When it comes to talking about buying iPads for kids, I'm probably the last person to ask since I have no children. That's why it's a good thing that Wired's Brad Moon wrote a lovely post in which he explains his reasons for purchasing an iPad for each of his three children.
For Moon, the decision wasn't made just because the family had moved wholeheartedly into a digital lifestyle -- replacing books with ebooks, cable with Apple TVs and streaming video, traditional photography with digital, and more. His kids are gamers and Moon saw an upgrade to a Nintendo 3DS handheld coming up. As Moon put it, "If three kids were to eventually upgrade, that's $150 each for the 3DS hardware. Cartridges run $20 to $40 apiece and I don't know about your household, but in mine there will be skirmishes over popular titles."
OK, so we're now talking about a total close to the cost of a single 16 GB iPad. But Moon and his wife started thinking about the bigger picture. Their family does a lot of driving trips, and the iPad -- with its 10 hour battery life -- is perfect for keeping kids engaged and entertained. Moon notes that every time a new game came out for Nintendo, he needed to spend an average of $30 for a cartridge ... per kid. iPad games are more reasonably priced at $1 to $5, and everyone gets the game with one purchase.
The iPads aren't there just for fun. Moon says that he finds many apps that are available for helping his kids learn, including math and French quiz apps. And since there's only one computer available for the Moon kids to use for homework, the individual iPads offer a great way for them to do research and take notes -- anywhere.
Lest you think that all writers are loaded with cash, Moon notes that Apple's refurb store is the perfect place to find decent hardware at reasonable prices. As he mentions, a first-generation refurb was available (with a one-year warranty) for $299, and now iPad 2s are available for $399 every day. He also recommends buying the iPad(s) in lieu of other Christmas presents as a way to ease the monetary pain a bit.
Have you bought iPads for the kids, or handed down a first or second-generation iPad to the young ones? Do you find that the iPad is a great investment in the future of your children? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.