The Best iPads For Kids That Educate And Entertain (2024)

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Tyler Hayes


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All of Apple’s iPads run the same operating system and have roughly the same features, so picking one out seems like it should be easier. But narrowing down the best iPads for your kids can be tricky because there are more choices and configurations than ever before. The most important considerations are obviously screen size and storage capacity, but don’t forget about the camera particulars and color options—super important to a lot of kids—to weigh when shopping for your child’s next tablet.

And if this is going to be your child’s first tablet, you might want to establish some rules upfront. “When a child is given an iPad, parents should establish simple rules. Talk about when, where, and how kids can use the device, and practice a routine for when it's time to stop using it,” says Christine Elgersma, senior editor for learning content at Common Sense, a nonprofit that offers ratings and reviews on children’s movies, TV shows and video games, among other things. “That’s also why co-viewing and co-playing are important; it helps parents establish screen time as a shared experience.” She adds that parents should also consider setting up Apple’s Screen Time to help them monitor iPad usage.

Read on to see the best iPads for kids. We evaluated all the models available and considered factors like age, needs and family budgets. After reading this story, you may also want to check out our favorite phones for kids or the best laptops for kids.

Best iPad For Kids Overall

iPad Air (5th Gen): A Good Balance Of Performance And Price

Apple iPad Air (5th Gen)

Display size: 10.9 inches | Screen resolution: 2360 x 1640 pixels | Processing: Apple M1 chip | Storage capacity: 64GB, 256GB | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Size: 9.7 x 7.0 x 0.2 inches | Weight: 1.0 pounds

The iPad Air really finds a good middle ground between all Apple’s current tablets. It has the same M1 chip as an Apple MacBook Air for plenty of power. It also has niceties like an anti-reflective screen coating and P3 color for a more vibrant-looking screen compared to lower-end iPads. Kids who want to run multiple windows on the screen at the same time will appreciate the power of the M1 chip.

The iPad Air is also the cheapest iPad to support Apple’s Magic Keyboard and second-generation Pencil. The lower-end iPads will support the oldest, first-generation Pencil, but those have more complicated charging mechanics and issues that the revised Pencil addresses. The iPad Air is the best iPad for kids overall but also for many adults.


  • Support for multi-window Stage Manager feature
  • Support for Magic Keyboard with trackpad
  • A great mix of power and affordable price


  • No FaceID
  • Slightly smaller viewable display (10.9-inch) compared to 11-Inch Pro

Best Affordable iPad For Kids

iPad (10th Gen): A Solid iPad In A Value Package

Apple iPad (10th Gen)

Display size: 10.9 inches | Screen resolution: 2360 x 1640 pixels | Processing:A14 Bionic chip| Storage capacity: 64GB, 256 GB | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Size: 9.8 x 7.1 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 1.0 pounds

The newest iPad might look like the iPad Air, but it makes a few strategic cuts to keep it less expensive than the higher-end Apple tablets. The good news is that most kids probably won’t know it’s any different; they’ll only notice that it has the newer, full-screen design without a home button.

Interestingly, this 10th-generation iPad has a camera on the landscape side of the tablet which means when used with a keyboard, the front camera is directly in front of you instead of on the side. This makes video calls feel more natural. It makes the iPad that much more laptop-like. If kids are using it for school this could be beneficial.


  • Front camera in landscape for video calls
  • Comes in bright, fun colors


  • Only supports first-generation Apple Pencil with Lightning adapter and needs an adapter to charge the stylus with its USB-C port
  • Display technology is not quite as rich and vivid as higher-end iPads

Best iPad For Kids Under Age 10

iPad (9th Gen): A Home Button And The Lowest Price

Apple iPad (9th Gen)

Display size: 10.2 inches | Screen resolution: 2160 x 1620 pixels | Processing: A13 Bionic chip | Storage capacity: 64GB, 256GB | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Size: 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 1.1 pounds

Frankly, the iPad (9th Gen) is a perfectly capable device that is issued to kids in a lot of schools today—my middle school son being one of them. The home button may be becoming a foreign object for a lot of consumers, but it can be a helpful tool for some of the youngest kids who have it as an anchor to always get them back to the main screen.

This iPad (9th Gen) form factor also benefits in getting a low price. I’ve seen it as low as $250, which is a great deal that can allow kids of all ages, really, to have a Wi-Fi device for watching games, playing games or reading e-books. The design may be a little dated and the internal components aren’t state of the art, but the general-purpose computing is great on the device.


