I’d like to get a relatively inexpensive tablet for a mentally-disabled (autistic and intellectually disabled) woman, which can download and play simple games. She likes things such as Connect-the-Dots and Word Search. She’d probably love a game where you match the shapes or shoot at simple targets or solve simple puzzles, about the level of 1st -3rd grade. Does anyone have any recommendations of what to look for? I think an Apple product would be beyond what I’d want to spend, although it’s slightly possible (though unlikely) I could persuade her family to get it for her. Thanks!!!
For a simple tablet, the best bet is probably one of the Amazon Fire tablets. They come well reviewed and offer great value for their cost. They do try to pin you to the Amazon App Store ecosystem but, for this use case, I don’t see where that’s much of an issue. Amazon App Store has a lot of simple games and apps targeted at children.
As far as apps go, you might want to make sure any you pick (if you’re doing the picking) are full versions since so many mobile games these days rely on microtransactions; limiting how much you can play and then trying to sell you extra clicks or turns or speed boosts or hints.
Edit: Depending on her physical capabilities, you may want to consider the Fire Plus line for its wireless charging if you think regularly plugging a USB cable in and out will cause her problems or damage the port with excessive/clumsy force.
Almost certainly I’d recommend one of the Kindle Fire Tablets. They’re cheap, cheerful, if a bit underpowered in both RAM and processor, but just about perfect for what you mention. Best of all, they are cheap enough that if you break one, it’s a darn moment, not a OMG moment.
My autistic child has been SO HARD on her Amazon Fire tablet with a kidproof case. We’ve gone through 3 in her 7 years of life. One just wore out. One her dad broke after cleaning it off. She’s still using her third one. In the kidproof case, she can throw it and step on it and just generally abuse it without breaking it. They were also all less than $100 a piece. I whole-heartedly recommend the Amazon Fire tablets.
You can probably buy a used Ipad Mini, or even regular size, for pretty darn cheap at the moment since Apple just announced the new generation yesterday. I’d bet you could get a mini for $100 easy. We’ve had a couple Kindle Fires over the years and yeah they are cheap but they are really underpowered and slow to the point that they can become frustrating to use.
Sadly, even a refurbished first gen iPad on Amazon runes $149+. Which is as much as a brand new Fire with case and (importantly) a limited warranty. You could probably do better on Ebay, but then you’re taking different chances. And those early gens are not going to be a powerhouse either.
Not that I don’t agree Fires are about bang-for-buck, NOT performance as I said in my own recommendation. The reason I would consider a mini in this circumstance is if she is already enjoying Connect-the-Dots and Word Search, is she doing so on an existing phone? If so, if it were an iOS device, then yeah, the additional cost of an iPad might be worth it if she’d get the same comfortable experience she is already using. Or if it’s an android system, perhaps a used Samsung tablet would be a good option to preserve the existing experience.
But otherwise? Kindle in the Kid-resistant case should do everything someone operating on a 1st-3rd grade level would likely want and need, and still be pretty snappy about it. Even when not on any sale the base level is $50 before case, although I’d probably recommend the 8 (base model). Or wait until the next Amazon device sale, where you can generally get 20% off or more.
So @needscoffee, if you have information on prior OS experience for the woman in question, and a better idea of budget, we can certainly narrow down the recommendations a bit.
I’m getting such great advice!
She has almost zero experience on devices. Connect-the-dots and Word Search are on paper. But she LOVES my Alexa. She wants to know when every old-timey celebrity’s birthday is, if they’re still married, etc. She can thumb through my phone photos. She’s a pretty quick learner. The Fire looks just about right for my budget. I wouldn’t want to spend any more than that.
Ideas of easy games and puzzles would be very helpful, too! She likes rote stuff, matching, cute things. I could imagine something like a simple Bejeweled for low skills.
Sadly I’m not into games on the kindle, but there are a metric ton of similar games, Tetris clones and the like. The most key thing though as @Jophiel pointed out, is that most of the free apps that don’t have adds do have microtransactions for speed boosts, more patterns, or other options.
Now, you can set up various ‘parental’ options which can lock purchases either in Amazon or in-app purchases.
What I would recommend would be a simple search like ‘kindle fire games for kids’ - one such search came up with -
The second one has a search by age feature.
A few glances shows a bunch of possible matches -
Hopefully those sites will give you a place to start.
I ordered a Fire 8. I’ll investigate the games linked to by @ParallelLines once it arrives.
@slalexan, if you (or anyone else) have any game recommendations that your child really likes, I’d love to hear.
Thank you all for your wonderful advice!
What is their maturity level? Intellectually challenged but do they think of themselves as an adult? Stay away from overly childish games or ones based on children’s media properties? Wouldn’t want to offend, obviously.
She knows she’s an adult but makes no distinction between age ranges and has no embarrassment or self-consciousness about her preferences. She really likes Disney, Candy Land, Apples to Apples (children’s version, with extra-simplified rules), Bingo, very simple jigsaws, and oldie TV shows (Mama’s Family, Golden Girls, Emergency!). She loves children’s books. And of course, she likes repetition. Though she can read, she can’t add or subtract. I think she’d like Concentration, but I’ve never known her to play it.
My son is 10 and is on the spectrum; he is high-functioning and verbal but his tastes tend a bit “young” and he is very much attached to repetitive things or simple play.
Two major ones have been the Toca Life series and Sago Mini series. Sago Mini skews younger (2-5) and are simple exploration type games where you travel around the scene, tapping on things to get responses or maybe do simple mini games. Toca Life is older (5-11) and is basically an elaborate play set: dress up characters, move things around, explore and interact with the environment, etc. These are easily the two major titles my kid has spent the most time in and both have grown into big names in the kids app scene.
Both allow you to buy their games separately but also each has a “world” app to link the series’ games together. Sago’s “world” app has an annual sub to access all the games while Toca Life World has you buy each game outright. But you can also just buy an individual Toca game, decide later if you want the “World” and anything you own will be added automatically. I don’t know if they’d be up her alley but both series are well done kid’s apps.
Incredibox is a simple drag and drop music maker. My son is fond of creating repetitive beats and watching the guys animate.
Stack the States - Simple geography lessons and puzzles including where the states go and the namesake mini game where you are told to tap the states as they fill the board to make room for more.
PBS Kids Games - Free app with a bunch of simple games and activities
There’s a ton of simple jigsaw puzzle apps for kids, both traditional or piecing parts together into a whole. My son was fond of Cutie Monsters for a puzzle game
Since you said she likes children’s books, there’s a ton of narrated children’s books available in app form. My kid used to play the Wubbzy, Dr. Seuss and Little Critter app-books all the time and I still find him watching Youtube videos of narrated books for younger kids.
While looking just now, I also found this Wubbzy game for early pattern recognition and matching that she might enjoy.
My app shopping advice would be to search for games in the 49¢ to $2.99 range. This will help eliminate a lot of the “free” games that are filled with in-game ads or attempts to make her purchase things. Speaking of, make sure the permissions on the tablet are set so she can’t buy anything without a password.
Those look right up her alley! Thank you for all the tips! The Fire should be here tomorrow night, and I’ll have plenty of time to set it up before I have her this weekend. Whew!
I second what @Jophiel said. My daughter particularly likes Toca Boo which is in the Toca Life series. Toca Boca is the brand and they have a LOT of fun games around cooking, doing hair and other various life stuff. PBS Kids is also really good. They also have an app with a subscription to get clips and full episode of their shows. Sesame Street has a series of games, including Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen where you make letters and words out of cookies and get to decorate them with Elmo and Cookie Monster.