Are Kid Tablets Good Tablets for Tweens?

You may be weighing the options in new tablet designs as you consider the best tablets for tweens and teens. Some of the kid-friendly tablets are really attractive as companies include protective cases in the device construction. After all, kids can be tough on electronics, and as an adult, I’ve had plenty of close calls with my own tech gadgets. However, you will want to consider a few things before you buy that kid tablet for your preteen. As a mom of kids ranging from preteen to adult, I realize that what works today may not be so great next year, and as a former teacher of middle schoolers, I definitely know that there will be a constant swinging of the pendulum in taste and trend as your preteen transitions. Think about your preteen tablet as an investment that should provide several years of use.

 

Kid Tablets with Extended Guarantees

 

Check out tablet options in the Kindle Fire HD series as you search for good tablets for tweens and preteens.

Amazon has introduced its kid-friendly version of the Kindle Fire HD 7 this year with cool protective housing in hip colors. The two-year replacement plan is included with a no-questions-asked policy. This is fantastic for ensuring that if something goes amiss, you can get a new device without difficulty. I love that option. As a mom of tweens, I know that they can be just as accident prone as my younger preteens. However, the cutesy cases are probably not going to go over well with an almost teen boy. My 9-year-old daughter would love a colorful and fun case, and I can see her still enjoying such a device in a couple of years. My 10-year-old son would be much less enthusiastic about it.

You know your child best, and if you think that the cutesy aspect is a little too childish for your tween, you might want to consider the Kindle Fire HD 6 and a protection plan.  At $99 for this tween tablet and a protection plan at $24.99, the pricing is just as reasonable. You also have the cool case colors without the cutesy appearance. The 7-inch Fire is a good tablet for tweens as well, priced about $40 more than the 6-inch version. We use a 6-inch Fire HD, and the kids love it and handle it well. Sizing is great, not too hard on the eyes. The construction is sturdy, making it a great choice that can transition with your preteen as he or she moves through the physiological, emotional, and cognitive changes of these tween years.

 

iPad Mini is a Great Tween Tablet

 

iPad Mini is an excellent tablet for teens, tweens, pre-teens and younger kids. Apple’s interface is so easy that toddlers can deal with it…mine have understood the iPhone since they were little tots, and strict lines had to be drawn so that my phone could be a phone and not their toy. My niece totes her iPad everywhere. As a 9-year-old in the preteen stage, she uses a protective case that is very sturdy, and she is constantly making movies of her visits with relatives and her other activities. The biggest challenge with Apple tablets for tweens tends to be cost, making this more prohibitive if your budget is tight. However, the latest releases tend to drive down the prices of earlier generations, and there is no reason that your preteen can’t enjoy an older version of the Apple tablet computers. The mini is very manageable for its size, perhaps making it less likely to go through the bumps and drops that a more awkward larger screen tablet might cause. Regardless, invest in good protective gear, and consider a solid protection plan.

 

Android Tablets for Tweens

 

You may find numerous sales, especially through the holiday season, on Android tablets. Some of these are the cheapest preteen tablets of the year, but familiarity may be the key. If you aren’t familiar with Android app stores and operations, you might want to spend a bit of time getting familiar before you choose that cheap tablet for a tween. Frustration in getting a device up and running could make for a rough holiday morning. Nevertheless, Black Friday sales for 2014 are showing tablets under $50, excellent from a pricing standpoint for the family on a strict budget.

 

For more on buying the right tablet for your teen or tween, read here.

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PreTeen Electronics – Tablets to Share

Dealing with children from varied age ranges from tween to adult, the one thing that I really like about Kindle Fire HD 6 (our version) and other Kindle tablets is the availability of the FreeTime app. I like the fact that I can assign material to my kiddos and limit access to other materials. They don’t have free access to just any video content, but I can make some of their favorites available. They can each have their own access to sillier stuff like Candy Crush without exhausting each other’s lives. Yet I only needed to invest in one tablet. Preteen electronics can bring some serious frustrations, especially with several children in the mix, but Kindle really mitigates this issue well with its approach to content management and parental control.

