Our older kids are voracious readers. Which is wonderful and also makes travel with a ton of books a bit tricky! We’ve tried out a couple different digital reader options over the years, but our favorite by far is the kids Kindle for travel.
Which e-Reader for Travel with Kids?
We used the kids kindle fire for several years. The kids Kindle Fire is NOT an e-reader. Instead, it’s a tablet and functions as a tablet. When we purchased it, I thought it would be nice to have the option to download a few shows and movies and to have the option of a couple games on long travel days.
However, we found that there were a few downsides. The same options that convinced me to purchase it were the ones that deterred us from using it! I didn’t really want my kids to have free reign for games and video content. And while they generally knew to just use it for books, I didn’t like it being there unnecessarily. It also felt silly to have all these options that we almost never used.
Functionally, the Kindle Fire also isn’t really set up for reading books the way a standard Kids Kindle is. It’s really more of a video/games device as opposed to an e-reader for kids. So it didn’t feel as logical for the primary purpose for which we wanted it.
Finally, it’s quite a bit heavier and bulkier than a kids kindle e-reader. When using an e-reader for travel, we wanted to cut weight and bulk as much as possible. That said, if you’re interested in a tablet that does allow for videos and games, the kids kindle Fire tablet is absolutely the one I would choose. It’s inexpensive, durable, and has a great warranty. It’s currently on huge sale right here.
We’ve also tried an iPad for this purpose. We tried it for the same reasons and found it had the same downsides. On top of all that, it’s quite a bit more expensive.
Advantages to Kids Kindle
We finally decided to try a kids Kindle as a travel e-reader. Even though we rarely used the other functions, I wasn’t sure I wanted to give them all up. But we decided to give it a shot.
Turns out, we LOVED it. It’s so lightweight so it’s perfect for travel. It only holds books, so I’m comfortable with my kids using it at any time. And best of all, it’s truly set up for reading – the primary function we needed. It made a world of difference to use a device set up as an e-reader as opposed to one that’s set up as a tablet.
After getting our first one, we ended up getting two more – at the time, a kids Kindle for a 10 year old, a kids Kindle for an 8 year old, and a kids Kindle for a 6 year old. My now 11- and 9-year olds have used theirs for hours and hours and hours, both while traveling and at home. It’s so convenient to be able to access tons of books without having to pick them up and return them to the library.
My 6 year old hasn’t used his quite as much as he still enjoys a number of books that have illustrations, and the kids Kindle isn’t quite as good for that. But as he’s gotten into more chapter books, we’ve pulled it out more.
To me, these are the biggest advantages of the kids Kindle:
- Portability of lots of books/ability to get more without needing physical copies
- Built primarily for reading books
- No other apps/videos
- Easy on the eyes (uses e-ink technology that’s much better than another screen)
- No need to return physical library books
- Long battery life
- Encourages more reading when they always have something interesting to choose from!
I remember wondering before purchasing, “What’s the difference between the kids Kindle and regular Kindle?” Turns out, it was definitely worth purchasing the kids’ version for our family. The primary differences are that a kids Kindle:
- comes with a case
- has a 2-year warranty
- comes with one year of Amazon Kids+ (FreeTime Unlimited)
- has no ads
If you choose the regular Kindle, it typically costs $89.99 if you choose the version with ads, or $109.99 for the no-ads Kindle. The no-ad price is the same as the Kids Kindle normal price, but the kids version also comes with the case, the warranty, and the free 1-year Amazon Kids+ subscription. I definitely don’t want my kids seeing a bunch of ads while reading, and it definitely feels like kids need a case, so it felt like a no-brainer to get the kids’ version.
Kids Kindle for Travel
Since we travel quite a bit, traveling with a kids Kindle has made life so much easier. We don’t have to carry a bunch of heavy books, and they don’t get all torn up when traveling in an RV. It’s easy to save a spot in the book without losing a bookmark, and it’s easy to get more content when they run out.
We also love flying with a kids Kindle. My kids are MUCH more likely to read on a long flight than to just ask for nonstop movies. It’s great when we’re waiting in airports, too!
Kids Kindle At Home + Screen Time Limits
I get a lot of questions about whether I limit my kids’ use of their kids Kindle screen time limits. I personally don’t – to me, they’re reading, just like reading a physical book. The screen isn’t hard on their eyes like a computer or phone screen. So I feel no need to limit Kindle reading time.
That said, if they need to get other stuff done or focus on other things, I will occasionally put the kids Kindles away so that they’re not a temptation for reading. But this is similar to what I’d ask them to do with a physical book in order to pay attention to other responsibilities.
How To Get Books for the Kids Kindle
We get almost all of our kids Kindle books from the library through the Libby app. It’s a great way to get free ebooks for children. Here are the steps we take:
- Search for a book on Libby and check it out with a linked library card.
- Click on Borrow.
- Go to the “Shelf” in Libby.
- Click on “Read with Kindle.”
- (Make sure it’s connected to the same Amazon account used to set up the kids Kindle.)
- Click “Get Library Book” and deliver to the kids Kindle you want.
- Go to parents.amazon.com.
- Click “Get Started.”
- Click on the wheel drop down for the appropriate kids Kindle account and click “Add Content.”
- Toggle the button on the right for the books you’d like to add.
Libby is definitely the easiest and cheapest way to get kids Kindle books. You can also definitely purchase any Kindle books and add them, as well. This is also a great post with details on how to get books on a kids Kindle.
The Kindle Unlimited plan is also an amazing way to get access to over 1 million books without paying for each one. There are so many options and it’s easy to get the content on a Kindle device.
A 6-month Kindle Unlimited subscription is also on huge sale right now!
Downsides of the Kids Kindle
The kids Kindle definitely isn’t perfect, though. Here are a few downside to the Kindle
- Illustrations – if you have a younger kiddo or one who still loves or relies heavily on illustrations, it’s not the best platform for that. They’re also not in color. In this case, the Kids Kindle Fire tablet is a much better option.
- Clunky system to transfer books from Libby – this is one that is just a little annoying. As you can see from above, there are quite a few steps to transfer a book to a kids Kindle. It takes me probably a total of 30 seconds now that I’ve done it a million times, but it’s a bit clunky.
Overall, we haven’t found a lot of disadvantages of the kids Kindle. It’s been really wonderful for our family and we’ll be using them for years to come both while traveling and at home.
What do you think? Do you have or would you consider a kids Kindle e-reader for kids?