When we were young, we loved to draw and scribble on those fancy and often magical red and grey slates …called an escher sketch. You would write on it with the special pen, and then slide the eraser from one side to the other to erase your handy work.
Those were the only tablets available to kids back then, but today the word ‘tablet’ means something very different. They have a lot more features, and erasing scribbles is a whole lot easier, but no less magical for a child. At any rate, children can do a lot more than just scribble on them.
Tablets can help children to develop various executive skills, such as drawing, writing, and problem solving. Whether they are interested in mathematics or just doodling, a drawing tablet can help kids to explore their interests in depth.
In fact, if your child likes drawing, but tends to lose interest quickly, a drawing tablet might be the secret recipe to get them fixated on that interest and to pursue it wherever it may take them.
Another major advantage of drawing tablets is that your child can securely store their works of art. They can connect it to a PC and store the drawings in there. They can even store the drawings on the tablet itself, in case it comes with its own internal storage. Or they can store them on the cloud. A good tablet will also emulate the experience of drawing on paper, so it will all feel natural to your child.
The thing is though, that there are probably as many tablet brands and models out there as there are tablet features. Probably more. It can all be very overwhelming for a parent who just wants to get a good tablet for their curious child.
In this review, we shall narrow the pool of options down to the best models on the market. We’ll also talk in depth about some topics related to tablets for kids. That way, you’ll be able to make a better choice when you’re out shopping for a tablet for your child.
Brace yourself: it will be a long ride!
The Wacom Intuos Draw is one of the best non-displaying drawing tablets on the market, and a great starter for kids. It has a drawing area of 6 inches by 3.7 inches, which, while small, is adequate for a child to work with. It’s slim and very small and can fit on any computer desk…
A digital display at an affordable price …for those looking for an entry-level kids drawing tablet with a digital display and good all-round specifications.
The XP-PEN Artist12 Pro is a powerhouse of a drawing tablet for its size and very affordable price. Perhaps not suited to younger children (particularly toddlers!), this tablet is more suitable for those who are serious about starting to engage with their graphic design hobby and perhaps thinking about taking it further, such as a teenager.
Looking for an upgrade?
Not a drawing tablet in the traditional sense, the Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition comes with a year’s worth of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which covers over 20,000 movies, TV shows, books, Audible audiobooks, educational games, and apps for kids aged 3-12. So provides more of an all in one tablet set of functions, and will hopefully mean that they dont keep asking for you iPad!
The 7 best drawing tablets and writing pads for kids are…
Wacom Intuos Draw Graphics Tablet
Dimensions: 7.87 x 6.3 x 0.35 in | Display Area (Active Area): 6.0 x 3.7 in | Item Weight: 8.1 oz | Multi-Touch: No | Pen Pressure Level: 4096 Levels | Customizable Express Keys: 4 | Supported Software: Windows, Mac, Android | Battery Power: Yes | Connectivity Type: USB | Multi-touch – No
The Wacom Intuos Draw is one of the best non-displaying drawing tablets on the market, and a great starter for kids. It has a drawing area of 6 inches by 3.7 inches, which, while small, is adequate for a child to work with. It’s slim and very small and can fit on any computer desk.
You can plug this graphics tablet into a PC or Mac with a USB cable. When you draw on the drawing area, the picture appears on the screen. You can also opt for a wireless version, which, while slightly more expensive, allows you to avoid the tangle of wires altogether.
It comes with a stylus with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is quite smooth and powerful. Even better, the stylus is battery-free.
The tablet itself comes with 4 hotkeys that you can customize to perform your preferred functions. This is something an active child will appreciate as it will improve their workflow while drawing.
The drawing surface of the tablet also feels quite nice to draw on, and is comfortable and intuitive enough for your child to enjoy drawing on it,
- Wacom is a reputable brand
- Easy to set up and use
- Small but adequate drawing area
- Powerful stylus
- No digital display
- Not compatible with iOS devices
Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition
Dimensions: 11.5 inches x 8.1 inches x 1.0 inches | Display Area (Active Area): 10.1 inches | Item Weight: 27.4 ounces | Multi-Touch: Yes/No | Pen Pressure Level: N/A | Express Keys: N/A | Customizable Express Keys: N/A | Supported Software: Amazon software | Battery Power: Yes | Connectivity Type: USB/Bluetooth
The Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition comes with a year’s worth of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which covers over 20,000 movies, TV shows, books, Audible audiobooks, educational games, and apps for kids aged 3-12.