I have not yet done the FreeTime unlimited, but this offers a great way to amass more kid-friendly content if that is your goal. Although it sounds like it is geared more toward the young child, the reality is that pre-teens need some guidance with electronics. Given free reign, they can take advantage of hours of unmonitored time on video games and related apps. It’s good to set limits, and FreeTime really facilitates this without creating challenges for the forgetful parent who may not remember start and stop times.

Kindle Fire offers important management options for Preteen Electronics

 

For me, one of the biggest benefits of being able to customize my tablet in this manner is having a few things for the kids to do without an inundation of unsupervised content. FreeTime only allows four child profiles, but it also allows two adult profiles, making it possible to accommodate a rather large household with just one device. Of course, our household is much larger, but my kids in the tween to early teen stage are the primary ones for whom I am using this device.

 

A few parent pointers with electronics for preteens and early teens:

  • Drops and bumps happen with me, and my children are just as prone to unexpected incidents. I cringed as my smartphone flew from my hands and crashed to the floor yesterday, and I cannot be any more surprised at such happening to a preteen who is just embarking on significant developmental and physiological changes. The transition from tween to early teen in late middle school might just be the most awkward point in the process, but regardless of stage, remember that your child may have occasional close calls. A protection plan is well worth the cost. (Read more about the benefits of protection plans for preteen electronics here.)
  • Sharing vs. Personal Electronics – this really depends on your perspective and budget. I have run into some significant problems by getting one child a device and not another. While behaviors must be corrected, it is hard to pacify the child whose device has been decimated by a jealous sibling. If you have more than one preteen, consider getting similar devices for each. You will need a little more time to get each device up and running, but this is definitely not cumbersome with a Kindle Fire tablet. If a device is to be shared, it is wise to emphasize that it is yours vs. theirs. A grumpy child is less likely to take their frustration out on Mom or Dad’s tablet than on their sibling’s.
  • Out of the box – a Kindle Fire for a preteen is just a little easier to set up when it comes directly from Amazon as the device is associated with your account before it arrives. This is helpful if you will use FreeTime to manage the device. It probably took me 30 minutes to setup the Kindle 6-inch tablet for myself and four children. My main challenge was getting used to a different navigation approach than on an iPhone. Trust me, the kids got things down much more efficiently than I did!
  • Separate Amazon Accounts? I have been through the process of setting up both iTunes and Amazon accounts with my teens, and this would be my preference with a teen tablet computer. However, my younger kids have enough challenges without needed to manage passwords and payments on a retail account. There may be a point at which they will be transitioned, but with the older kids, that typically occurs when they have jobs and a way to pay for their own content. Meanwhile, using my account to manage their tablets is a better fit. Just be sure to activate appropriate parental controls so that there are no wild spending sprees!
I definitely like other tablets, mainly the iPad series, for intuitiveness. However, the parental management available with Kindle Fire tablets for tweens and preteens is much preferred at this stage in their lives. 
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Frustration Free Tablets for PreTeens

Just as toy packaging can be a major frustration on a holiday or other special occasion, a lengthy setup for tech gadgets can take the wind out of your sails as you attempt to get that gifts up and running for a child. A pre-teen can be pretty astute with electronic gifts, but it’s still a bummer to wait indefinitely as you attempt to get a device ready for action. As you consider choices in tablets for preteens, you may want to balance budget against intuitiveness. What I mean is that a cheap tablet computer for a young person might not be such a great deal if it is difficult to setup.

Tablets for PreTeens should be free of frustration in packaging and setup.

As you consider low-cost tablets for your tweens and teens, consider the youngster’s experience with other electronics to be sure that this system won’t be a huge frustration. Additionally, look into the need for external accounts for loading content. If you aren’t familiar with the app store for the device that you are selecting for your middle schooler or early tween, you will want to take time to become familiar. Don’t assume that free content is available. Be sure to explore that issue in advance.

