From wearing dad's shoes and sneaking mom's lipstick to insisting on ordering from the grown-up menu at Olive Garden, kids want to be just like mom and dad. Taking pictures with mom and dad's camera is about as grown-up as a child can get. However, digital cameras are expensive and easy broken if accidentally dropped. Fortunately, there is an array of kid-friendly digital cameras available for children – from 3-year-olds to teens – with enough grown-up features to engage and satisfy them. Some are even great enough to classify them as a true digital camera for your child.
We found that the three best cameras for kids are the VTech KidiZoom, the Speedo Waterproof Digital Camera and the Playskool Showcam. Read on to learn about the criteria we used in determining the best kids digital cameras. Also, check out our Learning Center for more articles on digital cameras for children.
When choosing a digital camera for your child, it is important to know whether your child wants to really learn the art of photography or simply be a little more grown up like mom and dad. For young children, you don't necessarily have to worry about image quality and shutter speed. However, for a child seriously considering becoming the next Ansel Adams, the ability to learn about all those buttons and dials is important. Regardless, it is important to choose a camera that will hold up to the accidental bumps and spills of your little one. Here are a few of the things we considered as we reviewed digital cameras for kids.
One important key to determining the overall durability is the manufacturer's age recommendation. Cameras made for toddlers are generally built bigger and heavier so they can withstand accidental drops. For a young child, look for a kids digital camera that has hand grips to reduce the risk of its slipping from little hands. For an older child, we suggest looking at waterproof digital cameras, since they have all the digital camera functions and features, yet are built tough enough to handle the occasional bump and even drop into water.
It's also helpful to consider the batteries that the kids camera uses. AA and AAA alkaline batteries are easy to find and replace, though they can be costly if you child insists on being a little too snap-happy. Some digital cameras for kids come with rechargeable Li-ion batteries. This eliminates the cost of purchasing replacement batteries, but you also run the risk of interrupting creative playtime while waiting for batteries to recharge. Look for a camera that has an automatic shutoff to conserve energy and help reduce how often batteries need to be replaced.
While you can't expect perfection and high image quality from children's digital cameras, you can find kid cameras that have enough functions that your little one will still feel grown up. Several kid cameras include an automatic flash and zoom capabilities. The best cameras for kids have a decent amount of photo storage, a camcorder to record video and a playback mode for easily viewing those captured memories. Few kids cameras are able to record audio, too, though; most only allow you to create silent films.
Very few cameras for kids have a lot of features. Several come with a view screen, making it quicker to see the images your kids snatch. Most kids cameras come with a USB cable so you can upload pictures to your PC for viewing, sharing and editing.
The best kid digital cameras come with the ability to edit photos directly on the camera. They also have photo effects, so your child can add personalized, creative touches before sharing.
It's hard to find a toy camera that takes pictures and also doubles as a video console, but they do exist. Usually, these cameras include games that are educational as well as entertaining.
Help & Support
Technical support is not really something manufacturers are worried about with kids cameras. Usually all that is available is a user guide that comes with the product, though a few companies do offer an electronic version on their websites.
Those manufacturers that do offer one-on-one support make it difficult to find contact information. Email addresses and phone numbers are usually hidden within the vast amount of legal notices and corporate information, but can be found if you look hard enough.
Whether your child wants to be more grown up now, or is hoping to fine-tune their photography skills, there is a children's digital camera that is right for him or her. Check out our reviews on the best kid-friendly digital cameras we found to discover which camera will fit your child's distinctive needs and aspirations.