It should be noted that this isn’t a drawing tablet in the traditional sense. However, it comes with lots of drawing apps that you can install to turn it into a drawing tablet. You will, however, have to buy a stylus separately.
This tablet also has powerful hardware, including a 10.1 inch full HD screen, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, which you can extend to 512GB, and an octa-core 2GHz CPU. It also has front and rear cameras, both of them with 2MP resolution and capable of recording 720p videos.
Amazon is serious about giving parents full control over how their kids use their tablets, so they’ve included all sorts of parental controls allowing you to limit screen time, set curfews and educational goals, and manage control for up to 4 user profiles. There’s also a ‘FreeTime’ mode which restricts access to Alexa and social media.
The tablet comes with built-in Bluetooth, dual-band Wi-Fi, a built-in microphone, and dual stereo speakers.
The best part, in my opinion, is that it comes with a 2-year warranty which allows you to return it to Amazon for a no-cost replacement if it breaks during the warranty period.
- Lots of content thanks to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited
- Built just for children
- Robust parental control features
- Very generous warranty
- Stylus needs to be purchased separately
- It’s not a full-featured or high end tablet
iskn The Slate 2+
Dimensions: 7.4 inches x 7.3 inches x 0.2 inches | Display Area (Active Area): Same as width and height; roughly A5 size | Item Weight: 13.4 ounces | Multi-Touch: N/A | Pen Pressure Level: N/A | Express Keys: N/A | Customizable Express Keys: N/A | Supported Software: Android, Windows, and MacOS | Battery Power: No | Connectivity Type: USB/Bluetooth
This is a hybrid tablet that emulates well the experience of drawing on actual paper. All you have to do is connect it to your device and draw on real paper with real pencils. The tablet simply digitizes your drawings and displays them on the device in real time.
You can use any pencil you like to draw on the paper, including notebooks, so long as they are no thicker than 7mm. The tablet will take care of the rest.
Another thing I love about the Slate 2+ is that it is compatible with all devices, that is PC, Mac, iOS and Android. This is a great advantage over many of the others on this list which aren’t compatible with iOS devices.
The Slate 2+ is highly portable and can either be connected to a device or used on screenless mode, where you would draw just as you would normally on actual paper.
I love this tablet because your child will not miss the experience of drawing on actual paper with an actual pencil, but will also be able to see the results of their work on a digital screen in real time. It combines the best of both worlds.
- Great for kids
- Can enhance the creations made on paper
- Combines the best of both worlds
- You can use any pencil or paper
- Not as precise as normal drawing tablets
- Not that many features
XP-Pen Artist 12 Pro Drawing Tablet
A digital display at an affordable price …for those looking for an entry-level kids drawing tablet with a digital display and good all-round specifications.
The XP-Pen Artist 12 Pro boasts an 11.6 inch 1080p full HD display. The stylus has 8192 levels of pressure, with incredible accuracy. It has 6 hotkeys that can be programmed to perform various functions with ease. It also has a touch bar for more analog operations, such as scrolling, zooming in and out, and many more. All of this customizability only serves to improve your child’s workflow and make them more productive and their overall user experience better.
This tablet comes with the advanced P06 pen, which does not require batteries and has the feel of a traditional pencil. It features non-slip grip, a built in eraser, and extra nibs.
The XP-Pen Artist 12 Pro is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS, though it is only compatible with Windows 7 through 10. It can also run most of the most popular digital graphics software, such as Autodesk Maya, Illustrator, Corel Painter, and Adobe Photoshop, among others.
This is a powerhouse of a drawing tablet, and yet it comes at a very affordable price. I wouldn’t get it for a toddler. It’s more suited to a teenager who is serious about indulging their graphic design hobby and looking at a career in the same.
Also, it has to be noted that the Artist 12 Pro is designed to act as a second monitor for use with a computer, and therefore cannot be used on its own.
- Very affordable price
- High quality display
- Powerful stylus
- Comes with a glove to allow the hand to slide easily over the tablet
- Better suited for teenagers than for children
- Meant to be used a second monitor, rather than a standalone tablet
XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 Graphics Tablet
Dimensions: 13.8 inches x 8.5 inches x 0.3 inches | Display Area (Active Area): 10 inches x 6.25 inches | Item Weight: 1.3 pounds | Multi-Touch: No | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: Yes | Customizable Express Keys: 8 | Supported Software: Android, Windows and MacOS | Battery Power: Yes | Connectivity Type: USB/Bluetooth
The XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 is yet another bargain from XP-Pen. It has a high quality build and an elegant design that will serve your child well for many years.
