Scientists such as Gopnik have known a healthy newborn brain contains a lifetime’s supply of some 100 billion neurons; as a baby matures, these brain cells grow a vast network of synapses or connections (about 15,000 by the age of 2 or 3), which allow tots to learn languages and social skills, all the while figuring out how to survive and thrive in their environment.
Adults, meanwhile, tend to focus more on the goal at hand rather than letting their powers of imagination run wild. It’s this combination — goal-minded adults and open-minded children — that may be ideal for teaching computers new tricks, the researchers suspect.
“We need both blue-sky speculation and hard-nosed planning,” said Gopnik.
Gopnik and her colleagues are tracking the cognitive steps that children use to solve problems in the lab, and then turning the blueprint into computational models.
Their various experiments, whether using different-colored lollipops, spinning toys or music makers, suggest babies, toddlers and preschoolers are already testing hypotheses, estimating statistical odds, and coming to conclusions based on old and new evidence. This childlike exploratory and “probabilistic” reasoning could make computers not just smarter, but more adaptable and more human, the team says.
“Young children are capable of solving problems that still pose a challenge for computers, such as learning languages and figuring out causal relationships,” Tom Griffiths, director of UC Berkeley’s Computational Cognitive Science Lab, said in a statement. “We are hoping to make computers smarter by making them a little more like children.” [11 Facts About a Baby’s Brain]
For instance, in one experiment, preverbal babies are shown two jars, one holding more pink lollipops than black and the other more black than pink. Next, the researchers cover one lollipop in each jar to hide its color and then remove and place that lollipopin a covered canister next to the jar. The babies are then allowed to take a lollipop, and in most cases, rather than randomly choosing a side, they crawl toward the canister closest to the jar with more pink lollipops.
“We think babies are making calculations in their heads about which side to crawl to, to get the lollipop that they want,” said study researcher Fei Xu, UC Berkeley psychologist.
The researchers foresee childlike computers that could interact more intelligently and responsively with humans, resulting in better computer tutoring programs and phone-answering robots, among other technologies, including artificial intelligence.
This spring, Gopnik, Griffiths and other UC Berkeley psychologists, computer scientists and philosophers plan to launch a multidisciplinary center at the campus’s Institute of Human Development to pursue further this line of research.
Tablet Computer For Baby
Top 7 Best Tablets for Babies Compared
#1 VTech Light-Up Baby Touch Tablet
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: The VTech Light-Up Tablet is the most educational and entertaining device on our list, with 160+ songs, 10 learning activities, pretend email and weather apps, a light-up touch screen, and an interactive character.. It’s small yet durable, entertaining, and affordable—an ideal choice for pre-kindergarten learning.
- 160+ nursery rhymes and songs
- 10 fun learning activities
- Very affordable
- Requires three AAA batteries
- Babies can easily outgrow it
- The light-up screen is small
The Light-Up tablet in particular comes with 10 fun learning activities, which introduces concepts such as counting, sing alongs, first words, shapes, colors, weather, time and more. Unfortunately, it isn’t the most environmentally-friendly device as it requires three AAA batteries to power up (we recommend purchasing rechargeables). Measuring 1.2×8.2×6 inches, your little ones also won’t have trouble holding it. But if they do, it’s strong enough to endure drops, bumps, and scratches.
Unlike our second favorite toy tablet, it has more interactive features. Its screen lights up as kids play and learn new activities. Your little ones can tap on Cody, VTech’s smart cub, to interact with it. They can even swipe back and forth between screens much like an actual tablet. Your baby will love it and luckily, you don’t have to shop for the best tablet floor stands for kids this young.
#2 Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Tablet
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: Fisher-Price’s tablet is small enough to fit tiny hands, resembles an actual tablet, and provides educational content for three different age groups, making the learning experience significantly richer. Thanks to its age-appropriate content, it’s great for every stage of a child’s development.
- Three stage age-based educational content
- Looks like a touchscreen tablet
- Has plenty of buttons to push
- Buttons don’t light up
- Lacks interactive features
- Limited educational content
The Fisher-Price Smart Stages Tablet has its educational content divided into three stages: Level 1 for 12 months +, Level 2 for 18 months +, and Level 3 for 24 months+. With 28 app buttons and six total sing-along melodies that introduce the alphabet, animals, colors, and more, your kid can enjoy new fun and educational content at every stage of their development.
