Affordable (relative to competitors)
Built-in parental controls
Free 1-year Freetime Unlimited subscription
Best features and content require Freetime Unlimited
Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
We purchased the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet so our expert reviewer could put it to the test with her toddlers. Keep reading for our full product review.
Kids today are as tech-savvy as they come. It seems that they can navigate smartphones and tablets before they can even walk. With electronic tablets providing access to so much unregulated content, though, it can be challenging for parents to embrace this technology for their children. A tablet specifically designed with kids in mind can be a great way to allow your little ones some independence while knowing that they’re safe online. The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet is one of the most popular tablets for its kid-friendly platform and durable case. We picked one up and got to testing it with our toddlers. Read on for our full review.
Design: Fully kid-proof
Finding the right tablet for kids can allow children the independence that helps them learn while still keeping their needs in mind. The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet is well-designed and provides a lot of features that are at just the right level for little ones. Videos, books, and apps can all be opened by using the touch screen. Our 3 year-old easily learned how to navigate to his favorite shows and books.
The screen is 8 inches, which is just right for kids. We would prefer a larger screen for things like email, typing papers, or doing schoolwork. But for watching videos, playing games, and reading books with children, the 8-inch screen is just right for their smaller hands.
We did notice that the touchscreen is very sensitive, especially when our son was first learning to use the tablet. This led to a little bit of frustration for him, as he accidentally opened apps and videos while navigating through the home screen. He adapted quickly to the screen’s sensitivity and was using the tablet independently within a few uses, though.
The case is perfect for small hands to hold and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. When we initially removed the tablet from its packaging, the first thing we noticed was how sturdy the case is. It comes in one of three bright, kid-approved colors: blue, yellow, and pink. The case itself is slightly flared out at each corner, making it easy for young children to hold, and it's also lightweight, weighing just over 16 ounces. Our 3-year-old was able to carry it with one hand without any trouble.
We were thrilled to see that the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet comes with a two-year warranty. Even if our children drop the tablet, Amazon will replace it with a new one. Any accident is covered under the warranty, which will make parents feel better about letting their children play with an expensive electronic tablet.
Entertainment Value: More than passive screen time
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet comes with a free year of Freetime Unlimited from Amazon. This service provides a lot of great content that parents can allow their kids to access, including television shows, books, and other apps. Our son loves watching PBS Kids shows, which are included in Freetime Unlimited. Other major networks, such as Disney and Nickelodeon, also have content included. We love that Audible is included in Freetime Unlimited, so that our kids can use the tablet as a kid-friendly E-Reader.
We can use the Freetime Unlimited profiles on any Amazon device. The line of Fire products, including the Fire TV stick and the Fire TV, are particularly easy to connect with the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet. We connected our Echo Kids Edition to the same profiles and played the same Audible content on both devices. This was a benefit that we, as parents, noticed more than our kids did, but it made transitioning from using the tablet in the kitchen to listening to songs and stories in our playroom much easier.
Freetime Unlimited also provides parents the chance to monitor their child’s tablet usage using the Amazon Parent Dashboard. When we logged into our account, all of our children’s profiles appeared. Each showed how much time they had spent on their tablet, broken down by activity. We could see just how much time they spent watching videos, reading books, playing games, and using Audible’s audiobook app.
When we went into the settings, we were able to set limits on what our children could access and for how long. We set a limit on the total amount of screen time our preschooler could have. For older kids, the bedtime limit would be particularly helpful. Parents can choose a time that the tablet will be inaccessible, corresponding with their own child’s bedtime.
One of our favorite apps is the puzzle app. The focus on education and development through age-appropriate games and learning goals is one of our favorite features of the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet. The Learn First setting allows parents to prioritize educational goals, such as time spent reading or listening to Audible, before kids are able to access the other fun content, like videos. We didn’t use this feature with our preschooler but plan to start in the next year or two.
To set up Freetime Unlimited, each child can be assigned a profile that includes parent-approved content just for them. This is a great option if you have multiple children of different ages using the same tablet. We had the option to set up to four profiles.
After the free year subscription, Freetime Unlimited costs between $2.99 and $9.99 per month, depending on your plan. This is not a significant expense, but it should be considered if you plan to use the subscription. Once our son learned to navigate through the content on his profile, we knew that he would be very upset to see it gone after the free subscription was over. A lot of his favorite apps, books and videos, as well as our favorite features, can only be accessed with the Freetime Unlimited plan.
