Best cameras for kids to spark their creativity

·13-min read
 (Canon)
(Canon)

Photography is a great way for children to get creative and express their personalities. If you want to truly see the world through your child’s eyes, why not invest in their very own kids’ camera?

Is your child starting to show a real interest in photography? Is the thought of letting them handle your expensive DSLR enough to make you break out into a cold sweat? Whilst the cameras on smartphones today are generally good quality, you can’t beat getting your child their own very first camera.

Whilst there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all choice when choosing a camera for kids, there are some obvious contenders out there for the best children’s camera. Whether you’re looking for a compact ‘point and click’, a robust, shockproof camera for younger children or an instant camera that can turn a sleepover from drab to fab in seconds, we’ve rounded up the best easy to use cameras that are either made specifically for children or suitable for beginners.

Things to consider when buying a camera for kids

Choosing a camera for your child can be a minefield, as there are a huge number of camera brands and models on the market, so what should you consider when making your choice?

  • Age suitability - some cameras are suitable for children as young as three, with large buttons and easy, simple to use instructions. Others require slightly more technical ability and as such, are better suited to tween-aged children and above.

  • Ease of use - Is it easy to hold for your child’s small hands and are the buttons easy to press? Can they navigate through the menu settings? Is it intuitive or will you need to digest an entire booklet of instructions before they can get started?

  • Image Quality - If your child is simply having fun and using their camera as a form of entertainment, then you may not need to worry too much about the number of megapixels, the quality of the zoom and whether or not the camera can film HD video content. However, if your child is starting to develop a real interest in photography and plans to print out or share their images on social media then look for a camera that offers a slightly higher specification.

  • Physical Quality - Kids are prone to dropping things, a lot, so it could be worth investing in a camera that is able to withstand regular drops and falls. Some kids’ cameras come with a robust hard-wearing outer shell which can help prolong its life.

  • Portability - How small and lightweight does the camera need to be? You may want to consider whether your child can easily pop the camera into their backpack to take out and about, or whether it will require its own case.

  • Upfront cost and additional expenses - Not only is it important to factor in the cost of the camera itself, but also any additional accessories that you may need to buy. Some kids’ cameras require batteries and can get through them pretty quickly, whilst many digital cameras may need additional storage in the form of an SD or microSD card. For instant cameras, the cost of the film really can be significant, making them less suitable for everyday use.

Here is the ES Best round up of the best cameras for kids.

VTech KidiZoom Duo 5.0

- Age suitability: 3 - 9 years

- Megapixels: 5.0 megapixels

- Display: 2.4 inch LCD display

- Extras required: 4 x AA batteries, micro SD card

If you’re looking for your child’s first camera and want something that is both intuitive and easy to use, the VTech KidiZoom Duo 5.0 is a great place to start.

Available in a choice of pink or blue, the KidiZoom Duo has a robust rubber frame that is built to withstand even the most enthusiastic of handling. With easy to grip side handles tailored to small hands, large buttons and menus that are easy to navigate, your kids can concentrate on having fun and get snapping in no time at all.

The specifications of the KidiZoom have been enhanced since the original 2017 version, now boasting a decent 5.0-megapixel sensor and 4x digital zoom, along with a substantial 2.4 inch LCD display that allows children to instantly playback and review the fruits of their labour.

From an entertainment perspective, the KidiZoom Duo comes with a lens that can switch round for taking the ultimate selfie. Children will absolutely love applying the fun effects, filters and frames to their photos and with 5 built-in games, it makes a great companion for long car journeys and travel too.

It’s worth noting that whilst it does come with batteries included, you may want to stock up as gameplay can drain them quite quickly. You may also wish to enhance the size of the internal memory with a micro SD card (sold separately).

Buy now £39.99, Amazon

Sony Cybershot DSC W800

- Age suitability: Beginners

- Type: Compact

- Megapixels: 20.1 megapixels

- Display: 2.7 inches

- Extras required: Micro SD card

Another great first camera for tweens or teens, the Sony Cybershot DSC W800 is a compact, lightweight and portable ‘point and shoot’ camera that comes at a great price.