Compared to our top pick, this looks more like a flat-screen tablet. It does light up like the VTech tablet, but only the outer edges have this feature. The actual buttons that kids push don’t light up. As it measures 11.1×1.6×8 inches, it is very compact and ideal for little hands. Have a look at the best tablet cover to protect your child’s device.
#3 Dragon Touch Y88X Plus Tablet
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Award: Best Value
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Y88X Plus is a Disney branded 7-inch Android tablet with Wi-Fi capabilities, amazing parental controls, a protective case, and all-new Disney content for a reasonable price. This tablet is great for kids 5+ as it can grow with your child.
- Durable kid-proof case + built-in stand
- Robust parental controls
- Free Disney content
- Screen quality can be improved
- 3 hr battery life
- Some users have reported issues with performance
The Dragon Touch Y88X Plus tablet comes with a 7-inch HD display, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, a 16 GB of storage, and up to 128 GB of expandable storage, allowing parents and older children in the family to use it like any other tablet.
Related: If you’re looking for a tablet for your older kids then check out the best kid tablet on the market.
Although it looks and functions like your ordinary tablet, it is primarily designed for kids that are 5+. It has free Disney content, from storybooks to audiobooks of Disney favorites. The tablet even has a kid-proof case with a back clip that has two height levels, making it more convenient for kids of all ages and sizes to indulge in its fun activities. If you’re looking to buy your children their first tablet, this delivers exceptional value. Compare it to the best tablet computers that we have listed on our review site.
#4 Vankyo MatrixPad Z1 Tablet
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Award: Vankyo MatrixPad Z1 Tablet
WHY WE LIKE IT: The 7-inch Vankyo Z1 tablet offers educational content in 38 languages, 32 GB of storage, an exclusive protective case, and advanced parental controls that are unrivaled among tablets in this price range. If you want robust parental controls, and a focus on education, the MatrixPad Z1 is worth considering.
- Advanced parental controls
- Supports 38 languages
- Has a shock-proof case with built-in stand
- Some users have reported Wi-Fi connectivity issues
- Lacks fast charging capabilities
- Has too many ads
Unlike other tablets on our list, the Vankyo Z1 isn’t just a toy that resembles a tablet. It is a tablet with a 7-inch display, a 1.5 GHz processor, and Bluetooth. That means your babies can browse the web one day after they learn how. Not only that, you can be with them as they explore this new digital environment, curating their content, controlling their screen time, and providing access to kid-friendly websites.
The Vankyo Z1 has a 7-inch display, which is an ideal size for little hands. It has a shock-proof case that protects it from inevitable accidents and a stand so your kids won’t have trouble accessing their favorite learning activities. The best stylus can also help you get the most from your slate.
#5 Vatos Toddler Learning Tablet
Award: Best for Toddlers
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Vatos learning tablet can improve your children’s sensory development and musical awareness without damaging their eyesight. Since it doesn’t actually come with a screen, babies who are under a year old can play with this.
- No screen, ideal for eyes
- Great impact resistance
- No sharp edges
- Requires 3 AAA batteries
- Limited educational content
- Batteries not included with purchase
Designed as a learning tablet, this toy provides adequate learning opportunities for babies and preschoolers. Most of its brightly colored buttons are images of animals, which encourages natural curiosities and supplement children with knowledge when they do decide to explore this tablet. The Vatos tablet is made of ABS, making it great for impact resistance. At the same time, it makes the toy quite affordable.
Like the VTech tablet, it requires three AAA batteries, which means it’s not very eco-friendly. However, unlike the VTech, your purchase won’t come with a free pack of batteries. To compare this to other tablets, read 8 of the best 10-inch tablets.
#6 WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Tablet
Award: Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: WowWee Pinkfong’s tablet has four fun activities and a wealth of songs, including the now-viral hit Baby Shark. If you’re looking for an affordable tablet that keeps your preschooler’s hands busy, you ought to consider WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark tablet.
- “Baby Shark” themed learnings
- Has four fun modes
- Batteries included with purchase
- Limited educational content
- Lacks interactive content
- Doesn’t have lights
Measuring 0.8x 9.1×11.8 inches, the Baby Shark tablet has one of the largest dimensions on our list. However, its slim build makes it easier for little hands to grab and hold.
