I love e-books. I even love e-books for kids! For a long time I resisted the idea of electronic picture books for children because it just didn’t seem convenient. And how could it be as good? And wouldn’t my son need his own tablet so we wouldn’t have to wade through all of my electronic cookbooks to find his stuff? What about safety and security for that? I didn’t really see how it was going to be a good idea.
However, a few months ago I made a couple of interesting discoveries that changed my mind about e-books for kids completely and my 4-year old son loves them. It’s convenient, easy, reduces clutter and is amazingly inexpensive.
One of Amazon’s big products is their Kindle tablet, which now comes in a million versions. I’ve been an Amazon Prime Member for several years and when they were promoting their Kindle Fire 7” tablet for $37 this past Prime Day in July I decided to go ahead and get one for Will. It’s $37. If he hates it I can gift it to someone, right?
Getting it set up was pretty simple, but as I discovered when I opened the Kindle reading app on the Fire, all of my own books came up. (Will does not care about the anti-inflammatory diet and is not ready for personal growth books.) Then I noticed that one of the offers that came with the tablet was for the Kindle Free Time app. I’d never heard of it before but they were going to give us a month for free I so went for it. If it’s no good, I’m out nothing.
Kindle Free Time is now what has made this tablet one of the most amazing purchases we’ve ever made for Will’s entertainment and learning. Free Time is basically a parental control app that only allows Will to access kid-friendly books, games and shows. How many of them? Tens of thousands! I also have Kindle Unlimited so I can put books under that program onto his Free Time books if they aren’t already included in his subscription. If there are books that are not part of either program and I still want him to have them, I can buy them and transfer them into his Free Time with just a few clicks. I’ve gotten so many great kids’ books for .99 or free it’s insane.
Free Time also has a lot of other fantastic features like setting educational goals, automatic limits on screen time, age-appropriate content filters (so my 4-year old isn’t seeing Harry Potter and your 12-year old isn’t being shown Daniel Tiger). Will has also enjoyed some of the easier games targeted to his age group and if we go to a restaurant and he starts getting antsy he can watch an episode or two of Blippie. Love it!
So all of that is great! How much does it cost?
If you’re an Amazon Prime member it will be cheaper than if you are not. But even if you are not, it’s still very reasonable and doable for pretty much any family budget.
First, for Prime Members:
The cost for the Kindle Fire I got Will is now $35 for Prime Members. They are practically giving it away!
Kindle Free Time for one child is $2.99 per month. Broken down over the first year including the cost of the device that’s $5.92 a month. That’s less than the cost of ONE traditional book that they may read once and never want again.
For families, your subscription cost is $6.99 per month for up to 4 kids, or $83 per year.
For Non-Prime members:*
The cost of the Kindle Fire we have is $49.99 which is still not bad.
Kindle Free Time for non-Prime is $4.99 per month for one child or $9.99 per month for up to 4 kids (pre-pay for $119 a year.)
In my opinion this is one of the best, easiest and cheapest ways to keep kids entertained and even educated safely. There’s a lot of crazy stuff out there now and parental control programs are one of the best resources we have to keep tabs on what is being presented to our kids. If you’re going to pay for one anyway, why not make it one that comes with thousands of other bonuses?
Takes up the space of one book
Parental controls and goals
Thousands of options
If you have lots of kids, they will each want their own. Even at $35 that adds up if you have to buy 5 of them in one shot.
Your child might forget about the mountain of books you spent $300 on. It’s okay – there are kids out there who need them. When the time is right, donate them.*