Five iPad Alternatives for Kids

Five iPad Alternatives for Kids

Summary: Horrified at the prospect of giving your kids your iPad to play with? Don't be. Just try one of these alternatives.


Flickr users Scott & Elaine van der Chijs

 Via: Flickr users Scott & Elaine van der Chijs

Placed in the hands of kids, the iPad can be a valuable learning tool. But with its $500 price tag and likelihood of being tossed around, drooled upon, or otherwise destroyed, the iPad probably doesn't make for the safest thing to give your budding technophile. What is a parent to do? Start by taking a look at these five alternatives to everyone's favorite handheld babysitter.

The LeapPad tablet

For a product that hasn't actually been released yet, the LeapPad tablet has a lot going for it. Capable of running over a hundred apps, games and interactive books the LeapPad is the de facto learning tablet. Kids can interact with the tablet 's five-inch screen using either their fingers or the device's stylus. The tablet also features its own camera, allowing kids to take ether video or still shots. LeapFrog also built the tablet to be durable, which any parent can appreciate.

$99, for ages 4-9. Available in late August.

Etch A Sketch Doodle Sketch

Slightly less tech-heavy is the Etch A Sketch Doodle Sketch, a product steeped in history and almost entirely kid-proof. While likely not as initially flashy to kids, the Doodle Sketch's biggest strength likely lies in its affordability, and, to be sure, replaceability in the even that it gets lost. Draw, erase, draw again. A classic formula.

Ages 3+, $6.99. Available in both pink and blue. (Fisher Price's Doodle Pro is a similar product.)

The anaPad

For parents eager to place an iPad in the hands of their kids, but notably less eager to give them a real iPad, Etsy inventors twigcreative have created the anaPad. One part iPad, and two parts whiteboard, the anaPad “promotes analog learning and creativity in a digital world.” Or so say its inventors. Basically, it’s a whiteboard with iOS-themed magnets. Ages 3+, $35.

The VINCI tablet

Conscious of the faint possibility that WiFi signals might actually be killing us, manufacturer Rullingnet built the tablet without a WiFi radio. It’s also non-toxic and advertising free.Encased in a durable, soft-edged chassis, and featuring a tempered glass screen cover, the Vinci is clearly built with accident-prone kids in mind.

Probably less important for (most) parents are the device’s specifications. Running Android 2.2, the Vinici features a 7-inch screen, 512MB of RAM, and a 3MP camera on its back.

Now comes the dicey matter of its price: For $389, parents can nab the less expensive version, which offers three hours of battery life. On the other hand, the $479 version of the tablet can run for 6 hours and comes equipped with a slew of pre-installed software.

Griffin LightBoard for iPad

For parents still willing to place their iPads in the hands of their young ones, Griffin has created the LightBoard, an iPad case that doubles as an art activity center. Featuring a shatter-resistant polycarbonate shell and protective screen, the case protects the iPad against all sorts of child-borne abuse. Griffin has also created a special LightBoard app, which offers a variety of coloring activities for kids to play around with. The case includes a washable marker and pre-sized drawing paper. $29.95.

Topics: Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • It was already said, but needs to be said again: give your children *real*

    ... thing. Especially if some of these "cheaper" "replacements" cost as much as $389.
    • RE: Five iPad Alternatives for Kids

      Ram U
  • RE: Five iPad Alternatives for Kids

    Give the kid the cardboard box it came it -- more fun, less cost. Just go to the retailer and ask for some empty boxes ;)
    • RE: Five iPad Alternatives for Kids

      @mytake4this Absolutely true for kids under 2. Most kids will go for the box if given a choice. Kid might look at the toy with bells and whistles for awhile, then spend days with the box
      • RE: Five iPad Alternatives for Kids

        That's SO true!!
  • Waste of money IMHO

    Kids are not stupid. They will immediately notice that the toy you just gave them is not the same as mommy or daddies iPad. It's a losing battle to do otherwise, take it from the father of twin 3 year olds. If you're worried, put a decent case on it. The moment they start to even look like they are going to abuse it, take it away, they get the message.
    • RE: Five iPad Alternatives for Kids


      This is the important point. Yes, kids immediately know the difference. When I got my iPhone, I gave my iPod to my daughter. My son wanted an MP3 player so I bought a cheapie $10 MP3 player. At first he was happy, but about a month later, it was stashed under his bed and was playing with the iPod whenever his sister wasn't using it. Later my son, who still believes in Santa Claus, wrote a letter to Santa requesting a MacBook Air. Oh, yeah they know the difference.
  • RE: Five iPad Alternatives for Kids

    Kids today are hardwired for the multitouch interfaces found on iOS devices (Mommy and Daddy's devices). Just check Youtube to find how quickly they take to a device like the iPad, all without any training. Give them something that's less intuitive, not nearly as smooth and responsive to touch and watch how quickly that 'cheap' toy gets forgotten. Your money wasted.

    Besides when we add in all the advantages the iPad has like the thousands of apps in the App Store, cool games and educational materials etc., it's a easy choice IMO.

    Just get them the cheaper 1st Gen or a refurbised device and find a good case.?
  • RE: Five iPad Alternatives for Kids

    Calling an Etch-a-sketch an iPad alternative is silly. Every child should have one even if they have an iPad.

    I could talk about the rest, but I already said why I disliked them in their original articles.
  • RE: Five iPad Alternatives for Kids

    Try the Muvn iPad Case, which is very grippable and easy to hold for young hands. It's made of closed-cell foam, is shock-resistant, cleanable and even mounts to your car headrest for watching videos on road trips.
  • ipad for kids

    My kids love my ipad, if I give it to them it has MyPadBuddy on it. They can use the touch screen right through the case. Spilled juice, food, sticky problem. Only $9.98 on Amazon. Best investment I made for my ipad.