Welcome to the world of tomorrow! From self-driving cars to phones and TVs that bend and twist, everywhere you look nowadays it is clear that we are living in the future. Nowhere is that more evident than at home, especially in your baby’s toys and gadgets. Gone are the wind-up rotary phones and clacking teeth of our childhood. Instead, every little one has a cell phone toy or a remote control. These technologies are no longer newfangled devices, these are ways of life in 2018. They are things that your child will grow up with as their new norm.
Amongst the most incredible creations that have come out of technology in the last few decades are computers and the internet. Prior to the early 1990s, having a computer in your home required a large monetary investment…and a large space investment as well! Early computers were huge beastly machines that absorbed a lot of time and energy to keep running. Once the World Wide Web was released and commercialized to the public, technology began to change to keep up with our ever-growing need to stay connected with this new format. Computers got smaller, cheaper, and more readily available. Before long, the laptop began to overwhelm the more traditional desktop as a more lightweight and portable computing option.
In 2010 laptop and desktop computer sales were almost the same with roughly 201 million laptops sold to approximately 157 million desktop units. By 2017 that number had dramatically changed. Desktop sales have decreased significantly with only 97 million sold last year, compared to the 324 million laptops and tablets that were sold in the same year, it is clear that the public has chosen the smaller, more convenient mode of interconnectivity.
While we may still be a ways off of the science fiction that shows infants emailing and surfing the web, providing your child with a toy version of these technological giants that will likely monopolize their education and socialization in the future gives them an edge. Like any other tool, using a computer requires practice and time to fully understand all of the nuances involved with electronic communication.
The laptops and laptop toys we have gathered on this list vary from the very basic, infant-level gadgets to the more immersive laptop/tablet convertibles that can help your elementary or junior high schooler succeed. We hope that one of our Top 10 Best Laptops for Kids will suit your individual child’s needs and help prepare them for the future technologies that they, themselves, may help create.
Our Top 3 Picks
- LeapFrog My Own Leaptop
- 4 Learning Modes
- VTech Tote and Go Laptop
- 20 Learning Activities
- Kano Computer Kit Complete
- Learn to Code
The Best Kids Laptops Reviewed for 2018
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Kids Laptops
When choosing our selection of laptops for kids, we had to be very particular and sensitive to the needs of both kids and parents. First, is the question of, why would a kid need or want a laptop?! Most adults over the age of 30 didn’t grow up with one, and probably didn’t even have a need for a computer until high school, college and beyond! Well, that’s precisely it! That generation has passed far into adulthood. Times have changed! Everyone is using or carrying around a computational device of one sort or another and pretty much every home has a computer, too! Your kids will see this and want to mirror your behavior–which is only natural! Soon, they will see your new expensive Macbook as their latest toy! Is that what you want?!
We came up with a variety of selections that will appeal from age groups of 18 months to 12 years. We’re starting off with just the basics, a light-up computer/laptop that will help with comprehending sounds, symbols, and pictures of animals and objects. One of our options even gives an early introduction to the QWERTY keyboard for a head start in typing. In the adventure of WIFI, we gave two Android OS options with adequate speed and surfing abilities for your tween child. All in all, they add up to some of the best laptops for kids.
What kids need in a laptop
Much of this has to do with the expressed interest of the child and, the direction that the parents would like to take their child in! We still take into account the socialization factors, whether it’s related to a computer that sparks an interest in STEM-related fields, or simply a device that lets a kid download all of the latest apps! For older kids, the specs are related to having the right amount of GBs and CPU that can support proper streaming function and downloading, standard WIFI and porting capabilities. Nothing too fancy with the OS since it’s still within the realm of a tween’s world, and not yet a student of mechanical engineering.
For the younger kids who are still just learning about the world and their immediate environment, we wanted to offer products that will keep them continually engaged. At that stage, the biggest concern that a parent has is to keep their child happy and stimulated! It is known that most of the functions, such as matching sounds with pictures, songs, rhymes, and the colorful artistic adornments that some of these toy computers have, focuses children more and creates lasting neural pathways that will enable greater socialization once they enter kindergarten or preschool.
What kids want in a laptop
Hands down, what kids want the most is communication! It’s the desire of every human being from the womb on! The desire to understand and be understood! We’re attempting to cater to this basic need/want in a child from all stages at the electronic level. As your child grows to become more sophisticated in his or her understanding and awareness, the form of the need will change while the desire remains the same.
Our research unearthed the double-edged sword quandary of recent technology and your child! We all know that the recent advancements in digital and wireless technology are amazing! They’ve given us quantum leaps in the area of communication in a very short period of time! And, kids are picking it up and adapting just as quickly. For better or for worse, it is now the current Zeitgeist, part of the socialization process–and, I might even dare say a preschool rite of passage! Kids will mirror what they encounter in their environments.
What we found is that the basic toy laptops will help in strengthening causal relationships, the socialization process, imaginative role play, and developing hand-eye coordination. The drawbacks that can occur are isolation and a sedentary lifestyle, eye strain from too much screen time, and a tendency to lack focus and become easily distracted. (Think of the average Millennial attention span).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can a computer like the Kano kit be considered a STEM toy?
A: It can, though maybe not in the purest sense of that term! The Kano will definitely spark interest in computer science and mechanics. The set-up is incredibly basic and luckily comes with easy-to-follow instructions. We would say that this toy is for older children that might already be mechanically inclined, but want to take it to the next level. The building of the machine itself is a breeze. It’s the coding process that will be the biggest draw and that tends to be more geared to towards the creative and is not too challenging.
Q: I have a fear for my child’s eyesight through prolonged exposure to LED, is there any risk?
A: Yes, eye strain is one of the inherent risks of using screen technology! What we recommend is that each parent supervises their child’s time in front of the screen. These products are meant to supplement your child’s play time–not monopolize it! Break up screen time with story time! Get your kids outside as much as possible and schedule play dates with other kids and parents that don’t involve technology. The more natural light your child receives, the more healthy their vision will be. As for our products, there are many child options that only have an LCD screen which has less glare and is more forgiving.
Q: Could I get a better performance on some of these laptops if my internet was high-speed?
A: Not sure! Many of these laptops are meant for travel and to be used with a roaming WIFI signal or a hotspot. If the computer has the capability, it might be improved through a modem with an ethernet cable. Most of the computers for kids don’t have the ordinary Mac and Windows OS, therefore it’s dodgy as to what can be done with it. Look at the amount of GHBs and GHZs it offers, which is a telltale sign of its performance and the output of CPUs that can give better resolution and buffering speeds for something like streaming.
Q: How interactive are most of these laptops?
A: There’s a range depending on the needs of the age! For the older more proficient kids, the interaction comes from being plugged into the net–the ability to stream, surf the web, text friends, etc. Other models have included games that help a child learn letters, numbers and correlate sounds with instruments and animals in the natural world or the immediate environment. Either way, it’s guaranteed that your child will always remain engaged and learning with smart stage modes of learning by means of the correct keyboard configuration or simply streaming a documentary on their latest Android-operated laptop!
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