 

An example of this issue is preparing for an iPad for a preteen. An iTunes account is pretty much a necessity, but iTunes’ terms of service may not allow for a youngster to have an independent account. That said, it shouldn’t be difficult to create an account for yourself that can cover the needs of your young person. However, the funding source for your account might be a concern. I’ve traditionally created an account with the child and helped them with funding through an iTunes giftcard. Because my children have met the age requirements for accounts at the time, I haven’t had issues with the setup. If you want that iPad to be useful from the moment it is opened, try to create the account first.

 

With Kindle Fire tablets for tweens, it is relatively simple to set up a device, especially if your tablet is coming directly from Amazon. The devices are connected with your account upon arrival. You will need to spend some time setting up your child’s device once the packaging has been opened, and trying to open and repackage the device before a birthday or holiday morning might be a little challenging. Set aside a bit of time on that holiday morning to help get the settings in place and any parental controls activated. The Amazon Free Time option makes it possible to manage content for your child. However, be aware that this must be handled from the app on the device. Currently, you can’t manage this from your Amazon account. Free Time is an ideal way to provide a child with access to content without the need to set up a child’s Amazon account.  With my older children in the teen age range, I’ve helped them to set up Amazon accounts funded with gift cards. However, you will need to help with password management in such a scenario.

 

You can check out these best-selling tablets to consider other options. Just take time to familiarize yourself with the app access and setup needs as you consider the age of your recipient.

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What Tablet to Buy for a Pre-Teen?

There are several factors to evaluate as you decide what tablet to buy for a pre-teen.

The tween stage is fun but challenging, and this is no less true as you consider gifts, especially those that are tech-related. On the one hand, tech gifts for tweens are popular enough that it is tough to go wrong. On the other hand, the option that appeals to one pre-teen may be viewed with disdain by another. There are a few factors to consider as  you make decisions about what tablet to buy for a pre-teen:

 

 

 

  • Age – the young end of the tween spectrum is about 9 to 10.  I have two in this range, and they are easily captivated by any touchscreen device. At the upper end, my 12-year-old son is very selective. He would rather have an iPod touch than a tablet. Gauge your decision based on your child’s ability to care for and manage such a device. My 9 and 10-year-olds are not ready for an iTunes account, and they need some parental guidance with their devices. My Kindle Fire HD 6 is perfect for them, and they aren’t left wishing they had something else.

  • Responsibility level – by the time your child has reached this stage, you should have a good feel for how careful they will be with a tech gadget. Have you already had some close calls with them using your tablet or smartphone? Definitely opt for something with a good protection plan and don’t skimp on the protective gear. A heavy case that can absorb shock of bumps and drops is crucial. Both Kindle Fire and iPad are still great options, but take deliberate steps to protect that investment.

  •  Interests – consider what your pre-teen is most focused on. My 16-year-old daughter is an avid reader, and a Kindle ereader was a better match when she was in that tween stage of life. In fact, she still focuses much on her ereader for accessing content. At the same time, she has transitioned to a smartphone for most of her tablet-like activities. My 10-year-old most enjoys being able to watch movies on the Kindle Fire. My 9-year-old prefers games. The 12-year-old likes both. If there is a significant focus on video, Kindle is a great way to go, especially with options like Kindle Freeplay that allow some parental management so that you don’t have to create a child’s account out in the Amazon jungle. iPad involves some management issues in that you may have to provide a crash course in iTunes account management. I’ve had more challenges with keeping passwords straight and funding options in balance.

  • Budget – iPad will run you at least $249 for a mini that is from an older generation. More current options go up from there. However, a preteen tablet from the older generations can sufficiently entertain while providing access to creative and educational resources. My 9-year-old niece has used her two-year-old iPad mini diligently on family trips to video activities, and her device is still going strong. Kindle Fire HD continues to be an affordable choice with lots of great content. Our Kindle Fire HD 6 is a manageable size and feels durable even when it isn’t in a case. It’s not so small that a child needs to squint to see, making it a far better choice than an iPod in my view. The Kindle 6-inch tablet is only $99, a very manageable price. Larger sizes are still in the less than $200 range, making it possible to keep costs in check while obtaining great features.
As a mom on a budget, I definitely prefer the Kindle Fire HD 6 as a tablet for pre-teens. An iPad is more likely to be a choice for a teen who has demonstrated responsibility, at least in my home. If you are on the market for a Kindle for a pre-teen, the 6-inch and 7-inch versions also include some fun color options in the construction of the casing.
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Black Friday Tablet Deals for Teens and Tweens

If you are wondering about great deals during the holiday season on tech gifts for the teens and tweens on your shopping list, then anticipation of the 2014 Black Friday ads may be high. As I see great deals, I’ll edit and update, but as Black Friday tablet deals for teens and tweens are anticipated, it helps to take a look at prior years’ events.