  • Lowest priced model
  • Will stream videos and run most apps just fine
  • Home button could be helpful for the youngest kids


  • Lightning port is being phased out by Apple
  • Only has support for first-generation Apple Pencil

Best iPad For Older Kids And Teens

iPad Pro (12.9-Inch): The Most Powerful iPad Available

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-Inch)

Display size: 11 or 12.9 inches | Screen resolution: 2732 x 2048 pixels | Processing: Apple M2 chip | Storage capacity: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Size: 11.0 x 8.5 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 1.5 pounds

For teens and older kids who might need an iPad with the most power, or with the biggest screen size, there’s only one choice: the iPad Pro. The computing device comes in either 11- or 12.9-inch sizes and both include the latest M2 chip from Apple—the same one in the 2023 MacBook Air 15-inch model.

With a nearly 13-inch screen, laptop-class processor and thunderbolt UBS-C connector, the high-end iPad Pro is most certainly a computing device. Kids editing videos or creating illustrations might be the ones to benefit the most from the iPad Pro’s power. Then again, if they need the largest screen possible, this is the only choice.


  • The largest sized screen available on an iPad
  • The most powerful iPad can handle creative (photo and video editing) projects
  • Has the best looking display of any iPad


  • The most expensive iPad model which can rival the cost of a MacBook Air
  • Case and keyboard accessories cost more for the larger sized iPad

Best Portable iPad For Kids

iPad Mini (6th Gen): A Perfect Travel-Size Gaming Device

Apple iPad Mini (6th Gen)

Display size: 8.3 inches | Screen resolution: 2266 x 1488 pixels | Processing: A15 Bionic chip | Storage capacity: 64GB, 256GB | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Size: 7.7 x 5.3 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 0.7 pound

You can think of the iPad Mini as a large iPod Touch, perfect for young kids not ready for a phone. Its 8.3-inch screen is big enough to play games and watch shows on, as well as cycle through all the popular mobile apps. I know from experience that my kids loved using the iPad Mini, because it was easier to hold than the larger models.

The iPad Mini’s small size does not equate to a small price, however. It is a fully-featured tablet with plenty of speed and nearly all the features of the iPad Air, including support for the second-generation Apple Pencil.


  • Comes in different color options
  • Pint-size doesn’t mean slow performance
  • Support for second-generation Apple Pencil


  • The display technology isn’t as good as on the iPad Pro model
  • No Apple keyboard accessories available for it

Best iPad Alternative For Kids

OnePlus Pad: An Android Tablet That Feels Like An iPad

OnePlus Pad

Display size: 11.61 inches | Screen resolution: 2800 x 2000 pixels | Operating system: OxygenOS 13.1 (based on Android) | CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 9000 | Storage capacity: 128GB | Battery life: Up to 12.4 hours | Size: 10.1 x 7.5 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 1.2 pounds

If you’re looking for something that’s like an iPad but isn’t, for whatever reason, the OnePlus Pad might be the closest iPad alternative at the moment. The screen’s aspect ratio is similar, the design feels like an iPad and there are stylus and keyboard accessories similar to Apple’s offerings.

The OnePlus Pad runs a variant of Android that’s polished and more than capable of running mobile apps from Google Play as well as Google’s parental controls Family Link. I’ve been impressed with the speedy performance, which has been much snappier than low-cost Android tablets. While the OnePlus Pad isn’t cheap, it is a great value in terms of this tablet’s abilities. Frankly, I would say the OnePlus Pad is worth considering even if you aren’t shopping for an iPad alternative.


  • High-resolution display looks gorgeous
  • Very long battery life
  • Good integration with Google apps and services


  • Less Android tablet apps available compared to iPadOS
  • Software may not get updated as regularly or for as long as iPadOS


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Why Trust Forbes Vetted

Forbes Vetted takes digital safety for children seriously. We also know that many of us enjoy sharing movies, e-books and more entertainment with our kids via screens, including tablets. In putting together this story on the best iPads for kids, we drew on our expertise in both the parenting and technology sectors.

As the author, I’ve also been writing about technology and consumer products professionally for more than a decade. I spent a number of years personally reviewing and evaluating products. Plus, being a parent for as long as I’ve been a professional writer has deeply informed my work curating products for kids.