For starters, it has a fairly large drawing area measuring 10 inches by 6.25 inches. Despite that, it is quite light, weighing only 1.3 pounds and has a minimalist slim design.
The stylus is battery free and offers 8192 levels of pressure, allowing your child to draw and write with a full pallet of pens and brushes. It works smoothly in conjunction with the drawing surface and even comes with its own stylus stand. The 8mm thickness also ensures the drawing experience is a comfortable one. The stylus also supports up to 60 degrees of tilt, which makes for more natural looking lines.
The Deco 01 V2 is an upgrade over the Deco 01 and supports connection with devices running Android 6.0 or higher, which means you can use an Android device as the monitor. This makes it considerably more portable than if it only interfaced with a computer.
This tablet comes with 8 hotkeys, located on the side, allowing your child to program their most used functions into them for ease of use. The tablet can also be rotated at 0, 90, 180, and 270 degrees, making it easy to use whether you’re left-handed or right handed.
The main downsides of this tablet are that it is a graphics tablet without a built-in screen and that it is better suited to teenagers than to toddlers. That said, assuming those aren’t deal breakers for you, it’s definitely a bargain worth considering.
- Great value for money
- Powerful stylus
- Compatible with Android devices
- Can be used by both right-handed and left-handed people
- Very well designed
- Mostly for teenagers
- No built-in screen
Huion 1060Plus Graphics Tablet
Dimension: 14.2 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches| Display Area: 10 x 6.25 inches | Item Weight: 3.15 pounds | Display Resolution: 5080 LPI | Screen Size: 10 inch| Report time: 233 RPS | Connectivity Type: USB | Supported Software: Windows and Mac | Battery Power: 1 lithium metal batteries included | Multi-Touch: Yes | Stylus: Grip pen | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: 12 | Customizable Express Keys: Yes
The Huion 1060Plus comes with a 10 inch by 6.25 inch drawing area. The drawing area is not only expansive, giving plenty of space to work with, but also has a nice texture to it that feels fantastic to work on. This kind of surface is especially fun and intuitive for kids to work with, encouraging them to explore and express their creativity.
The 1060Plus comes with a battery-free stylus with 60 degrees of tilt sensitivity and 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. The tilt recognition means the stroked look and feel more natural and the pressure sensitivity means you can get lines of different darkness.
This tablet is compatible with PC, Mac, and Android devices. To use it with an Android device, you just need to connect it with an OTG connector, which you will have to purchase separately, and you’re good to go!
The best part is that it comes with 16 soft keys and 12 hot keys. All of them are individually customizable, giving your child the opportunity to make their drawing life easier in countless ways. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if this feature excited you more than it did your child.
- Very affordable
- Very user friendly
- Powerful battery-free stylus
- Compatible with Android devices
- Comes with extra nibs
- It is a graphics tablet, not a drawing tablet
- Not compatible with iOS devices
What to consider before buying a drawing tablet for kids
You need to figure out what the purpose of the tablet is going to be. For example, if you’re buying it for a teenager, then you should get a tablet with lots of different features and functionality. Your teenager may already know a thing or two about illustration and graphic design, and so they may want more advanced features.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to help your child learn, you can get a more child friendly tablet with a durable design. Traditional tablets are your best choice by far if you want your child to be able to do stuff like watch YouTube Kids. To make sure the tablet lasts as long as possible in the hands of your child, you should consider buying a child proof case to protect it from damage.
The overall size matters. You don’t want to buy an unwieldy tablet that your child will have a hard time holding and using. The tablet should be large enough that your child can see the contents clearly, but also small enough that it can fit in their hands.
Closely related to the overall size is the display size, or the drawing area for graphics tablets. The larger the display size, the better it is for your child (within reasonable limits, of course). A larger drawing space allows your child to fully express themselves and their creativity. No one wants a cramped space within which to draw.
Again, the size of the drawing area is related to the overall size, but they are not the same. The actual size of the tablet is not the same as the display size or drawing area. Therefore, no matter what the overall tablet size, the display size or drawing size must also be large enough to accommodate the needs of your child.
