NEWS$show=/search/label/news

Here's where you'll find all the latest news about technology for children. We love to follow cool new inventions on Kickstarter and we hunt out all the latest announcements about tech toys and gadgets for the coming Christmas holidays. You'll also get our take on children's technology stories in the media.

REVIEWS$show=/search/label/review

Our kids technology product reviews are intended to help you work out whether a toy, gadget or kit is a good fit for your child or family. There's lots of cool stuff available, but is it the right choice for the child or teenager that you are buying for? We'll help you make the right choices and get the best value for money.

GIFT GUIDES$show=/search/label/gift%20guide

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

PROJECTS$show=/search/label/project

Get crafty with technology. Here we'll post all our ideas and projects using technology to get creative and making with kids. You'll find anything from making a lemon battery to a glow-in-the-dark Minecraft sword. Our projects are tried and tested on our own kids or at events we run, so we are sure you can have a go at home with your kids. Some of our projects use specific tech gadgets which we provide links for you to purchase.

STEM$show=/search/label/stem

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In recent years there is an increased focus in these areas of study. We like to include Art and Design too, so we often talk about STEAM (A stands for Art). At Tech Age Kids we believe Coding is a new literacy and children need to understand how technology works, practice making skills and grow in their curiosity to make a better future for us all.

CODING$show=/search/label/coding

Coding is increasingly being recognised as an important skill for children to learn. Some will learn to code at school or at a coding club, but it's brilliant if they get support at home too.

ELECTRONICS$show=/search/label/electronics

We think it's really important for kids to get hands-on with electronics and learn how to make circuits and write code to control hardware. Younger kids can start with conductive playdough. For kids who like to combine craft and tech, littleBits are fab. And we love SAM Labs wireless electronics components for making it easy for kids to make Internet of Things inventions. Lots of electronics kits for kids have support for the Arduino microprocessor environment. The DuinoKit Jr is one of our favourites. Arduino is a fab skill for older kids and teens to develop.

ROBOTICS$show=/search/label/robotics

We love robots at Tech Age Kids, especially programmable ones. We've got lots of them and write reviews and projects that use them. Our programmable robots for kids buying guide is a good place to start if you're not sure what's available. Roby the mBot Meccano robot dog is one of our popular projects and has been with us to lots of events. Our Ozobot LEGO trailer is fab for kids who love LEGO and robots.

MAKING AND CRAFT$show=/search/label/making

We're advocates of the creative use of technology, but this needs to be balanced with developing physical skills such as papercraft, woodwork, clay modelling, technical drawing and soldering. If children don't develop these skills as they grow up then physical making projects can become frustrating rather than fun. The Maker Community uses the term 'making' as a broad term to include all sorts of artisan skills or craft activities. Being able to make things can lead to life-long hobbies or even careers. It's a great feeling to be able to take a project from an idea in your head to a real object that does something. We're particularly interested to explore products that combine maker skills with tech skills such as electronics but others focus purely on the physical making skills that are still important to modern making.

Amazon Fire Kids Edition vs Basic Fire: Which Tablet Should You Choose?

Amazon have announced a new version of the Amazon Fire Kids Edition (price at time of writing $99 with 16GB) and a new entry level Fire tablet (price at time of writing $49 with 8GB.) They are both interesting options for kids, tweens and teens, but how do they compare?

Update: New Amazon Fire tablets announced for 2017 including a new 8" model in the US. This article has been updated for these new devices.

Let's take a look at how the two tablets compare for child and family use. It's not all about the hardware as we'll see.

The table 7" tablets and bundles are available in the US and UK, the 8" bundle has only been released in the US so far.

Note that while we've checked the detailed carefully, we might have missed something and details can change on Amazon so please check carefully yourself and let us know if you find anything we should change or update

Fire and Fire Kids Products

The cheapest basic Fire model is the 7" 8GB with special offers (ads). The Kids Edition is based on the 16GB version of this table without the ads. There's also an 8" 16GB Fire with special offers and an 8" Kids Edition model with 32GB of storage and no ads.

The Kids Edition bundles are available with a choice Pink, Blue and Yellow cases.

Hardware Specification

So, how do the hardware specifications of the two devices compare? Well, if you look at the detailed description of the Fire Kids Edition you will see that it actually includes the basic Fire Tablet (but with additional storage and no ads.) So, as far as we can tell, the hardware is exactly the same.

Storage

Important note: By default Amazon will offer you the 8GB version of the basic Fire but the 16GB version of the Kids Edition.

