All kids love to draw. Some of us move on to other things as adults, some of us stick with drawing for the whole ride, but there isn’t a kid in the world who doesn’t know what to do with a box of crayons or pallette of finger paint. But it’s 2021, and kids these days have a whole banquet of technology available to them in the home — be it tablets, smartphones, or computers, and while many parents are wary of the trials and tribulations of introducing stimulating, powerful technology to their kids many more know it’s best to get ahead of the curve and find a healthy, constructive way to introduce the wonders of the modern world. And what better way than through art?
Down below we’ve rounded up a list of the best drawing tablets for kids right in the golden-middle of childhood.
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How to Choose the Right Drawing Tablet for Kids
If you’re not a major drawing tablet user yourself, you might find yourself suddenly intimidated by the nuances of the drawing tablet market. What are graphic tablets as opposed to display tablets? What’s the difference between a Tablet PC and an iPad? Why is this all so confusing — I just want a tablet for my kid! Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. Down below we’ll give you a quick run-through of the tablet market to make your browsing experience a lot easier and a whole lot less frustrating.
Pen tablets are dedicated drawing tablets that you plug into a computer (or sometimes mobile phone) that track movement and pressure across a surface mapped to your screen ratio. That means you draw without looking at your hand or pen. This can be a little awkward at first but, once you get the hang of it, many users end up preferring the unobstructed view of their piece. That said, pen tablets are a better idea for children who are already somewhat computer-savvy and willing to apply themselves to get past the brief adjustment period.
Screen Tablets are less tablets and more active monitors — in fact, they’re also called monitor tablets and display tablets for this very reason. These are easier and more intuitive to start using because you’re drawing right on the screen with your pen, and anybody who knows how to hold a pencil can pretty much jump right in. However, because they are much more hardware-heavy than pen tablets, they are much more expensive and don’t last as long as pen tablets in terms of obsolescence. But, if you’re willing to part with more cash, they are substantially easier to get acquainted with. Just make sure to be careful with these, as they aren’t at all kid-proof and can certainly sustain damage from falling/roughhousing.
We don’t actually have any tablet PCs on this list because a) they cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and b) it’s straight-up technological overkill for the needs of a kid who just wants to doodle. These are powerful machines that are basically a straight-up desktop PC packed into a heavy-duty tablet, generally reserved for fancypants creative professionals.
Think iPads or Samsung Galaxy Tabs. These are general-use tablets that you can download apps, surf the web, record video/audio and chat with. There’s a couple on this list, but both have unique specializations that make them solid options for artistically inclined kids. These, like screen tablets, do cost more than pen tablets but come with the substantial added bonus of being able to provide all sorts of other utility for their user, from education and communication to parent-controlled entertainment.
8 Best Drawing Tablets for Kids Ages 8-12
Down below is our handpicked list of the best drawing tablets for kids between the ages of 8 and 12. They range from dirt-cheap to decently expensive, and each one is suited to a different stage in the age group, so make sure to consider your budget, the level of your child’s interest in art (do they just want to doodle in explosive bouts of childish glee or do they really want a way to produce digital art like their favorite cartoons/comics, etc), and their own proclivity for technology.
For parents in search of a durable, general-use tablet for kids that can handle gaming, education and other apps on top of drawing, the Amazon Fire HD is hard to beat.
- Price: $89.99 – $139.99
- Brand: Amazon
- Tablet Type: Screen Tablet + General-use tablet.
The Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition is tailor-made to give children access to a smorgasbord of education and safe entertainment options under secure parental controls. The tablet itself is a general use Android tablet with 32GB memory, 2GB of ram and an 8′ touchscreen that, when paired with a simple capacitive stylus, can be used with an assortment of drawing apps. All Amazon Fire HD Kids Editions come with the kid-proof case to put parents at ease about their investment as well as a year of Amazon Kids+ and a two-year worry-free warranty. With durability and a world of use-cases beyond drawing alone, the Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition should be one of your first considerations for a tablet your kids will love.
The Huion Inspiroy Ink gives kids access to an LCD doodler and a real-deal pen tablet they can connect to their PC with.
- Price: $79.98
- Brand: Huion
- Tablet Type: Pen Tablet + LCD Tablet
Moving a little up the ranks in complexity, we have the Huion Inspiroy Ink which gives kids access to both a super simple LCD tablet on one side, and a real-deal pen tablet on the other that can be attached to a computer for digital art. While super light at 450 grams with a 9×5.7″ working area, the tablet is big enough to let kids draw from the shoulder without over-taxing their arm and comes with a free sleeve-bag that makes it easy for kids to carry. At less than $100, the Huion Inspiroy Ink gives kids the best of both worlds and can last children a few years, ushering them from LCD doodles to full-blown digital artistry once they’ve gotten the hang of computer use.