The Baby Shark tablet features many colorful buttons that enable kids to develop their motor skills, as well as hand-eye coordination. For instance, in the “Where Is” mode, kids will be asked to identify shapes, numbers, objects, and musical instruments before the timer runs out and all with using Baby Shark’s voice. Perhaps the best thing about it is that if your kids are familiar with Baby Shark, Pinkfong, and similar content from YouTube, they will have fun playing with this tablet. At least baby tablets don’t require the best ipad case.
#7 Leapfrog LeapPad Tablet
Award: Best Ready-for-School Tablet
WHY WE LIKE IT: Although it doesn’t cost $100, The LeapFrog LeapPad has over a hundred dollars’ worth of educational apps for reading, music, problem-solving, and creativity, keeping kids engaged and motivated to learn. With access to award-winning and expert-approved apps, the tablet can help prepare your kid for school.
- 7-inch shatter-free screen
- Has a built-in bumper
- Exclusive educational content
- Has a lot of paid content
- Some apps are a little outdated
- Some users have reported battery issues
The LeapFrog tablet features a 7-inch high-resolution screen that delivers high-quality graphics. Not only that, it’s one of the most kid-safe screens the brand has ever engineered, which allows it to withstand daily bumps, drops, and scratches.
LeapFrog’s tablet comes with a few games and other educational content; however, it also advertises a lot of paid content. The best thing about it is that it comes with just-for-me technology, which personalizes content based on kids’ performance and progress in different learning activities.
How We Decided
Tablets come in all shapes and sizes, features, and functionalities. For our list, we chose to focus on devices with built-in kid-friendly and educational content. We selected touchscreen and non-touchscreen tablets that offer little to no access to the open internet—or ones with robust parental controls. We also chose tablets that are compact and portable, measuring no more than 10 inches.
Since tablets can be huge investments, we chose more budget-friendly alternatives. Each of our seven favorites cost under a hundred dollars.
Even though our picks are quite affordable, it was important for us to find tablets that survive daily wear-and-tear, so we made sure our selection endures drops, bumps, and scratches.
The Most Important Features to Consider
Aside from the factors we considered in choosing our seven favorite tablets for babies, you might want to look into other features and specs.
- Size: If you’re buying a tablet for your little one, you ought to pick the ideal size. It shouldn’t be too big for their smaller hands to hold. However, it should be large enough for them to see their favorite shows from a safe distance.
- Battery life: Tablets make excellent travel companions for kids of all ages. Whether you’re riding a plane or the family car, a tablet can keep them occupied and less fussy while you travel. But you’ve got to make sure it has enough battery life to keep them happy and entertained.
- Internet access: If the tablet has access to the open internet, you ought to make sure it has robust parental controls and safe browsing features.
- Durability: Pick a tablet that can withstand the wear and tear of a child’s usage. Make sure it’s made with high-quality materials or comes with a protective case.
Tablets for Babies FAQs
Do tablets harm a child’s development?
Tablets provide excellent opportunities for learning and creative play. However, parents are always encouraged to limit screen time privileges of their little ones. Active play positively impacts kids’ physical and mental well-being, especially in the first five years of their life. Although you can buy your child a tablet, you shouldn’t let them play with it all day.
How old should a child be to have a tablet?
Every parent that didn’t grow up with the same kind of technology currently available to kids can feel a little guilty about giving their child a tablet to play with. According to the World Health Organization, children under the age of one shouldn’t have any screen time at all. One to four-year-olds, on the other hand, can be given screen time privileges, but should not have more than one hour of sedentary screen time per day.
Computer Game For Baby
The apps below are good learning programs for babies and toddlers because they’re kid-friendly and interact with the little ones with sights, sounds, and other fun ways. They also introduce babies and toddlers to various skills – from hand-eye coordination to music, animals, ABC’s, math, and problem-solving – in an entertaining way.
1. Baby Rattle Games: Infant & Toddler Learning Toy
Baby Rattle Games might be the #1 app for infants. This unique app makes a rattling sound when you shake your iPhone or iPad. It has bright and colorful images, real-life sound effects, and a touch-and-move screen. There are four different themes, and it even plays soothing classical music. Baby Rattle Games is free and can be downloaded from the Apple Store. It’s rated 4.5 by Apple reviewers.