Slim enough to pop into a pocket, this small but perfectly formed camera has some great functionality packed in, including a wide-angle lens, 5 x optical zoom and 20 megapixels image quality. It even comes with ‘smile shutter technology’, helping children capture the precise moment where everyone is looking their best.

Your teens and tweens will love using the party mode and picture effects with friends, as well as the panorama options for capturing impressive landscape shots. There is even a dedicated movie button so you can make sure you’re ready to capture the best footage as soon as the opportunity arises.

Buy now £104.99, Amazon

Oaxis My First Camera 2

- Age suitability: Juniors

- Type: Compact camera

- Megapixels: 8.0 megapixel

- Display: 2 inch LCD screen

- Extras required: MicroSD (up to 32GB)

The chunky, brick-like design of the Oaxis My First Camera 2 is sure to appeal to a younger audience, but don’t be fooled by its toy-like appearance, the Oaxis actually offers a strong specification for your child’s first camera.

With an image quality of 8 megapixels and a 3 x optical zoom, this camera is lightweight and easy to hold, with a long-lasting battery that is rechargeable via USB.

A great choice for holidays, not only can the Oaxis take some great shots on land, but using the waterproof casing, they can even take it into the pool and sea up to a depth of three metres, before viewing their underwater shots on the camera’s 2 inch LCD screen.

Younger children will love adding fun filters and frames to their shots, as well as customising their camera casing with stickers. Older ones, however, may prefer something that looks a little more grown-up.

Buy now £67.57, Amazon

VTech KidiZoom Studio

- Age suitability: 5-12 years

- Type: Studio / video camera

- Video Quality: HD video recording (720p) capability

- Display: 2.4 inch LCD display

- Extras required: MicroSD card

If your teen or tween fancies themselves as a vlogger or YouTuber and wants to dabble into the world of home video, the VTech KidiZoom Studio comes with all the kit they need to get started - everything from unboxing videos to dance routines, days in the life, tours and illusions.

This HD Video recorder comes with a convertible mini tripod, handle and wrist strap, allowing children to get creative and film footage hands-free. With 20 different backgrounds to choose from including the beach, outer space and the set of a TV show, your children can also use the included green screen to create their own adventures such as flying or ‘magically’ disappearing from the shot.

The KidiZoom Studio comes with six fun games and easy to use, child-friendly editing software built-in and ready to go.

It’s worth noting that whilst it comes with internal memory, it’s certainly on the small side, so you’re going to want to buy a MicroSD card to avoid having to delete their creations.

Buy now £42.99, Amazon

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

- Age suitability: Tweens and Teens

- Type: Instant camera

- Extras Required: Instax mini film (packs of 20)

If your child is looking for a fun instant camera to capture memories at sleepovers or parties, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is an investment camera that is ideal for snapping group selfies with friends.

Available in a choice of five stylish colours with a customisable shutter button, the Instax Mini 11 instantly prints a 54 × 86mm snap, ideal for popping into an album or displaying around the mirror in their bedroom.

With automatic exposure and built-in flash, you don’t need to worry about your images coming out too dark, but it’s worth remembering that the film is not included. With only 20 photos in each £14.99 pack, you also can’t afford to be too snap-happy - choose your moments wisely!

Buy now £69.00, Amazon

Polaroid 9030 Now Instant Camera i-Type

- Age suitability: Tweens and Teens

- Type: Instant

- Extras required: i-type film

Another popular analogue instant camera from a trusted photography brand is the Polaroid Now Instant Camera, available in seven bold and bright colours that enable your child to really express their personality.

Simple enough that they can load the film and get started without assistance, the Polaroid Now comes with integrated autofocus, self-timer and flash, allowing your children to wave goodbye to blurry instant photos and instead display shots they will be proud of. They can even play around with the double exposure settings to create some really unique and striking photographs in sharp and vivid colour.

The Polaroid Now is quite chunky in size measuring 11.2 x 9.4 x 15 cm, so it isn’t the most portable choice, but for fun and creativity at home or with friends. Again, the price of instant film is not for those on a budget, so think more ‘special occasion’, than everyday use.

