No matter how even if they ask for one, your child probably doesn’t need a smartphone. The official notice of American Academy of Pediatrics is that young children need hands-on social interactions and exploration with peers and caregivers to learn.
That doesn’t mean you don’t need a digital device to locate, entertain, or distract them while you do something else. If you need someone to absolve you, leave me alone the second, fourth or tenth person to tell you: it’s completely OK. Here are some devices that have worked for me and my children, who are now 6 and 8 years old. Most of these freebies don’t require parental supervision, and those that do have good parental controls to limit your children’s use. Check out our Best Subscription Boxes for Kids guide and Best tablets for kids guide to find out more.
Updated November 2023: We’ve added the BuddyPhones Cosmos+, Yoto Player, Victrola Re-Spin, Amazon Echo Pop Kids, Original Woom 4 Bike, Amazon Kindle Kids, Amazon Fire HD 10 Pro Kids, and Luna Blanket. We’ve also updated prices and links throughout.
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