2. Balloon Pops
Balloon Pops an excellent first app for a baby and the first step in learning cause and effect, pointing skills, and targeting. It makes a pleasing sound when a balloon is popped, counts, and displays the number of balloons popped. When the little one presses the balloons, they’ll hear the numbers 1-10. It has background music, but you have the option to turn it off. Additionally, there are no ads or erroneous buttons for the baby or toddler to click on while playing. It can be downloaded for $0.99 at the Apple App Store. It’s rated 4.3 by Apple reviewers.
3. Baby Games for One-Year-Olds
Baby Games for One-Year-Olds is an adorable way for a baby to learn numbers, letters, shapes, colors, animals, toys, fruits, musical instruments, and more. The little ones will have fun switching between its two games: ‘Let’s Play!’ and ‘Let’s Learn!’ The app also has brightly colored and talking flashcards buttons and entertaining sound effects and melodies. This app is free and available from the Apple Store. It’s rated 4.5 by Apple reviewers.
4. Baby Games – Piano, Baby Phone, First Words
Baby Games -Piano, Baby Phone, First Words is an educational phone game that features baby songs, nursery rhymes, and rhyming games. It’s easy to use and perfect for kids between six and twelve months. Babies can hear birds’ sounds while seeing their images on the screen. Four different musical instruments allow them to make their own music by tapping on the screen. There’s also a Baby Phone that encourages them to play nursery rhymes and learn sounds, numbers, and animal names. Babies can touch the screen and pop balloons and set off fireworks. Toddlers can even phone an animal, and it will answer, complete with a cartoon face and real sound effects! This free app can be downloaded from Google Play. It’s rated 4.4 by Google Play reviewers.
5. Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy Kids has a complete category of topics for kids 1 year and up. This app allows you to select your child’s age and, based on that age, has spectacular content in different areas for fun learning. It’s even more complete because it has activities that can be carried out without the internet. Khan Academy Kids can be downloaded from Amazon. It’s free because it is made by a non-profit organization and doesn’t have any advertising. It’s rated 4.6 by Amazon reviewers.
6. Sensory Baby Toddler Learning
The Sensory Baby Toddler Learning app can provide a newborn baby, infant, or toddler with multiple sensory experiences. When the little one touches the game screen, there are sound effects and vibrations. It has numerous visual effects, including bubbles, fireworks, starfish, seahorses, turtles, and various fish, all with different contrasting colors. It also has a game lock to prevent your toddler from accidentally exiting the game. This is a free app with ads that can be downloaded at Google Play. Google Play reviewer rated it 4.1.
7. Fish School – 123 ABC for Kids
Fish School creates a colorful underwater experience for your child as little fish swim around and create different shapes, numbers, and letters for them to identify. The fish can be touched and dragged and made to do funny things while the child listens to variations of the ABC song. For toddlers and preschool children, there’s even a memory matching game. Fish School is free and recommended for ages 2-5. It can download from the Apple Store. User reviews rate it 3.9.
8. Little Stars – Toddler Games
Little Stars – Toddler Games is a fun app that covers ABC letters, names, and sounds, as well as recognizing and counting numbers, colors, and shapes. Parents can adjust the question’s content and can even record their own voice to be used. Little ones will love that correct answers are rewarded with virtual stickers. It has a single-player mode, but two can also play this computer game. Parents can also customize it with pictures of family and select categories appropriate for different ages of children and skill levels. This is a free app available from the Apple Store. User reviews rate it at 4.4 out of five.
9. Musical Me! – Kids Songs Music
Musical Me! is for children age 2-6. The little ones join Mozzarella the Mouse in a musical world with 5 activities. Fourteen popular children’s songs were recorded especially for this app. The kids can touch the birds to play a song or tap, drag, or hold the monsters and watch them dance to music. It also has several musical instruments so toddlers can play along. Plus, they can even create their own music by moving notes on a staff. This app is free and can be downloaded from the Apple Store. Apple reviewers give it a 4.2 rating.
Best Computer Games for Babies
Many children start using smartphones and pads before their first birthday. By the time they enter school, they’re computer whiz kids, but the jury is still out on how computer screen time affects children. Although some parents use these baby and toddler game apps as babysitters, they’ll never be a replacement for interacting with a parent. Play these computer games with your kids and make sure they are only a small part of how they learn, especially if they are less than two-years-old.