For this guide, I leaned on my excessive knowledge of the tablet market to reach these product recommendations as well as talked to local parents to hear real-world anecdotal information. I talked to several elementary school educators to hear firsthand how they have seen iPads used in their classrooms and to parents to understand how their own children use iPads at home, including the senior editor of kids and baby gear, Rose Gordon Sala, who owns (in her own words): “an embarrassing number of iPads” for her children and family.

We frequently review this article for accuracy and most recently updated it in November 2023.

How We Chose The Best iPads For Kids

After compiling the recommendations from the various parents and educators I spoke to, I also considered each iPad’s size, price and features when making these picks. For the most part, websites, streaming video apps and casual activities run just fine on the majority of iPad models. The physical attributes such as a home button, large screen, LiDAR sensor and the front-facing camera are the aspects that especially informed how each product slotted into the chosen best categories above.

If cost isn’t the main purchasing consideration at the moment, you’ll probably want to upgrade the storage space when buying an iPad. More room to download movies and large photo libraries means not having to keep the iPad connected to the internet when heading out on a road trip or using the tablet on an airplane.

What To Look For In The Best iPads For Kids

An iPad is a tablet computer that, for a lot folks, actually take the place of a laptop. But you don’t shop for an iPad the same way as you do for a MacBook.

Consider Storage If More Than One Child Is Using The iPad

If an iPad will be shared between multiple kids, you may want to consider adding more storage space to whichever model you choose. Each kid will likely want to download their own games, music and videos, all of which can fill up the iPad fast.

The Port Type Might Actually Matter

Currently, the only Apple iPad that uses a Lightning port is the 9th Generation model. That doesn’t matter on its own, but since the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro both have USB-C ports, like all the other iPads, it might be more convenient for a family to have all their devices using the same chargers with the same cables.

Some iPads Are Better To Use With An Apple Pencil

If you thought choosing an iPad was difficult, wait until you try to buy an Apple Pencil.

The company announced Apple Pencil (USB-C) on October 17, 2023, which brings to three the number of models available. But here’s what you need to know: Get the Apple Pencil (1st Generation) for the 9th Generation iPad, get the new, USB-C Pencil, for the 10th Generation iPad and get the 2nd Generation Pencil for every other iPad model.

Is There A Kid Version Of An iPad?

Apple doesn’t offer a specific kid-version of its iPads in the same way that Amazon does with its Fire Tablet. Kids can use all models of iPads with the primary differentiators being size, screen technology and camera capabilities.

Of course, handing over a device designed for adults to your child means implementing a few parental controls and opening up a conversation on appropriate behavior and usage. “No tech-based solutions can ever replace the ongoing conversation families need to have with their kids about using devices and media responsibly,” says Elgersma. “Screentime can be used as a starting point to discuss a kid's tech use and help set limits that work for each individual family.”

How Many Gigabytes Should Your Kid’s iPad Have?

The storage space on your iPad is measured in gigabytes. While some iPad applications can be several gigabytes in size, the majority of space is consumed by long videos, large amounts of photos and downloaded movies. All current iPads start at 64GB which is sufficient for consuming media and daily tasks. If the device will be offline, however, and needs to store movies and videos, say for a flight with your kids, it would be best to step up to more storage capacity.

Which iPads Have A Home Button?

The only iPad that Apple sells with a home button is the iPad (9th Gen). The iPad (10th Gen), iPad mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro all use swipe gestures to return to the home screen full of app icons. On iPads with a home button, you can double-click it to see recently used apps. On iPads without a home button, you swipe halfway up the screen to see recently used apps.

Should A 10-Year-Old Get An iPad Pro?

If a child isn’t ready for a phone or laptop, then an iPad could be a great electronic device to allow them to access information and video content at home or while traveling. There is no specific age that kids can use iPads or other tablets and very young kids have no problem using the devices. For concerns around blocking certain types of content, including websites, Apple does offer ScreenTime on iPads for parents to restrict apps, times, websites and other content.

What’s The Difference Between An iPad And iPad Pro?

The iPad Pro is a more powerful device with a faster processor. It includes a higher resolution screen, more storage by default and other premium features that either cost more for regular iPads to upgrade to or simply aren’t available.

Much like the iPhone and iPhone Pro lines, the iPad and iPad Pro function similarly, but the Pro models have more premium components or options and do cost more. But just because the Pro iPads are better in certain ways does not mean those extra features will be beneficial for the way each person is using their tablet.



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The Best iPads For Kids That Educate And Entertain (2024)
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