If the sight of this image upsets you, I understand. But believe me when I tell you that this is the image of a well-loved and well-used part of my daughter Emma's life. This 9th-gen iPad has been with her through her small years and is a constant source of joy, education and enlightenment for her, and it can take a beating, too. Right now it is $230 -- $99 off for Black Friday -- and frankly, any other tablet is worthless in comparison.
One caveat to the rest of this post: A good case is essential if you want your 5-year-old to use an iPad. We have the OtterBox Made for Kids Case and a million screen protectors, but in the two years we've had it nothing has broken on the tablet itself. Emma carries it around on her head, leading to drops and more than a few times it has bounced down the stairs. She spills milk on it regularly and all the sticky mess a child can get into, but the case has always kept it safe.
I know there are people out there who worry about screen time, and I do too, but Emma uses the iPad for more than just YouTube (only the kid's version folks!) and Minecraft. She uses it for her math programs from kindergarten and games like Pok Pok, a calming game with endless ways to stay entertained on long journeys. She's grown up playing Pok Pok, which has helped her learn problem-solving and introduced her to ideas about diversity and community.
We recently moved to Virginia from California, and the iPad has allowed Emma to talk to her cousins back on the West Coast while playing Minecraft, and call her older sisters in the UK on FaceTime. It's a great communication tool and I can tell you her grandparents get a huge kick out of talking to her at random times of the day. And since it features Apple's excellent parental controls, it can be locked down by us, the parents, to make sure she is safe.
I've tried other tablets. I'm an Android guy at heart, but even the best Android tablets don't hold a candle to the iPad. The main reason not to get an iPad for a kid is the price, and with this Black Friday iPad deal, the price issue is almost gone. You can take that $99 saving and put it toward a solid case and some fun learning games for your little one. There really is no better choice.
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