Weight is just as important a consideration as size. A heavy tablet will be cumbersome for your child to carry around. Portability is the magic word. Get something that your child can easily carry and comfortably work with. Get something they can carry around with them, in case they want to bring it along on vacation.
Tilt sensitivity as it makes it easier to make more natural looking strokes on the tablet. You can create thin or thick strokes, depending on how far you tilt the stylus. This will help your child practice drawing different types of lines. Tilt sensitivity typically isn’t an issue when you’re working on a computer, but it makes a huge difference when drawing on a tablet. It helps to make the entire drawing experience feel similar to paper.
Of course, tilt sensitivity means nothing if the stylus isn’t of great quality. A good stylus should not only have lots of features and hotkeys, but should also be highly durable so as to tolerate the kind of harsh handling a child might subject it to.
Not all styluses are the same. Some of them need to be charged while others don’t. Some of them are more comfortable than others. Some have more hotkeys, erasers, a higher pressure sensitivity, and so on. Make sure to pick a stylus that meets your child’s needs.
This all depends on the kind of applications you want for your child. If you want them to be able to go on the internet, then a fully functional operating system with a proper browser should do. You should also consider getting an operating system that’s compatible with the apps that you want to install for your child, such as those in the Adobe Creative Suite, or YouTube Kids, or CorelDraw, and so on.
Intuitiveness, also known as user friendliness, is yet another important factor to consider when out shopping for a drawing tablet. For starters, the drawing tablet should be suitable for the child’s age. For example, if your child is a beginner, but the drawing tablet is only compatible with Illustrator or Photoshop, which are both rather advanced software, your child might grow bored with it. On the other hand, if they’re advanced, but the tablet doesn’t have any advanced software, they might also get bored with it.
Intuitiveness also extends to ease of use. It must be easy for them to navigate around the user interface and get things done with ease. A child friendly tablet that doesn’t need lots of lessons on how to use it is perfect.
We live in the age of wireless devices, and a tablet should be no exception. Wireless connectivity trumps wired connectivity in one major way, and that is portability. A display tablet comes with a screen, which means your child can carry it around with them and draw on the move. A graphics tablet absolutely has to be wired, which tethers your child to a desktop computer. Get a wireless compatible tablet and you will make things infinitely easier for your child.
As far as the battery is concerned, the most important metric is battery life. Try to go for a tablet with a USB-C charger. Why? Because they charge faster and USB-C cables are multi-purpose cables, meaning you’ll use the same cable for power and data transfer if you ever connect your tablet to a computer. That’s fewer cables.
There are also tablets that come with a replaceable battery and a year’s warranty, giving you peace of mind about just how many total hours of power to expect from your battery. Additionally, it’s a good idea to get drawing tablets that come with a battery as part of the package so you don’t have to buy them separately.
Different tablets come with different designs to allow them to stand at an elevated angle on a table. Some of them allow you to use the stylus as a sort of stand for the tablet. Others come with built-in legs to help you prop the tablet up. If your kid likes to be able to show off their artwork, then consider getting a tablet with some kind of stand mechanism.
Kids can be very harsh with tablets. They are, after all, kids. You should therefore pick a tablet whose body is made of high quality material, such as ABS plastics. This will give your tablet a fighting chance as your children handle it carelessly. You don’t want accelerated wear and tear on such an expensive object. You should also consider getting a protective case for the tablet, just in case it’s frequently dropped. The screen should also be of high quality so it is resistant to scratches and doesn’t crack easily.
Parental control is something you don’t want to miss on the tablet you buy for your child, no matter what. The internet is a potentially dangerous place for children, and you want to have full control over the kind of content they can access while online. A tablet that allows you to control access to different kinds of content helps you make sure your child is safe, even as they learn.
There are lots of major brands that offer tablets for both children and adults. If you’re serious about quality, durability, and customer support, go for a well known brand with a sterling reputation. These include brands like XP-Pen, Wacom, and Apple.
Good quality drawing tablets can generally last a long time, so long as you use and maintain them properly. However, this is assuming an adult is using them. Things change when it’s a child that’s using the tablet. A child can be careless and rough with a tablet, constantly throwing, running, grabbing, and even throwing tantrums. All of these things can make a tablet break.
A good way to mitigate all that is to either get a child-proof tablet or go for one with a decent warranty so you can have some peace of mind. You should also purchase your tablet from a brand that has reliable technical support. It is reassuring to know that you’ll have someone to turn to when your child starts having problems with their tablet. If you have an issue, you can contact technical support and have it handled immediately.
