Is the iPad Mini good for kids?

With the launch of Apple’s new iPad Mini, we’re hearing buzz that it’s the perfect tablet for kids. And yes, while the 7.9 inch screen makes it easier for children to manage and hold, which was a rationale lots of parents were using for the Kindle Fire last year, we’re not sure it’s really the best gadget investment for children.

Here’s why we think you might want to skip the iPad Mini for your kids and instead, consider our suggestions for cool kid-friendly gadgets.

As much as we love the drop in size and portability of the iPad Mini, it’s pretty pricey. At $329 plus the cost of a case, you’re making a big investment in a gadget that’s not really made to stand up to what kids might put it through. It’s super light and thin, which we imagine might make it a little easier to drop.

Tablets for kids: Kindle Fire HD

If you’re dead set on getting your tween or teen a tablet that’s not considered a kid’s tablet, you might want to take a look at the original Kindle Fire, which is only $199, or the new Kindle Fire HD which is $50 more. Keep in mind that in our opinion, kids will still require monitoring since they’ll have Internet as well as access to the Amazon Store, however, it’s a solid tablet for the price.

iPod Touch

For app-obsessed kids, try the iPod Touch, particularly the old models. Even though they won’t have as many fancy features as the new iPod Touch, we’re pretty sure a tween doesn’t necessarily need a fabulous camera or Siri. And if you’ve got an old iPhone full of apps, pass that along to your kids. Without the data plan, it’s basically an iPod Touch.

Kindle e-reader

If your kids are going to use their gadget for reading, we think a Kindle e-reader (or NOOK e-reader if you’re a Barnes and Noble fan) is a fabulous investment. It really does hold up well to kid usage, and it helps cut down on book clutter, which would be overtaking our house. And if you want to forgo the clip-on lamp if they’re reading at night, take a look at the new Kindle Paperwhite or Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight which feature a built-in reading lamp.

Nintendo 3DS

For little gamers, we’re still pretty big fans of the Nintendo DS products, including the newish Nintendo 3DS, which still allows you to play the older DS games thanks to the handy 2D mode. Even though we have a family iPad full of games and educational apps, my kids head straight for their DS when they have video game time.

Will you be getting your kids the new iPad Mini? Tell us! And if you’re wondering when kids are ready for their own gaming device, take a peek at our thoughts. 

Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.

6 Comments

  • Reply October 24, 2012

    Kerry F

    I would love to hear your opinion on what would be the best device for 10 and 12 year old who we would like both an ereader device and mp3 capabilities. I’m uncomfortable with a tablet because I want to limit their gaming and internet use to device like our computer which I can control.

    Thanks

  • Reply October 25, 2012

    Lyz

    I would love to hear your thoughts on the Android based Nabi for kids and how it compares to others like it. Thank you.

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Angela

    I already pre-ordered 2 ipad minis for my kids, ages 10 and 6. I was hesitant to do so at first, but they are both very responsible and have proven their ability to treat expensive electronics with extra care. They already have mp3 players, so I decided on the ipad mini over the ipod touch because they will likely use them more for games and movies. Also, I chose the mini over the Google and Amazon tablets because neither one of those tablets has a camera. My kids LOVE taking pictures, so I wanted their tablet to have that feature. Considering that the ipad mini has a camera, video camera, and access to more quality apps than the other tablets, I’d say the price is not all that shocking. The ipad mini may not be the best choice for all kids due to the high price tag, but with a good protective case, I believe they can be a good investment that will last. You have to know your child though. If he or she tends to be rough on electronics, then a cheaper tablet would make sense.

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    EMartinez23

    I’m really torn about purchasing the iPad mini for my 3&6 yr. old after reading your article. I was set on this being the perfect Christmas gifts because they are always are on MY iPad and my iPhone ! I have invested too much on apps and I really don’t want to start over with a Kindle. So my question is this since we are an Apple based family I really don’t know how the apps on other tablets work . Would I have to purchase all new games and apps since its Android and not Apple??

  • Reply October 26, 2012

    Deborah

    I’d go with the iPod touch in both of the above instances. You can download both the Nook and Kindle apps onto the iPod touch and use them as readers, plus use your already purchased apps. In my opinion $329 is too much to spend for a 3 and 6 year old who will most likely drop it and break the glass. You can get a 8 gig ipod touch, set up icloud storage and keep some movies/apps on the touch/some in the cloud and switch them out now and then. As a Nook owner, and I have to say the apps available for the Nook are not too hot. Not sure about the kindle, but I think you’d have to re buy the apps for that too. Other than our Nook, we’re an Apple family and find all the Apple products much more user friendly.

  • Reply November 30, 2012

    Frederick

    Has anyone considered it the screen got the iPad mini is too small for kids to read? I’m trying to decide between an iPad mini and a ipad2 (which are relatively the same on the inside.). The larger ipad2, although cumbersome is closer to the size of an actual storybook. Also, I’ve watched my kids (ages 3&5) use my 3rd gen. iPad. They can easily touch the icons and buttons. Would the smaller buttons on the iPad mini cause my kids problems with the buttons?

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