My 8 year old niece uses my tablets all the time and is more careful with them than I am
. She prefers my Asus Transformer TF101 as it has a larger screen. "Older" models like the TF101 (or similar Acer models) can often be found as refurbs now for less than $200, although I don't know about shipping outside the US.
She also has an iPod Touch and there are a few games that she plays that just can't be had on Android, but it hasn't been any real problem so far.