Drawing tablets for kids have a wide range of prices, from as little as $50 all the way to over $2000. It really all depends on what kinds of features and functionality your child needs in a tablet and how much you’re willing to spend. If you’re looking for something basic that allows your child to explore their creativity, then go for a cheap but good quality drawing tablet. If you have a teenager who’s serious about diving into graphic design at a professional level, it’s a good idea to get something with lots of features and functionality.
Advantages and disadvantages of kids using a drawing tablet
- They help keep your child entertained.
- They help your child develop their motor skills.
- They help your child develop their critical thinking skills.
- They help your child get accustomed to technology at a young age.
- Your child may get addicted to the screen if time limits are not imposed.
- Your child may be exposed to inappropriate content if proper supervision is not applied.
- Your child may not learn some vital skills associated with learning to draw on actual pen and paper, such as drawing over their mistakes.
Will kids benefit most from a digital display or graphics tablet?
Right, so there are two types of drawing tablets that you should take note of. One is the non-displaying drawing tablet, also known as a graphics tablet, and the other is the displaying type, also known as a drawing tablet or digital display tablet.
Non-displaying tablets don’t have their own displays, so they need to be connected to a computer for them to work. When you work with one of these, you draw on the tablet, but your see your work on the computer screen.
Graphics tablets require your child to go through a learning curve in order to get good at them. They have to learn to connect them properly to the computer, set the software up properly, and also to look at the computer screen, rather than the tablet, when they’re drawing.
These tablets are often more compact and lightweight than their counterparts with displays. This makes them more portable, though that’s not a useful feature since they can’t be used on their own.
That said, graphics tablets are much cheaper than drawing tablets with displays. They are also far more durable, as they have fewer fragile components. They are more child-proof for that reason.
Digital display drawing tablets
Drawing tablets have a display, which makes them far easier to use than graphics tablets. They are especially easy for beginners to use. Working with one also feels similar to working with pencil and paper, and you can see the results of a pen stroke instantly on the screen beneath the stylus.
This class of drawing tablets includes both traditional drawing tablets that come with a stylus, and multipurpose tablets like the iPad Pro mini. They are priced much higher than graphics tablets, since they have more features, not least of all a built-in screen.
Drawing tablets, though they might be larger and heavier than graphics tablets, are more portable, since they can be used on their own. Their main drawback, however, is that the screen is the weak link, and can easily be destroyed by a careless child. Hopefully, if you buy one, you’ll child-proof it and go for one with a warranty to give yourself some peace of mind. You’ll need to, considering how much money you’ll likely spend on it.
How long should kids spend using a drawing tablet
Setting time limits is an important measure, as it prevents your child from becoming addicted to technology. It also has health benefits, since staring at a screen for extended periods can cause eye strain, and may lead to damage to your child’s eyesight in the long term.
Professionals recommend that children between the ages of 2 and 5 get no more than an hour of screen time every day. As your child gets older and needs the tablet to complete school work, you can extend those limits.
You can enforce time limits either by monitoring your child, or setting timeout limits on the tablet. Most tablets with parental control have this feature, where the tablet locks itself once the time limit ends and the child can no longer play with it.
Guidelines for using
- Don’t buy your child a tablet until they are at least 2 years of age.
- Choose educational activities for your child to engage in on the app, such as art and music apps, educational games, subject based games, and even appropriate e-books and magazines.
- Make sure to select age appropriate content for your child to engage in.
- Provide guidance and supervision for your child to make sure they use technology responsibly. One way to do this is to set time limits, as mentioned above.
- Use parental controls, such as app locks, internet filters, disabling in-app purchases, and having separate users with different permissions.
Which tablet is best for kids?
The best tablet to get for your child depends on their needs and preferences, as well as yours. You need to consider a bunch of factors, as outlined in the buying guide, including the use case for the tablet, its features, size, battery life, warranty, price, and so on.
What age should a kid get a tablet?
It’s a good idea to wait until your child is at least 2, or when they enter preschool, to introduce them to a tablet. This is when they learn to write and draw, and so it’s a good time to let them explore their curiosity in these areas.
Are tablets bad for children’s eyes?
Tablets are not bad for children’s eyes per se. What’s bad for them is spending too much screen time, that is time spent staring at a screen. This can lead to eye strain and possible eye damage in the long run. To prevent this, set time limits for your child to use the tablet and also make sure the brightness isn’t set too high.