Buy now £92.99, Amazon

VTech KidiZoom Print Cam

- Age suitability: 5 - 10 years

- Type: Instant camera

- Megapixels: Not specified

- Display: 2.4 inch LCD display

- Extras required: Micro SD card, additional thermal paper

VTech KidiZoom certainly knows its market when it comes to kids’ cameras, so another popular choice, for an instant camera, is the KidiZoom Print Cam.

The Print Cam comes with a built-in thermal printer that allows children to take a photo and instantly print and rip away from the case, creating panoramic prints, comic strips and even personalised play money. Children will love flipping up the lens to take selfies with their friends, before turning their photos into line drawings to print, colour and bring to life.

Ideal for scrapbooking, diaries and homework tasks, children can also use the Print Cam as a regular camera, taking photos and saving them on a USB.

The Print Cam comes with one roll of thermal paper included and additional packs of five rolls (four paper and one sticker) retail at £10.99, making this a fairly affordable instant camera compared to others on the market. However, the printing is in black and white only, so whilst the images aren’t the best quality, they certainly encourage creativity.

Buy now £59.99, Amazon

Kodak Printomatic

- Age suitability: Tweens and Teens

- Type: Instant camera printer

- Megapixels: 5 megapixels

- Display: Advanced optical viewfinder

- Extras required: Additional photo paper

Unlike the other instant cameras on our list, the Kodak Printomatic automatically prints zinc images in full colour without using ink, printing photos on 2 x 3-inch sticky-backed paper that is tear and water-resistant.

Point, click, print and stick - it’s really as simple as that. A great option for creative kids with scrapbooks, diaries and journals, the Kodak Printomatic can take up to 25 prints per charge. You can even keep snapping whilst it’s printing, so your child won’t have to miss a moment of the fun.

With an automatic flash, 5-megapixel camera and advanced optical viewfinder, your child will have far much more control over the quality and focal point of their image - and if your child doesn’t want to print their images right away, they can simply save the images onto a microSD card and transfer to a laptop via USB.

It’s worth noting that the Kodak Printomatic won’t print images they already have on their phones - for that, you’d need something like the Kodak Mini 3 retro printer.

Buy now £48.58, Amazon

Canon IXUS 185

- Age suitability: Beginners

- Type: Compact camera

- Megapixels: 20.0 megapixel

- Display: 2.7 inch LCD display

- Extras required: micro SD card

If your child is showing signs of taking their photography more seriously, you may want to up the stakes, purchasing a higher resolution camera that can capture quality images whilst remaining simple and easy to use.

The Canon IXUS 185 is ideal for beginners with a range of straightforward, intuitive shooting modes. Your child can start off using the Easy Auto function, which automatically chooses the perfect camera settings for the environment, before switching to using manual settings as they grow in confidence.

A slimline compact camera that is small enough to pop into a pocket, it’s portable to use outside the home, for travel or at parties and events and comes with handy features such as an 8 x optical zoom and face recognition.

Buy now £213.95, OnBuy

Kodak C300R Mini Shot 3

- Age suitability: Tweens and Teens

- Type: Instant Camera

- Extras required: Kodak photo paper

If your kids want the option to print images taken both on their phones and via an instant camera, the Kodak Mini Shot 3 offers the best of both worlds. Unlike other instant cameras, you also have the option to cancel, so they won’t waste valuable paper printing images they no longer need.

Offering wireless Bluetooth compatibility with their iPad, iPhone or Android devices, the Kodak Mini Shot 3 can quickly print off laminated, long-lasting prints in either borderless or bordered designs. Children can even edit their images using the simple to use Kodak AR app, changing settings such as brightness and contrast, or adding fun filters and stickers.

The Kodak Mini Shot 3 comes with 68 photos included, and Kodak claims that they offer 60% cheaper paper, with larger packs offering better value for money.

Buy now £137.99, Amazon

Verdict

For an easy to use, robust camera for kids that produces decent quality photos and encourages an interest in photography, plus has tons of extra entertainment packed in, you can’t go wrong with the KidiZoom Duo 5.0. However, the Sony Cybershot DSC W800 offers the ideal combination of practicality, functionality and fun for older children who want to take their photography more seriously.

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