The Best Gaming Device for Kids

tech gifts for kids

You’re tired of listening to your 6-year-old ask for your smartphone, and wiping all those sticky fingerprints off your tablet has broken you down. You’re ready to buy your kid her first gaming device.

What are the choices? Do you buy a kids’ tablet, like the Nabi2? Or do you buy a classic portable console such as the Nintendo DS?

The Nabi2 ($199) is an android tablet made for kids. It’s packed with technology that would be impressive for a grown-up tablet. The manufacturer (Fuhu) skinned the OS to be kid-friendly with extra educational apps and bright, happy icons.

The Nintendo DS comes in multiple models (DSi, 3DS, 3DSXL) and many price points ($129 to $229). With more than 150 million units sold, it’s the most popular handheld gaming device ever. Plus, popularity means there are thousands of used and refurbished units to be had at a discount. Checkout Bought with a protection plan, these units carry the same warranties as a new ones ($83 to $187).

The Nintendo can be had cheaper, but consider the long-term costs…

DS games are little cartridges that you buy separately ($19.99 to $49.99). Warning: Your kid will want the expensive games—Super Princess Peach, Zelda, etc.—and her begging eyes have a way of manipulating your wallet.

The Nabi2, on the other hand, downloads games from an online app store: Angry Birds, Cake Mania, Minecraft, etc. These games are considerably cheaper ($.99 to $6.99), and most have free demo versions.

In terms of quality of play, most tablet games still lack the intricacy of Nintendo’s; they get boring faster. But if your child is new to gaming, she won’t know the difference.

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