I have been writing this article in my head for the last few months. When Kindle Fire 7” tablets went on sale for Cyber Monday in 2015, my FIL bought the girls each one. At $33 he said they were too cheap not to buy. He also got them the bouncy foam cases and clear screen covers that have made them almost kid proof (the only way they could break them at this point would be to drop them in a bucket of water). I was looking forward to my daughter getting more screen reading time, since we can’t find many books in English here and I wanted her to practice. Fast forward to July, when my FIL bought my son his own Kindle Fire, and sent memory upgrades for each of the three tablets. Here are the many reasons why Kindle Fire is the best tablet for the money, and my absolute favorite tablet for travel.
My kids are able to take their Kindles and use them when they want. They are light and easy to put in and out of a backpack. This is great, because when you go through airport security, they have to be taken out of the backpacks. I usually keep all three together in my bag before security, that way I grab all three in one motion (yes they are that light), and distribute them to the kids as we are gathering all of our bags once we’re through to the other side of the metal detector.
Battery Life & Quick Recharge Time
The battery life is up to 7 hours. I find that to be plenty of time, even if we are longer trips. The kids will play with their Kindle, take a break and color, eat, and then play on it a little more. And if you can find a place to plug in when you’re in the airport or wherever, you can get one of these with a usb plug so that you can charge all your devices at once. I like this option because I can use it in the US and Europe… all I have to do is switch the plug. Just make sure that the plug you have is able to convert the power in volts so you don’t ruin your devices. I use the iClever BoostCube and have never had any problems with it. The Fire Tablet 7” only takes 3.3 hours to fully charge, so if you can plug it in for 30 minutes you will get around 2 more hours of play time.
You cannot beat the price of this tablet. With the memory update for 64 GB at only $20, you can make your Kindle like an iPad for only $70. Add the case for $25 and the screen protector for $7, and you have a really awesome kids tablet for $102 before taxes.
Amazon Underground – Actually Free Apps
There are hundreds of apps that you can get for free through Amazon’s program “Amazon Underground,” which means you can amass a pretty great collection of games without spending any extra money. The games offered in this program change, but once you have purchased them through Amazon Underground, they stay free on your devices, even if they aren’t offered for free any longer. To find these games, search under the “Apps & Games” part of the Amazon drop down menu, and then select “Actually Free Apps” under “Amazon Underground” under “Refine by.”
FreeTime is a program that lets you severely limit what your child is able to access on the Kindle. The only problem with FreeTime is that is difficult to exit, which makes sense since you don’t want your kids to be able to exit if they are small. You go through your apps, movies, and books and can add them to individual FreeTime profiles that you make for each child. The only reason I don’t use FreeTime for my younger kids is because I want them to be able to watch Netflix on their Kindles, and that doesn’t work with FreeTime. Again, that makes sense because with the Netflix App, you can’t limit access to adult Netflix profiles.
The parental controls on the Kindle Fire are robust. You can limit your kids on almost everything. My one major complaint is that the home screen on my kids’ kindles automatically loads images of my most recently acquired books. Most of the books are not for my kids, nor do I want them to have access to them. I have to manually go through each of their kindles and delete the books from their home screens. I have researched a way to avoid this, but so far everyone agrees that there is no way to get rid of this annoyance. You can also a curfew and choose which days it works. It allows you to set the earliest time they are able to use the device, and when the device will automatically stop their access. There is also the ability to provide a unique code for the kindle that is separate from the parental code. I love that, because it keeps my 4-year-old from messing up my 9-year-old’s reading and game progress.
You have the option to download movies and television shows onto your device after you have purchased them. I love this option because it means the kids still have access to their video content when the internet is not available.
So there you have it, my argument as to why I love the Kindle Fire 7” for my kids. I feel like it has all of the appeal of an iPad, but at 1/4 the price, and the price I gave you includes accessories.
My Headphones Pick
We found these JVC Kidsphones at the airport in Gatwick. The large plastic headband and cushioned ear area make these durable and comfortable. Coincidentally, they come in colors that match the Kindle Kids Cases, which makes my kids happy.
Do you have any experience traveling with a Kindle Fire 7″ for your kids? What does your pro & con list look like?
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