 

One of the most notable BF tablet deals during 2013 was the availability of gift cards in connection with tablet purchases. During that time, both Target and Walmart offered significant gift card values with the purchase of designated iPads. At Target, you could take home a $100 gift card with a full-size iPad and $75 with a mini. At Walmart, you could take home a $100 gift card with an iPad mini. Additionally, the store provided a one-hour in-stock guarantee. iPads should be much more affordable this year, especially if you aren’t set on the latest model.

  •  2014 Tablet at Staples: Pre-Black Friday and Black Friday sales are being previewed, including a 7-inch Android tablet from JLab priced at $39.99, an estimated $30 savings. This may be a great starter tablet. JLab is one of my favorites for the earbuds, which my tweens and teens love. These tween-friendly earbuds are durable and fun. The cheap tablet for your preteen is said to be available online or in-store. A $99 Samsung Tablet deal for tweens, teens, and adults is also reportedly going to be available online or in-store.
  • Sears’ Black Friday ad includes several tablets, including a cheap Android tablet at $39.99.  Three options in tween tablets under $100 are listed from Trio Stealth, priced at $59.99, $89.99, and $99.99. Each option is quad-core, and the primary difference is screen size (7-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch). This might be the cheapest big-screen tablet, but other ads may have similar or better deals.
  • Meijer’s ad includes Fire HD 7 at $109 and Fire HD 6 at $79 (Meijer Custom Coupon applies). Additionally, each purchase can earn a $20 coupon toward a future shopping trip with a limit of two coupons per offer. Deals appear to be for in-store shopping on Nov. 28 beginning at 6:00 a.m. with no rainchecks or substitutions.
  • Kmart will have the Kindle Fire HD 6 available for 79.99, limit of 2. Earn $10 back in bonus shopping points.  This is an outstanding option if you don’t have the funds for the full cost at the time because of Kmart’s online layaway. While I didn’t use it for electronics last year, the Kmart layaway was a great option as I bought BF deals and paid over the next few weeks. I ran into one order not reaching me and getting refunded, but I have since used Kmart layaway for many household purchases this year with great success. You can also use PayPal for layaway purchases!  Nice job, Kmart, on this preteen tablet feature!

Amazon offered significant discounts at a couple of points during the holiday season, making it helpful to check back regularly on the site for sales. Often, the Amazon sales are limited to one per household, making it important to act promptly when the opportunities arise. Be aware that you do need to read the instructions and be observant. When I picked up my Kindle Fire HD 6 earlier this fall, the first attempt at using the offer on the site for monthly payments didn’t get applied. I promptly cancelled my initial purchase and tried again, during which time the offer was applied. Some Amazon offers come in the form of spreading out payments. Others come in the form of lucrative discounts. Just be observant if any of the Kindle eReaders or Fire Tablets are on your list. These are, in my opinion, some of the best tablet deals for teens and tweens during the season.

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Earbuds for Tweens – One Day Deal

The set depicted is part of a one-day sale, listed at an 80-percent discount, a great deal for high-quality earbuds for tweens.

 

Amazon has a one-day deal today, October 31, that is really worth investigating. If your tweens are anything like mine, earbuds take quite the beating. My teenager can be quite careless with hers, and a cheap grocery store set of earbuds doesn’t usually last for more than a month. If I’m lucky, she can get a couple of months out of a name-brand set of tween earbuds. JBuds have been great earbuds for tweens in my house. I won’t promise that they will last indefinitely because care is the major component in keeping a set in good working condition. However, this daily deal on JBuds and related products at Amazon is truly worth a look.

