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You have a shiny new iPad and an old one that is starting to collect dust. Don’t let dust collect in a drawer, make it the best tablet for kids by cleaning it, locking it and installing kid-friendly apps. Think of old hardware as “legacy” from the digital age. Just as you wouldn’t give your kid new clothes to play in the mud (but his big brother’s old clothes), don’t give a toddler a new tablet (unless it’s a super cheap Amazon Fire tablet). Old tablets are the perfect heirloom because you’ve already used (and replaced) them, they’ve lost value, and if your kid somehow breaks their old iPad, you haven’t lost much.
One big problem, however, is that an iPad is basically an open portal to the Internet (and the world). You have to adapt it to the age, ability and safety of your child. So let’s take a look at how you can turn your old iPad into the best tablet for kids with a kid-friendly case and a few free software tweaks. A quick note before we continue: You can choose which of the following tips and tweaks you use. Depending on the age of the child in question and what they do with the iPad, some of the advice may simply not apply. We’ve roughly ordered the tips by the age of the child, with the top tips probably for younger kids and the bottom tips probably for older kids.
How to turn any old iPad into an ultimate tablet for kids
Coverage, Security and Usability.
- My first concern with my son was keeping the iPad safe, as he is not that careful or gentle. So I decided to go for a simple case that offers 360-degree protection, has a kickstand, and can also be used in portrait mode.
Limiting the volume
- My son has no control over the volume and, like any parent, it’s hard to control. Whether it’s the iPad’s speakers or headphones, the volume should be limited to avoid damaging your eardrums.
Limit the use of the application
- The most important concern when giving a child an iPad is access to the open Internet. I wanted to make sure that I could only use certain apps, not install new ones, and certainly not browse the web. So, in SETTINGS – GENERAL – RESTRICTIONS, I restricted the use of Safari, Siri, Airdrop, iTunes Store, Apple Music, app installation, app removal, in-app purchases, and the Store. In the same settings, I set all allowed content to PG and 9+.
iPad usage restriction
- One very important consideration in giving my son the iPad was that he shouldn’t get addicted to it, so I limited usage to 2 hours per day. This can be done through SETTINGS – GENERAL – ACCESS – GUIDED ACCESS. This allowed me to lock the iPad with an app (I used the clock) for the rest of the day. This also has its own lock code.
Loading kid-safe apps
- ABC keyboard: to learn to write in qwerty.
- Archaeologist – a good game with a mix of learning options.
- Superhero HD: create comic strips and stories
- Chess: play chess with a computer or with us.
- Photo Booth (Built-in) – Loves clicking photos
- FaceTime: You can call me (can’t add contacts)
- Google Calendar: Shows you your schedule set by us.
- Messages: You can send us an iMessage.
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