I consider myself a new age Mom. When I say ‘new age’ I mean that I consider myself open to new types of parenting, and flowing with what is going on in the world around us. One of the tools I use as a new age Mom is having my toddlers learn through Kindle Fires. They’re turning 3 and 4 this week, and yes, they already know how to navigate through their Kindles on their own.
I do still feel kind of guilty as an ‘80’s baby giving my kids this sort of technology, but what really sealed the deal for my husband and I purchasing these devices for our boys was seeing that Kindergarten classrooms are now using smart boards and iPads each day, and by first or second grade, many schools are sending kids home with their own laptops! In fact, I was volunteering in my 4 year old’s preschool class last fall, and I learned that they are using iPads several times a week.
If you want to know the truth, I didn’t do a lot of research on what device to purchase. I’ve been a fan of Amazon’s technology since I purchased my first Kindle, the original batch that was released for pre-order in 2007. Then in 2011, I jumped on the Kindle Fire bandwagon. It was my first tablet type device, but I switched back to the Kindle Paperwhite in 2016. To me, the Paperwhite for reading is much easier on my eyes since I’ve gotten LASIK done a few years ago.
Being a fan of the ‘Kids Edition’ of the Kindle Fire is no different for me then being a fan of anything else that Amazon throws at me. Here are a few of my favorite things about this device:
What is the ‘Kids Edition?’ Really, it’s the same tablet as a regular Kindle Fire, but it comes with a kid proof case, and a year of Kindle Unlimited Free time. It also comes with a no worry guarantee for 2 years. They break it, you turn it in for a new one, no questions asked. And in a household with two toddlers, no questions asked is a fantastic policy. This same policy also applies when your husband comes home at night and wants to know why the head is off the plastic T-rex, and Buzz Lightyear is shoved headfirst into the head hole, and the T-rex head is the centerpiece at the dinner table. Don’t ask, Jason. Just move along.
Kindle Unlimited Free Time is an Amazon subscription that makes it so your child has everything of theirs at their fingertips, and nothing of yours. They can only get into their profile, and while your profile is on the Fire, they cannot access it, as it’s password protected. When my boys get older, I’ll have to get more creative then my birthday for my password, but for now, it works! There are also no in app purchases, and if an in app purchase ever does come up (It has happened a few times in a couple of games) they have to have your passcode to purchase anything. You also have to enter your passcode to mess with any Kindle settings or internet settings. The only setting they have access to is the screen brightness and volume.
There are also no web features, unless you enable them. I just tried to go to Facebook on my 4 year old’s tablet, and it wouldn’t let me. This is what the web browsing screen looks like. And along the lines of not letting them see things I don’t want them to, or really just downloading unnecessary things that will just take up room, there are smart settings that you can set your child’s age range. My kids are set in the 2-4 age range, although you can go all the way up to 13.
I discovered this setting one day after clearing out downloaded stuff they couldn’t possibly use. For example, one of them had downloaded a Harry Potter book. I have my own wand from Harry Potter World to prove that I’m no muggle, but my 3 year old just doesn’t need to have that taking up room on his memory. I honestly have absolutely zero worries about either of my boys trying to access content that we don’t want them to see, or getting into my Amazon profile. I have so much control, yet at the same time, I can just hand them the device and not worry. Not worrying as a Mom is a luxury, and I’ll keep tossing my money at Amazon to ensure that I don’t have to worry. Here, Amazon. Just take my monies!
What’s also nice is you can set limits on them. You want them to play a few educational apps or read a certain amount of books before they can watch videos? That’s fine, you can manage that. It will let them know when they can have their video time. Or maybe you only want them on there a certain amount of time per day? That’s great. You manage that for them. Once the time is up, it locks them out, and they have to have a passcode to get back in. I don’t have the time limit features set up on my kids’ Kindles at the moment. They play with them each day, but they don’t spend enough time on them to warrant a restriction at this time. The great thing is, I can change my mind on that anytime I want.
It’s been so fun seeing my little guys learn from these devices. They definitely play way more games then they do watch videos on them, which is probably why I’ve never set a time limit. Some of the games they continuously play are definitely Mom approved, and even some STEM related, such as WordGirl, puzzles, Daniel Tiger, Blaze, SuperWhy, and any Toca Boca games. The Toca Boca games are so awesome because they’re very geared toward hand and eye, repeating actions, and doing things like building something or feeding animals. I highly recommend these games. Even Jason and I find ourselves playing them once in a while.
They also have age appropriate books as well. Some of them I read to them, and some take them through a book with an interactive app. Either way is fine with me. I almost always able to plunk down on the floor and read them a book, so I don’t mind at all. The Little Critter Books are a favorite in our house, whether it’s on our bookshelf, or on the interactive book on the Kindle.
The videos range from Amazon originals, such as ‘Stinky and Dirty’ Which is a cute show about some trucks that live in a junk yard, to episodes of anything on PBS, Thomas, Bob the Builder, to full length movies. Overall, I’m happy with the video selection. Even though they have Caillou, and I don’t know any parents who like that show. Ha!
If you’re on the fence about a tablet, and what kind of device to get your child, I can’t praise this device and subscription enough. The device is $99, and it comes with the year free of Unlimited. after that year is up, here is a lay out of their pricing plan, which I will happily pay come this December.
Amazon is such a unique company. I cannot wait to see what they come out with next!