 

The one-day sale on these colorful headphones allows you varied discounts based on the style you select. The discounting available at this time is up to 83 percent off, tremendous if you consider the list prices. While this may not last long (the sale), you might expect some long-term relief from that cry of, “Mom, I need headphones.” I do help in a pinch with headphones for my most careless child, but the help often comes in the form of needed extra chores around the house, resulting in my daughter having to work to earn the funds for the needed tech device.

 

As far as other children, the life expectancy of a set of headphones with most of my other tweens and teens has been much longer. Most of them are a bit more careful in how they store their tech gadgets, making it less expensive to keep them supplied with headphones. Even the cheapest JBuds designs tend to last nicely. If you stumble across this post after the sale expires, I will encourage you to explore the line in spite of an expired sale. The low-end models hold up quite well. You can also keep your eyes out throughout the holiday season and the year as the products can drop in price when new models are released. Check out the full rang of JLabs products here.

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Colorful Tween Tablet Computer Choices

Select a colorful case that will appeal to the tween interest in bold, bright, and fun gadgets. This one, the iRulu 7-inch Android, is available in black, blue, pink, purple, or white.

This may be the year of many choices and bargain prices in tween tablet computer choices. As you consider your priorities, both budget and style have a place on your shopping list as you consider the whim and whimsy of the tween fashion and gadget sense. Until this year, the majority of colorful tablets fell to the needs of young children, designed with colorful cushioning to absorb shock and abuse that might come at the hands of a small handler. The tween is equally capable of harsh treatment of tech gadgets, but the childish look of many colorful tablet computers for preteens has given way to a sleek design and attractive tween-friendly color choices.

 

The iRulu listed above is available in light purple, perfect for the preteen girl who wants a purple tablet. Others include FONESCO tablets with both 7 inch and 9 inch versions in vibrant oranges, pinks, yellows, blues, and purples. More importantly, these colorful choices are listing at approximately $100, but they are often selling in the $50 and under range. That’s good news for a tight budget! With models like the Dragon Touch 7″ Tablet, you will want to watch for new models to replace old, potentially encountering a chance for savings on older versions.

 

Kindle Fire HD 7 - Remember that the casing is not the same as a protective case on this colorful tween tablet computer. Protect your investment with proper gear.

The Kindle FIRE HD 7 shown above is great for providing an excellent tablet with a strong reputation for excellence to the tween crowd at a very attractive price. The 7-inch Kindle tablets for tweens are continuing to sell in the $139 range, but there is good reason to monitor trends during the holidays as the company often posts some steep discounts in December. It’s also very nice to see that Amazon has created a 6-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet this year, perfect for bringing the price down just a smidge ($99) without creating a difficult viewing surface. I picked this one up right away in a Navy Blue for my kids to share for videos and various educational apps. It is a big hit with my younger tweens especially, much better than a childish device would be.

iPad has even gotten in on the colorful action with silver and gold options this year. While this isn’t as much of a tween thing, the colors make it possible to add a bit of finesse to your gifting for the tween and teen this year. Whatever tablet you decide on, be proactive by thinking seriously about the protection plans available and by getting a protective case as well. It’s worth the investment, especially with an accident-prone tween.

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Many Gifts in One: Tablet Computers for Middle Schoolers

If you look at the finances, a tablet computer is an excellent investment as a gift for a middle school student. Tablet computers for middle schoolers can provide the function of a television, mp3 player, digital camera, camcorder, video game console, ereader, computer, organizer, and personal tutor. Not to mention communications! Given this, even the costly price tag of a new model iPad for a tween could be a great savings over buying those items independently. Fortunately,  you don’t even need the top of the line model today to provide a good experience. Following are some options to consider:

 

