In many cases, you should buy a desktop for your child, although a laptop, Chromebook, or tablet could be appropriate in other cases. Shopping for the computer doesn’t have to be a hassle, and you can find a machine to meet distance, in-person, and hybrid schooling situations.
In short, there’s no right or wrong answer to, “Which computer should you buy for your kid?” That said, if you’re looking for free kids coding classes, a desktop, laptop, or Chromebook-type computer works well versus a tablet.
Used or Refurbished Laptop or Desktop
Refurbished machines typically work like new and have been tested to make sure they perform up to minimum standards. (Do your due diligence to make sure the seller is legit, though.)
Many used laptops and desktops can meet your child’s needs perfectly even if the machines are 5 or even 9 years old. The machines should be able to handle free coding sites for students just fine.
Going used or refurbished is easier on the budget than buying new. Also, if your child drops or breaks the computer, it won’t be a costly machine that needs to be replaced. You can see how your child handles having a computer and the care your child takes with it to see if buying a brand new machine would be feasible at some point.
Tablet (Whether New or Used)
If you have been thinking about getting your child a tablet as the computer that might work. Your child does need a desktop, laptop, or mini computer to take the most advantage of text-based free coding classes for students, though. Free coding for kids can be done on smartphones and tablets, but many older students like having a keyboard and mouse since they’re learning about text-based coding. A tablet with a keyboard is a good option for portability.
One issue when considering computers or tablets is whether your child’s school offers free use of a device or is going to offer one. Some schools give students laptops, for example, which might prompt you to get a tablet. If the school instead distributes tablets, you might want to get your child a laptop or PC.
New PC or Laptop
You can buy new machines at a pretty good price, and many are durable to safeguard against children’s clumsiness. If your child is going to college soon, you probably want a new computer so the machine lasts your child a few years.
The specific type of machine may depend based on your child’s interests or learning situation. For distance learning, desktop setups with monitors and webcams work well. If your child enjoys design, then a large monitor may be a good idea.
You can purchase a new or used mini PC that is small enough to fit in your pocket. These machines do everything a Chromebook can do and are budget-friendly. They are not the best at handling the highest-end gaming or the most intensive video editing, but that is not a concern for older students.
The biggest reason you might consider a mini PC versus a laptop or desktop is if your child travels often and needs something highly portable (even more portable than a laptop or tablet). That said, the mini PC’s monitor may not be portable but is perhaps a nonissue depending on the gear available at the various locations to which your child travels.
Your Old Computer
Rather than purchase a computer, how about giving your child the “old” computer you or your family currently uses? Then you can buy a new machine for yourself or the family. As mentioned earlier, even computers that are 9 years old should be able to handle moderate needs without frustrating slowdowns or lags.
Which computer should you buy for your kid? It varies depending on the current computers in your home, your budget, and what exactly your child needs the machine for. In most situations, a regular PC or laptop suffices.