For the littler kids in the age bracket, the ERUW is a dirt-cheap, kid-durable tablet for casual doodling.
- Price: $16.99
- Brand: ERUW
- Tablet Type: LCD Tablet
For the youngest of the lot, the ERUW is a trusty, dead-simple LCD drawing tablet that won’t overstimulate the littles ones or your wallet. The tablet is as cheap as it gets for electronic drawing devices and is simple as pen-and-paper for kids who just want to be kids and doodle. The device itself is waterproof and fall-resistant and can run for up to 2 whole years on a single clock battery, plus the pen is attached by a lanyard so parents pretty much have nothing to worry about when shelling out the 17 bucks it costs for the ERUW LCD Drawing Tablet.
For children with more serious artistic aspirations, the Gaomon PD1161 is a reliable, and comparatively cheap entry-level screen tablet.
- Price: $199.90
- Brand: Gaomon
- Tablet Type: Screen Tablet
The Gaomon PD1161 may be a step up in complexity from the LCD tablets, but for children who have started using the computer and are nursing serious inclinations towards art, animation or design, the Gaomon PD1161 is one of the cheapest ways to introduce children to the ins and outs of working with a full-fledged screen tablet. Just keep in mind the fact that all scream tablets are really just touchscreen monitors And the parents will both need software and offer their children guidance and instruction. That said, for the 200 dollars it costs, the Gaomon PD1161 provides immense bang for your buck with a battery-free EMR pen with tilt-support and top-tier 8192-level pressure sensitivity alongside 8 shortcut keys in a relatively small and easy-to-handle package.
Perhaps for children with double-digit ages, the XP Pen Deco is a trusty pen tablet that won’t overload them with extra frills.
- Price: $69.99
- Brand: XP-Pen
- Tablet Type: Pen Tablet
The XP-Pen Deco is a much more budget-friendly alternative to Wacom’s entry-level tablets, and is simple enough, in terms of the hardware, for children to get the hang of. That said, it’s best reserved for children in the upper half of the 8-12 age bracket, as drawing with a pen tablet takes some getting used to (though not too much, especially for children and their eerily intuitive grasp of technology). The XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 is, in and of itself, a simple and lightweight drawing tablet that gives you everything you could ask for in terms of tilt support, pressure sensitivity, hotkeys, and a decent enough working area to really draw.
The Parblo Coast is a crazy deal on a screened tablet worth considering for parents of highly artistic children.
- Price: $179.99
- Brand: Parblo
- Tablet Type: Screen Tablet
The Parblo Coast 10 is just a ridiculously valuable steal for everything that comes with it in the sub-200 dollar range. If you’re even remotely considering making the jump to screen tablet for your budding artist at home, the Parblo Coast 10 will make their year without breaking the bank. It’s almost ludicrous how much you get for $179 dollars with the Parblo Coast 10: a decent-sized (but not too large) screen with a built-in stand, a 4-port USB hub, and a wool liner bag on top of the typical accessories is just bananas. With solid reviews to back up this crazy deal from a lesser-known tablet manufacturer, parents thinking about shelling out for a screen tablet for their young ones would be hard-pressed to find a more economic deal than the Parblo Coast 10.
7. Huion HS610
The Huin HS610 delivers simple to understand but feature-rich usability that young artists can wrap their heads around.
- Price: $72.99
- Brand: Huion
- Tablet Type: Pen Tablet
The Huion HS610 is a professional-grade but budget-friendly tablet worth considering for children who’ve started using computers. Backed by one of the most reputable manufacturers in the dedicated tablet space, Huion’s HS610 is lightweight, portable, and pairs perfectly with PhotoShop (or free illustration-specific programs like Krita), Medibang Paint, Clip Studio Paint, and other digital art packages. The HS610 is not only highly affordable but comes with a high-end EMR pen, 12 hotkeys and a touch-ring. Seriously, the HS610 only costs $73 but can genuinely last your child a lifetime in terms of durability and compatibility; you could buy this thing for their 10th birthday and watch it see them all the way through a college degree in animation.
While the most expensive on this list, the Simbans PicassoTab offers great value at the price point for parents looking to invest in formal art education for aspiring artists.
- Price: $229.95
- Brand: Simbans
- Tablet Type: General Tablet
The Simbans Picassotab is a tad expensive compared to others on this list, but dirt cheap for what you get with it. Unlike the other screen tablets on this list, the PicassoTab is actually a true tablet powered by Android but tailor-made for digital art with an accompanying stylus, free faux-leather case and universal charger set. The tablet itself is not too shabby for the price range and comes with Autodesk Sketchbook pre-installed — though that might not be the best starter digital illustration program for kids. All-in-all, however, the PicassoTab is a significantly cheaper alternative to an iPad that was designed with artists in mind.
We know choosing the right tablet for your children can be frustrating. Feel to send us any questions or concerns in the comments below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!
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