Kindle tablet computers for middle schoolers offer great options in content, activity, creativity, and productivity.
  •  Kindle Fire HD 6: As I try this tablet out with my tweens, the middle schoolers in the bunch are adept at navigating, and they are making requests for apps and activities. Because this one is Mom’s, there are some restrictions. However, the device is a hit. The tween boys still love their Nintendo DS systems though.
  • Kindle Fire HD7: My older son has a 7-inch Kindle Fire, and the size is good for viewing, having served his needs for social networking. A case is a must, and it’s a good idea to consider a protection plan.
  • iPad Mini: With the new set of iPads, the original mini offers low-end pricing on a quality tablet. If you have the budget for the more recent releases, you can accommodate a tween’s interests in colors and technical features. However, my perspective is that the cheaper mini is a great starter tablet for a tween.
  • iPad with retina display: If you have a bigger budget, the larger iPads have also readjusted to line up with new tablets. A big tablet may provide the best visual experience, and the pricing is better than ever.
You may still find that some tech gifts for tweens are better than the tablet versions, but I feel that the many functions of a tablet computer make it possible for a tween to find a niche and focus on an interest. My tween sons love to discover photography effects and sound effects on devices, for example, so I will be looking for options in this arena for them. 
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Tablet vs. Gaming Console: Tween Tech Options

If you ask my tween sons about their preferences in tech gadgets, you will find that the Nintendo 2DS and 3DS systems win hands down. They have invested in significant games, and giving up their systems wouldn’t fly. However, they do like the new Kindle Fire HD 6 as well. The type of content is significantly different, making it important to understand a bit of your youngster’s tween tech interests before you splurge on a top of the line gadget.

Kindle Fire HD 6 offers affordable Tween Tech Options

The transition from tween to teen is kind of blurry, and both of the older tween boys are beginning to be more interested in music and reading on their devices, searching for fan fiction and downloading songs to their SD cards. This may be one of the biggest signals that a tablet or iPod touch is a good investment for a tween boy. My tween daughter, on the other hand, loves both the tablet and her DSI greatly. She is equally happy with either, and the Kindle Fire HD 6 has become a favorite with her and the youngest tween son.

 

If you are deciding on one or the other of these devices for a tween during the holiday season, consider some of the following:

  • What is your budget? The Kindle Fire HD 6 is now more reasonable in price than the latest Nintendo Consoles, unless you get a great Black Friday deal. Be on the watch during the lead-up to the holidays as Amazon tends to offer some fantastic discounts and financing options on Kindle Fire items as well.
  • How much do you want to invest in content? A single DS or 3DS game can range from $10 to $50 depending on popularity. The Kindle Tablet offers the ability to load numerous free apps, and if you have Prime, there’s even more chance that your young person will find plenty of affordable content.
  • Is your tween already immersed in one platform or the other?
  • What devices are your tween’s friends using? Sharing and trading games is popular among those who are working with similar consoles, another way to get more from a device without spending a bundle.
  • Gifting ideas – it is much easier for an aunt or uncle to track down a useful gift card for tablet content than to find a game that will strike a cord with a picky tween.
You may have your mind made up by the items on your child’s wish list. However, the introduction of newer and cheaper tablets of higher quality makes the landscape interesting this year. Lower pricing may even make more than one device possible.
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Cheaper iPads for Teenagers and Tweens

Cheaper iPads for Teenagers allow access to familiar Apple tech

 

If you are eyeing the tablet world this holiday season, then you may be kicking up your heels in glee over Apple’s recent announcements about new iPad models and pricing. The lower pricing of the mini and the full-size provides cheaper iPads for teenagers and tweens who love iTunes and other Apple products.

As an iPhone fan, I love iMovie and Garage Band as apps that my tweens and teens can learn with so that they can excel in expression and creativity. I’m not giving up the phone for the kids, though, and an iPad is on my list for the household so that these interests can be facilitated.

As much of the Apple line is familiar, the thing that most captures my attention as a parent with the recent announcements is pricing. The mini is now within reach for those who have gandered from afar. There are many competing options, and Kindle Fire HD 6 offers a run for the money with regard to pricing and quality, providing a compact but powerful device that allows access to a huge library of content. If budget is your main factor, the lower pricing of the iPad mini may be tempting. However, if you really need to stretch your holiday budget, definitely give the Kindle Fire HD 6 a bit of consideration.

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