iPad Covers for Pre-K and Kindergarten Classrooms

How do you protect your classroom iPads? Which cover do you use for Pre-K and Kindergarten? We’ve tried a couple of options.

How do you protect classroom iPads

We added four iPads to our classroom collection this year and that meant four new iPad covers too.  Last year, we had two teacher iPads that the students used.  Those iPads had the “classic” iPad cover that they sell in the Apple store.

iPad smart case

My teaching partner and I were admittedly anxious when we handed those iPads over to our students.  Preschoolers are not necessarily known for their care and cautiousness with electronic devices.  We were worried that one of the iPads might meet an untimely demise at the hands of our students.  The covers didn’t seem quite as rugged as others we’d seen. Fortunately we survived the year without any tragic iPad accidents.  At the same time, as we made plans for our new iPad additions, we wanted to make sure we had covers that would withstand anything our young charges might inadvertently impose upon them. After exploring a variety of options, and watching a few YouTube videos of various expensive electronic devices being dragged behind moving vehicles or dropped from rooftops, we settled on these covers:

Griffin Survivor iPad Case

This is the Griffin Survivor Extreme Duty Military Case.  With a name like that, how can it not stand up to an active four or five year old? Indeed these cases are nothing, if not durable.  We purchased 4 different colors. The one above is actually purple. We also bought pink, green and blue.

Griffin Survivor iPad Cover

There is both a rubberized shell and a hard plastic shell that combine to offer a solid shatter resistant case. The hard plastic shell also includes a plastic screen cover.

Griffin Survivor Components

Every opening (camera, home button, power button, volume control, mute button, speakers, & charger plug) is secured under 1/4 inch of silicone.  I have no doubt that an iPad protected with this case could tumble off one of our table tops and survive without any damage.

Griffin iPad Cover Back Side

If a completely damage resistant device were my only goal for our iPads.  I could be completely confident in the Griffin covers. Unfortunately, the covers diminish one of the features that makes the iPad so incredibly perfect for early childhood classrooms.  They make the iPad a lot more complicated to use, at least from the perspective of a preschooler.  One of the things I’ve loved about using iPads with my Pre-K kids, is how very simple they are. All you have to do is push the home button, open a quality app and you’re good to go! With these covers, you have to push the home button, uncover either the speaker or the headphone jack (or both!) and then uncover the camera if you’re going to scan or photograph. As I put together my Augmented Reality Number Activity, I used an iPad with one of these new cases, and often found myself having to flip the camera cover out of the way as I filmed or scanned.  It was annoying. I have no doubt that my students will be able to figure all this stuff out, but I wish they didn’t have to.  There are so many other fun things we could spend our time on besides these sorts of logistics.

I also initially had trouble with the touch screen.  It wasn’t as responsive with the cover as it is without.  Fortunately, that turned out to be user error.  There are a lot of little places to snap the silicone and plastic together to make the case secure.  I’d missed one tiny snap and that was giving me trouble. So if you decide to go with the Griffin covers, check those snaps!

While I worry that having so many of the key components covered (speaker, camera, headphone jack etc.) will make using the iPad a bit more complex, I know I will breathe a bit easier with the iPads wrapped up so tightly in silicon and plastic.  We didn’t have any iPad accidents last year, but we did have a few near misses. I watched more than a couple of students abruptly stand up and head for the bathroom, forgetting that they were wearing headphones and still plugged into the iPad sitting on the table. Fortunately I was close by and able to avert disaster, but we’re going to have almost twice as many students, and twice as many iPads, so it’s going to be a little harder to keep track of them all. I’m expecting at least one of them to accidentally hit the floor.

Which iPad covers are you using in your classroom? Did you stick with the classic Apple store cover? Are you using the Griffin Survivor? Did you try something like this rugged Gripcase? Or are you brave enough to forego covers all together?  I’d love to hear what is working for other teachers of young children.

Check out my updated article about iPad Covers for 2014:

iPad Covers for Preschool and Kindergarten
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  1. Kelly says

    I have found the perfect iPad case for use in school. I found it on Amazon and it is called the Kay case. It comes in bright colors and the handle doubles as a stand. Have had 2 for over a year and still doing great. My school recently purchased 50 more for all the classrooms. It is only $20 and very child friendly. All colors have a handle except orange.

    • technologyinearlychildhood says

      Thanks Kelly! That Kay case looks really interesting. What is the material? Is it spongey/rubbery or hard plastic?

      • Kelly says

        It is spongey. I was worried about my students chewing on it ( I teach special needs) but they have held up great. The openings are great. Camera and volume are accessible and charger has a cover.

        • technologyinearlychildhood says

          That cover looks ideal. I’m tempted to buy one just to try it. Thanks again for sharing it.

  2. Martha Jones says

    Our family has a total of 4 IPads.We have aGriffin survivor case on all IPads since November with 2 three year-olds and a 4 year-old. The IPads have been dropped, thrown, licked, and anything else 3 preschoolers could dream up. Absolutely no damage to any IPad. However, all of the components that used to be covered aren’t covered now. The kids have pulled the pieces off to use the camera, headphones, etc. Survivor cases are waterproof with the gadgets covered. I definitely recommend (And have recommended them to my Principal as I am a teacher) the cases

    • technologyinearlychildhood says

      Thanks Martha. It’s good to hear that they really will hold up as well as the seem like they should!

  3. says

    Otter Box all the way! We are part of a program where our whole school has iPads and every single one is covered with an Otter Box! They are almost indestructible!

    • technologyforearlychildhood@gmail.com says

      I have an Otterbox for my phone. I like it and it’s kept my phone safe. I did manage to crack the plastic shell though! But better the cover than the phone!

  4. says

    I have one-to-one iPads in my kindergarten class. The first iPad we got 2 years ago. At the time I was recommended a Gumdrop Hard Candy case by special education specialist and have found it to be my favorite in a kindergarten classroom setting. The company has been doing a good job giving our school educational deals also. Our IT guy purchased the Griffin at one point and I did not like it. First, of all the screen protector did not fit close enough to the screen, making it especially difficult to get touch points to work around the edges. That has relaxed some with use. Second, I also found the covers for the speakers, etc. to be annoying. I had those ripped off before the kids even got a chance. I have an Otterbox for my own iPad at home and really like it because it has a hard removable cover for the screen that can be used as an easel. Since I use it when I travel, I also like the slightly slimmer profile, however I think it is overpriced for classroom use.