Age Range: Preschoolers and older
Any device that allows kids access to online content can be worrisome for parents. The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet provides parents the chance to control what their child sees. We mostly use the tablet during our 3-year-old son’s afternoon quiet time. He can navigate to find his favorite videos, use the puzzle app, and access books that we have downloaded for him. Older kids could easily learn to download their own content, which parents can monitor or limit using parental controls.
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet is perfect for traveling. We have not traveled with the tablet, but expect it to be a great addition to future road trips. The 32 GB of storage means that we can download content for him to access when we don’t have a Wi-Fi connection. The battery life is advertised to be around ten hours. We have not used it for ten continuous hours, but have found the battery life to be a little bit more than ten hours when using the tablet off and on.
The focus on education and development through age-appropriate games and learning goals is one of our favorite features.
Our preschooler is able to select apps, videos, and books using the touchscreen. If you are using the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet with a child younger than five, expect them to need some time to get used to navigating it. We had to be pretty close by to help our son select an app or video, go back to a previous menu, and use the volume controls for the first few weeks. After around a week of using the tablet for an hour or two each day, he was able to independently get to the things he enjoys.
The Freetime Unlimited content is meant for children up to age 12. Parents can control what is available within each child’s profile by selecting age filters. It also blocks social media, Alexa, and the ability to make purchases for all users when in Freetime Unlimited mode. This is especially important for children as they get older, but not a concern that we had. We were happy that we could choose educational content for our son to watch when using the tablet for videos. We could also narrow the age-range to just 3 to 5, narrowing down his options to just what is age-appropriate.
If parents want to use the tablet, they can exit Freetime mode by using a password that is set up during the initial setup process. This opens up access to the internet, Alexa, and other features that are included in any Fire tablet. Switching back to Freetime mode restricts access to these features. We were happy to be able to use our son’s tablet to access the internet when he was napping since it meant taking fewer items with us when we travel or leave the house.
The parental controls include the option to set a curfew. Because we don’t allow electronics in our son’s bedroom, we did not use this feature. But if you have older children, it can be a great way to provide a little bit more independence but still set and enforce healthy limits. Using the Parent Dashboard, you can also set a time for the tablet to be available in the morning. We did use this feature with our 3-year-old, who often wakes up early and asks to watch videos. We told him that when the tablet came on, he could watch a video. After only a few pleading questions, he accepted that this was a limitation of the tablet and not his parents being strict. This meant fewer arguments with our preschooler, which was a huge win for us.
Price: Best for your budget
There are a number of kid-friendly tablets on the market, but many cost more than twice the price of the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition. The $130 tablet comes filled with age-appropriate apps and content which makes it a fantastic deal.
The two-year replacement warranty made us even happier with the price. Knowing that Amazon will replace the tablet in the event of an accident—which is much more likely to happen in the hands of young children—provides added peace of mind for budget-conscious parents.
Competition: Tablets for all ages and budgets
Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet: You may consider the less-expensive Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet (view on Amazon), which provides the same electronic hardware as the Kids Edition. At $80, it is almost half the price of the Kids Edition tablet. If you factor in the cost of a year-long Freetime Unlimited subscription, durable case, and two-year warranty, though, the benefits of the Kids Edition tablet are worth the extra cost.
iPad Mini: When you think of a small tablet, the iPad Mini (view on Apple) is probably what comes to mind. Apple is known for its high-tech and intuitive interface. They are also known for being on the expensive side. If you’re looking for a dual-purpose tablet on which your kids can watch TV and you can run advanced programs, such as Photoshop or high-tech games, the iPad Mini may be worth the price. If you’re simply looking for a kid-friendly tablet you won’t use, though, $400 is a hard price to justify.
Buy it ASAP!
The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet strikes the perfect balance between price and kid-friendly features. We love that we can provide our toddlers with parent-monitored educational content and don’t have to worry about them breaking the tablet thanks to a durable case and a two-year warranty.
- Product Name Fire HD 8 Kids Edition
- Product Brand Amazon
- Price $129.99
- Weight 16.7 oz.
- Product Dimensions 9.6 x 6.1 x 1 in.
- Color Blue, pink, yellow
- Age Range 3 and up
- Warranty 2 year replacement