(Pocket-lint) - Once your kids get their hands on a tablet, in some ways it feels like there's no coming back. The allure of apps, videos, games and distractions of all sorts is significant and can be a hugely useful way to buy yourself some peace and quiet, especially if you're working from home.
Of course, there's much more to it than that - you can also use tablets as amazing educational tools, and as ways to connect to your kids over shared activities.
The good news is that you also don't necessarily need to hand your kid a top-of-the-line iPad Pro to get them going. There are myriad tablets on the market that are way more affordable, and in many cases they're built expressly with kids in mind. We've looked at all of the best options for you, and listed them below.
Our pick of the best child's tablet to buy today
Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
Amazon's Fire tablets are so good for children that there's more than one on this list, but the Fire 7 takes the top spot because we think that the smallest of Amazon's size range is the perfect one for little ones.
The Kids Edition of the tablet basically straps it into a chunky plastic case that protects it from bangs and drops, and Amazon's so confident in its durability that it'll replace broken tablets within a two-year warranty, free of charge. Beyond that, you get the choice of a huge range of videos, movies and games specifically approved for kids. Plus, there are really straightforward parental controls to activate.
It's a brilliant package, so much so that you're likely to have seen one around the world by now, clutched by a buggy-riding sprog, or in the hands of a happy kid in a living room somewhere.
LeapFrog LeapPad 3
You might be looking for something less tablet-y, and more educational, though — something to teach your kids, rather than become a purely escapist activity for them. LeapFrog specialises in these sorts of devices, aimed at younger kids, and the LeapPad 3 is one of its best tablets.
It's a sturdy little device loaded with educational games and with access to hundreds more. Because it doesn't have full web access, instead accessing a gated version, you don't have to worry about your kids stumbling across inappropriate material, which is a real godsend. This is a great introduction to tech that won't corrupt anyone!
Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e
On the other end of the scale, and for slightly older kids, if you're after a family tablet the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e could be a fantastic option. It's not built for kids, but can do a great job as a multimedia centre.
Whether you want to browse the internet together, or just need a tablet to watch movies and TV together or while travelling, Samsung's tablet is a great video player, and is lightweight and portable enough to easily fit into bags on busy trips. It's not necessarily one to hand to a kid and leave with them unsupervised, but as a portable media centre it's hard to beat for the price.
Amazon Fire 8 HD
If the Fire 7 tablet that we've picked as our top option seems a little small for your taste - or your child's! - the next size up is a great option. You get all the same kid-friendly options, including the case and warranty, with a little more screen real-estate.
That extra inch of size also sees the display upgraded to HD quality, which in 2020 is almost a prerequisite for future-proofing. There's almost nothing to pick between this model and the Fire 7 and the price difference isn't much at all, so it might come to down to your favoured size.
Apple iPad mini (2019)
We know, we know - we said we wouldn't want to put your fancy iPads at risk. Still, though, we think the latest version of Apple's iPad mini warrants inclusion nonetheless. Firstly, it doesn't have to be hyper-expensive if you're happy to have slightly less storage than you could.
But, more to the point, it's a top-class tablet in a small body, with great power under the hood. If you put a chunky case on it to protect it from damage, you'll have a tablet that's great for your kids' needs, and also useful for your own use when they're not on it.