A few weeks back, I attended a blog conference, and one of the sponsors of the conference was Amazon. The Amazon representatives in attendance were showing off their newest toy, the Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition. The bloggers all crowded around the table, eager to see all the cool features of this great new device. We took pictures and admired it and played around with all of the kid-friendly features. Much to our surprise and pleasure, we all got one to take home! And let me tell you, this wonderful little Kindle has been the object of much love in my house since it arrived.
The Kindle Fire HD Kids is available in a 6 inch or 7 inch size, with a green, blue or pink case. The neat thing about this Kindle is that it's virtually indestructible (although it is not waterproof). At the conference that I attended, the Amazon rep actually threw the Kindle across the room and it was fine. And, if somehow your child manages to break his/her Kindle, Amazon is offering a free replacement for the first two years after you purchase it! The Kids Kindle also comes with a 1-year subscription to Amazon Freetime. This is a huge collection of games, books, apps and shows featuring all the characters that your child loves!
The Kindle for kids allows you to put up to 2 adult and 4 child profiles on the device. That means each child can have just the games/apps that he or she wants. And, based on your child's age and gender, different apps/books/videos will be suggested first. While in a child's profile, the kids cannot access the internet, just the Freetime options. So no worries about them purchasing inappropriate items. In the adult profiles (which are locked with PIN codes), the Kindle works just like a normal Kindle. My husband likes this, as he doesn't currently have a tablet of his own.
There are just a few things that I don't like about this device. First of all, there's no way to choose what my kids see in Freetime. This means that, if Barney is considered to be an age-appropriate character for apps/games/videos, there's nothing I can do to prevent the kids using Barney apps while they are in their profile, short of turning off WiFi or the Freetime subscription so that they are limited to what has actually been downloaded to the tablet.
Downloading app/books/games to the device from Freetime is really easy, as is deleting them. This has been a bit of a learning curve for my kids, and they've accidentally downloaded/deleted many things. Not a big deal, as it's easy for me to get the apps/books back and add them back to the profile.
Another parent-friendly feature of the Kindle for Kids is that you can set time limits for the kids' profiles. You can even set it so that they can't access the "fun" games/apps until they have done a certain amount of educational games or reading. This means that Mom and Dad don't have to be the bad guys- when the time is up, the Kindle shuts off! You can also set it so that the Kindle can only be used between certain hours of the day.
Overall, we're really enjoying having the Kindle Fire HD Kids' Edition in our house. I love the assortment of things available on Kindle Freetime. It's fun for the kids to always have a new game to play! I also really love how sturdy it is, since my two little ones are known for dropping expensive devices. This is a great tablet for kids- and for adults, if you can get the little ones to share. Definitely a great gift idea for this holiday season!