If you don't look carefully you might compare the Kids Edition with the entry level Fire for $49.99. This version only comes with 8GB of storage though. The Kids Edition offers 16GB of storage. The 7" 16GB Fire retails for $69.99. 

So actually the 7" Kids Edition is only $30 extra. 

Warranty

The warranty is an area where there are differences between the two tablets. The basic Fire Tablet has a 90 day limited warranty included. You can purchase an additional 2 year warranty costing $14.99  (as of Sept 2017) and providing mechanical, breakdown and accident coverage (do check the policy details carefully before purchasing.) 

The warranty for the Kids Edition is described as a '2 Year Worry Free Guarantee' and Amazon says "If they break it, we'll replace it. No questions asked." Mechanical and electrical faults are also covered. 

So you can get accident cover for the Fire, but this does exclude intentional damage. So it looks like the coverage offered by the Kids Edition is broader. 

It's hard to do a direct comparison here, but the warranty should be worth at least $14.99.

Kid-Proof Case

For little children, the Kid-Proof Case is a definite bonus (though note that only three colours, pink, blue and yellow are included in the bundle whereas there's more choice if you buy the case separately.)

You can buy an Amazon Kid-Proof Case for $24.99 (Sept 2017 price) and you have a wider choice of colours with green and our favourites: orange and purple (in the US at least.) So you could choose to buy the basic Fire and add a case. (Do check to see if any other colour have been added to the Kids Edition configurator.)

For older kids, the case is going to be a negative. Tweens and teens will want a cool case not a kiddy bumper case. 

Update: The basic Kindle Fire 7" is now available in a range of cool colours which will appeal to tweens and teens.

Included Content

The Kids Edition includes one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited which gives access to loads of kid friendly content: books, movies and TV shows, education apps and games.

The Amazon Fire tablets are all about the content. FreeTime Unlimited makes a lot of sense for children in its target age range of 3 to 10 years old.

A subscription usually costs $1.99 per month for Prime members or $3.99 per month without. (There are also options for multiple children.)

We'll do the maths for you: $1.99 * 12 = $23.88 and $3.99 * 12 = $47.88.

So this is where you really start to see why the Kids Edition will make sense for some families.

Sponsored Screensavers

Here's another area to consider. The basic Fire keeps its cost down by using Sponsored Screensavers.

The 7" 16GB Fire without sponsored screensavers is actually $84.99 (at time of writing.)


Parental Controls

Amazon has extensive parental controls for the Fire in Amazon FreeTime which is available on all of the Fire tablets including the basic model. 

A FreeTime web browser for kids is also available which will appeal to many parents.

Plus, there's an Amazon Activity Centre feature for the Fire tablets for kids who have outgrown FreeTime. Parents will be able see how kids are spending their tablet time.

You don't need to choose the Kids Edition to get parental controls.


Adding it All Up

So if we add the cost of the extras in the Kids Edition to the included Fire price what do we get:


Basic Fire 7” 16GB no special offers
84.99
Kid-Proof Case
24.99
2 Year Warranty (not directly comparable)
14.99
1 Year Amazon FreeTime Unlimited
23.88 (for Prime members)

$148.85

84.99 (16GB no special offers) + 24.99 (kid-proof case) + 14.99 (warranty - not the same) + 23.88 (FreeTime for Prime members) = $148.85 (special offers comparison)

The saving is bigger for non-Prime members as the Free-time subscription costs more.

8" Fire Kids Edition Comparison

Let's take the same approach to comparing the 8" version of the Fire Kids Edition.

Note that it's the 32GB version of the 8" Fire that's included in the Kids Edition.


Basic Fire 8” 32 GB no special offers
124.99
Kid-Proof Case
29.99
2 Year Warranty (not directly comparable)
17.99
1 Year Amazon FreeTime Unlimited
23.88 (for Prime members)

$196.85

124.99 + 29.99 + 17.99 + 23.88 = 196.85


This time the bundle costs only $5 more than the comparable Fire tablet without special offers. 


Conclusion

If the extras make sense for your family, especially for younger children, then the Kids Edition makes a lot of sense and offers a big saving. For tweens and older kids go for the basic Fire, but consider paying the extra to get the advertising removed and adding on a warranty and an age-appropriate case.

We think that the 8" Bundle is worth the extra for younger kids if your budget can stretch to it. The larger screen size makes a big difference in usability and you get 32GB of storage.

Teens may value portability more than an increase in screen size.


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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Amazon Fire Kids Edition vs Basic Fire: Which Tablet Should You Choose?
Amazon Fire Kids Edition vs Basic Fire: Which Tablet Should You Choose?
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
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