Holiday gift shopping for kids — The best iPhone, iPad, AirPods, and Apple Watch for children and teens

Apple iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch
(Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

Shopping for your children during the holidays can be a hard task. Some kids are super easy to get gifts for while others are a bit more difficult. If you're shopping for a tween or teen then you want to make sure you get them the electronics that they want while making sure they're reliable as well. We at iMore are the first to sing the praises of Apple products, but some of them are better suited to kids and teens than others are. Here are the best Apple gifts for kids. Fortunately, many of them are at a deep discount for Cyber Monday

Best iPad for kids

iPad mini 6

(Image credit: Adam Oram / Future)

We absolutely love the iPad, but for many children the best choice is the iPad Mini 6, which happens to be on sale during this year's Cyber Monday iPad deals. Let's be honest, children make mistakes and there's always the risk that they will break something. So having a smaller surface area can help the iPad Mini survive a few more drops and bumps while your child watches shows and plays games. Of course, you'll want to purchase a protective case as well to keep it safe. There are big blocky ones with shock-absorbent sides for younger children or distinguished-yet-protective cases for teens. 

The iPad Mini isn't just for entertainment, though. It can also be a useful tool to help your child complete homework assignments by looking up information. Of couse, you can always set up parental controls to limit where exactly they can visit on search engines. 

If you've got a budding artist, then purchasing an Apple Pencil 2 can really help get your child familiar with digital drawing via the iPad Mini. Procreate is an iPad-only software and many artists consider it the best digital drawing program out there. Plus, it only costs $10. There's also Adobe Fresco, which is free and offers a simplified interface with many of Photoshop's best drawing tools. 

What's more, the Apple Pencil 2 magnetically charges on the side of the iPad Mini, so your child can always store it right with the tablet. This makes it less likely for them to lose it. We also prefer the Apple Pencil 2 over the Apple Pencil 1 for children since the first version doesn't have this magnetic ability and it was very easy to damage the original model during charging. 

Image (opens in new tab)

iPad Mini | (Was $499) Now $399 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

This is by no means the latest iPad, but it still works incredibly well. The 8.3-inch screen is large enough to enjoy games and streaming shows, but doesn't cost as much as larger versions. It's also compatible with the Apple Pencil (2nd generation), if your child likes to draw. 

Apple Pencil (2nd generation) | (Was $129) Now $89 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Apple Pencil (2nd generation) | (Was $129) Now $89 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

This stylus magnetically attaches to the side of the iPad Mini and charges up that way. It's comfortable to hold and responds incredibly well when it comes to pressure sensitivity. Plus, some of the best digital drawing programs are on iPad. 

Best Apple Watch for kids

Apple Watch Seriies 6 and Watch SE

(Image credit: Daniel Bader / iMore)

All variations of the Apple Watch have pushed boundaries and provided helpful health features that millions of users take advantage of. However, if you're thinking of getting one for your kid then we recommend the Apple Watch SE. These are pricey devices and as such, we think they're better suited to tween or teens rather than younger children. 

With the Apple Watch SE (2nd generation) + Cellular, your child can make calls, text, and stream music without needing an iPhone of their own. Just set it up with your own iPhone and they can use it wherever they are. It's a great way to help them keep in touch during their busy schedules.  

Plus, it has a heart rate monitor and sleep tracker to help your child keep tabs on their health. The included crash detection software can also be helpful for easing the minds of parents whose children have just started driving since the watch detects significant impacts and sends an emergency notification straight to the screen. That way, your child can easily make an emergency call with just a few taps. 

We also think this is a good option for teens and kids since it doesn't cost as much as some of the others. If it gets lost or damaged, it won't be as much of a loss as some others. 

Apple Watch SE (2022) + Cellular| (Was $299 ) Now $279 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Apple Watch SE (2022) + Cellular| (Was $299 ) Now $279 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Make calls, listen to music, and text from this Apple Watch SE. It's a great way to communicate between parents and children and doesn't even require that your child have an iPhone of their own. 

Best iPhone for kids

Black iPhone SE 2022 on pink background

(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Just about every kid and teen will ask their parents for a phone at some point. Whether you're looking to upgrade your kid's current device or want to get them their first one we highly recommend the latest iPhone SE, which released this year. It provides many of Apple's latest features but doesn't cost as much as some more expensive options out there. 

It's easy to use, and parents can easily set up Parental Control on iPhone. That way, you can determine what apps your child or teen can access and can even determine at what hours of they day they can use it. 

Additionally, with just a $5 per month subscription, kids can get access to a large list of Apple Arcade games, which are ad-free. That way, they can enjoy themselves and you won't have to worry about them making in-app purchases or playing something they shouldn't. 

iPhone SE + Cellular | $429 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

iPhone SE + Cellular | $429 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

This is one of the latest iPhone models to come from Apple. It features an A15 Bionic chip, 5G connectivity, and is compact. It's a great way to keep contact with your kid or allow them to text you during busy schedules. 

Apple Arcade | $5/month at Apple (opens in new tab)

Apple Arcade | $5/month at Apple (opens in new tab)

Give your child access to a large library of enjoyable mobile games that don't have ads or in-app purchases. New titles are regularly added including popular hits. 

Best AirPods for kids

AirPods 3 lying on table out of charging case

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

AirPods can technically be used by anyone from kids to adults as the design allows them to fit in a wide range of ear sizes. However, this is probably a gift you'll want to reserve more for your teen since they're expensive and the small size makes them easy to lose. Of course, if they do go missing, you can use Find My on your iPhone to help you locate them. 

They produce excellent sounds thanks to the adaptive EQ, which helps them automatically adjust their settings with each music track they play. Plus, they easily pair with any iPhone, iPad, or other compatible Apple device. On top of that, they are incredibly stylish and come with a charging case to replenish the battery. The AirPods themselves last for up to six hours, but with the charging case, they can go for up to 30 hours. 

AirPods | (Was $159) Now $79 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

AirPods | (Was $159) Now $79 at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Listen to your music in style with these classy earbuds. They were designed specifically to work with iPhone and iPad and can be recharged using the case. Plus, they produce very good audio quality. 

Apple offers products that are both stylish and reliable, making them a great choice for kids and teens. The iPad Mini provides an excellent way for your kids to watch shows, play games, or perhaps even do their homework. Meanwhile, every kid at some point will inevitably ask for a phone, and the iPhone SE is a great, safe option. 

Similarly, if your child is an athlete or you want a way to communicate with them without giving them their own phone, then the Apple Watch SE is a great choice. They can make calls, text, and listen to music right from this stylish watch. Anyone dedicated to sports can keep track of their sleeping habits and heart rate as well. 

Of course, most kids will quickly gravitate to listening to music, so a nice pair of reliable earbuds like the AirPods (2nd generation) are a great choice. They provide excellent sound and the Find My feature can help your child locate them if they ever get lost. 

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.