Both types’ smart phones pass the tests as one of the best and are known for a reasonable price quality ratio. If your budget is on the smaller side, you should definitely choose a Samsung smart phone. Is your budget on the larger side? Choose an Apple smart phone.
If you are buying a separate smart phone and your phone plan with a different company, always check if the smart phone you are buying is sim-lock free. If you have purchased a sim-locked phone, stop by your local phone company to get the phone unlocked.
Now, back to the issue where you, as a parent, feel like you don’t have any control over the use of your child’s technological stuff. Of course there are people who say that you have to release your child a bit at this age, especially when it comes to these topics.
Luckily, schools are educating the children these days about the use of social media and its possible dangers. However, we do understand that you want that little bit of control about your child. There are a few things you as a parent can do to keep the control of what your child may do on the internet.
For example, you are able to block certain websites on your child’s device, which prevent your child from accessing these. You can also follow your child on the media platforms that he/she uses, so that you are able to see their activities and pick up on anything unusual they might post.
The best way to keep control is to sit down with your child and talk about the rules that you put up for their use of their device, you could say that your child can only access their smart phone up to 2 hours a day.
Maybe the best way to let go of the control, especially with kids around the age of 14, 15, may be to trust them.
Gadgets for children ages 10 to 16
You could as a parent purchase gadgets which make for more quality time with your kids.
We can’t recommend two specific things that you can buy, because teenagers have a strong opinion and we can’t really know from where we are, what they might be most interested in.
However, we can give you two tips for things that teenagers tend to like.
- The first tip is to buy things where you are sure of that it is something that your child is truly interested in. Show your child that it is an interest of you as a parent, this may create a stronger bond with your child. For example, if you know your child like movies, you might be buying a popcorn machine so you can make popcorn together before watching a movie. It is the little things that count.
- The second tip that we would like to give you is that a fun gadget is not always the most expensive one. Don’t think you can only make your child happy if you buy them the amazing new computer worth more than 1000 dollars. Teenagers often like hearing from their parents how proud you are of them. You could buy a big mug that says something like “my son is the amazing!”. Experience shows that teenagers really appreciate this.
In short, there are many different technological gadgets available in today’s market, and the one gadget fits better with a certain age group than the other. Is a child still pretty young? Maybe consider to buy a kids tablet and build their experience and knowledge until they are ready for a regular tablet. With really young kids you might want to keep in mind the screen time you are giving them on their tablet.
As the child grows he/she can start using a laptop and a little bit later maybe even a smart phone. To start your child off with a kids tablet and end it with a smart phone you can be sure that your child has enough knowledge and experience to use the devices correctly. This way you are assured of your child experiencing the right technological development that is appropriate for their age.
Remember that there are other things in life than technological gadgets, even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.