It wasn't long after I started using an iPad that my wife saw how useful it would be to have her own. Earlier this year, I upgraded to the third generation iPad, which meant that we became a three iPad household. Having two children in the house (age four and six) made it easy to decide what to do with the extra iPad. There are lots of high-quality apps designed especially for young children to help with spelling, math, etc. Indeed, my son's school even has an iPad lab that the children use, and the school has a good list of recommended apps.
Although I only let the kids use the iPad when I am around or at least nearby, I was still nervous about letting them handle an iPad that could be broken with just a single drop on the ground, so I've always limited them to using the iPad in one spot on carpet or on a bed. Recently, however, iPad accessory manufacturer X-Doria sent me a free review unit of a product called the Widge. This $40 product is a protective cover and handle for the iPad 2 and third generation iPad that makes the iPad much more safe for kids.
The unit itself is made of foam rubber and is wrapped around the iPad. Once inside, the iPad is very sturdy and won't come out unless you manually take it out. The website for the product says that it is "squishy." I wouldn't go quite that far because it holds its shape well, which I consider a plus. But the substance definitely has some give, making it easy to grip and also providing protection for the iPad if it is hit on a side.
The name "Widge" is a play on the fact that it has a wedge shape. Thus, this case has a built-in stand that props up the iPad at a slight include, perfect for using an app. You can also flip it over and prop up the iPad like a screen for watching a video. Note that you cannot stand up an iPad in a portrait orientation in the Widge, but I saw my son play several games of checkers (a portrait-only game) with the Widge on his lap and he didn't seem to notice much that the Widge placed the iPad at a slight angle. To the contrary, I think he liked having something around the iPad that made it easier to hold.
Speaking of holding the iPad, the back of the Widge has a built-in handle. This provides an extra grip and makes me feel much less nervous to see my child carrying an iPad.
There are holes at all the right spots so that you can charge the iPad when it is in the Widge and so that you can use the camera and hear the speaker. There is also a hole for the headphone port and the switch on the side. For the volume buttons and the Sleep/Wake button, the Widge covers those buttons but makes it easy to still use them because of indentations in the foam rubber.
Finally, there is something about the shape or color of the Widge that makes the iPad seem more fun. My kids both like using the iPad when it is in the Widge, and I feel more at ease with the extra protection.
If you are looking for a way to make your old iPad 2 more kid-friendly (or if you are letting them use a new third generation iPad), the Widge is a great product.
Click here to get the Widge on Amazon ($39.99).