Whether you’re a parent or not, I hope that you’ll find this post on the best cameras for kids useful.
Maybe you’re a grandparent, or simply a friend of someone with kids, but whatever the case, there’s no doubt that cameras make great presents for the little ones!
Whilst there are many generic compact cameras and instant cameras that are suitable for kids and teenagers who are interested in photography, I’m going to focus more on those manufacturers who make cameras specifically for young children.
For older children, check out my recommended cameras for teens.
As the child gets older or wishes to further their understanding of photography, it may be time to upgrade their ‘kids camera’ to something more advanced, but as a first camera, all the ones I’ve recommended below will make a child’s introduction to photography a fun, exciting and rewarding experience.
Best Cameras for Kids | The Criteria
The criteria I used when looking for the best kids digital camera in 2017 was as follows:
- Price – even though it’s unlikely that a child would be able to afford these cameras with their pocket money, it’s important kids cameras inexpensive, due to the higher probability of loss or accidental breakage.
- Ease of use – kids pick things up quickly, but unless the camera is very easy to use, they may lose interest in taking photos quickly too.
- Design – by this I mean how attractive the camera is to a child. I’ve chosen cameras that my own children would love to pick up and play with!
- Durability – kids drop things… a lot. All these cameras for kids need to be able to withstand some bumps and scratches!
- Reviews – parents tend to be very honest when it comes to reviewing products for their children. All the cameras for kids I’ve selected below have a lot of positive reviews.
So without further ado, let’s see which kids cameras should be on your Christmas gift list for the children this year.
Best Cameras for Kids | The Winners
VTech Kidizoom DUO Specs
Recommended Age: 36 months – 9 years
Size: 6.4 x 2.3 x 3.6 inches (16.2 x 5.8 x 9.1 cms)
Weight: 1.3 pounds (136 grams)
Price: Approx $60 – Click here to find the latest price
VTech Kidizoom DUO Review
It’s easy to see why the VTech Kidizoom DUO is one of the most popular kids cameras available in 2017. Not only does it function well as a fun and intuitive way to take photos, but it also has built in games that your kids will love.
Being part-camera-part-games-console does give the VTech Kidizoom DUO an unfair advantage among all the other kids digital cameras, but nevertheless it does deserve a special mention for making the DUO such an all-round entertaining toy for the children.
One of the 5 built-in games is a car racing game whereby the car moves with motion-control when your child tilts the camera, and the other 4 are equally fun interactive games which allow kids to enhance their photos with a variety of frames, stamps and crazy visual effects – like a kiddie-friendly version of Instagram!
If you’re worried about your child spending too long playing the games (and not enough time actually taking photos!), the VTech Kidizoom DUO has a handy parental control setting, allowing you to limit the time they spend using the in-built games.
With all the video games, movie and even voice recording, it’s easy to forget that the VTech Kidizoom DUO is actually an impressive little camera too!
There’s also a 4x digital zoom to teach your child about being able to ‘crop’ a photo without moving their feet, and a built in flash for when it comes near bed time :-)
I particularly like the inclusion of dual viewfinders, one on either side of the camera’s rear, allowing your child to decide which eye they prefer to shoot pictures, or use both eyes together.
Having only one viewfinder on a camera is something we take for granted as adults, but (especially young) children can sometimes find it odd if the viewfinder placement doesn’t precisely match their stronger eye.
The VTech Kidizoom DUO offers 256mb of in-built memory, but I’d recommend investing in a large capacity micro SD card like these to make sure your child’s photography development isn’t hampered by lack of storage space… or more realistically, they’ll be able to shoot 300 of the same photo of Buster the dog!
Another handy feature is the auto-shut off which puts the camera to sleep after 3 minutes, prolonging the life of the 4 AA batteries (included with the camera). Battery life is actually very good, but will depend of course on how much fun your child is having with the built-in games!
All in all, the VTech Kidizoom DUO is a very entertaining, feature-rich camera for kids, in a durable, easy to hold, attractive design. From one parent to another, I highly recommend it!
VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix Specs
Recommended Age: 36 months – 8 years
Size: 8 x 6 x 3.4 inches (20.3 x 15.2 x 8.6 cms)
Weight: 7.7 ounces (218 grams)
Price: Approx $40 – Click here to find the latest price
VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix Review
Another great camera for kids from VTech is the Kidizoom Camera Pix, an update to the incredibly popular Kidizoom Camera Connect. It’s actually quite similar to the aforementioned ‘Duo’ camera, but lacks certain features, indicating that it’s aimed to a slightly younger child, which in turn makes the price slightly more affordable.
The two viewfinders allow children to experiment with finding their ‘strong’ eye, and button placement is sensible and convenient for little fingers with short reach. Photos can also be taken using the LCD screen rather than using the viewfinders.
The Vtech Kidizoom Camera Pix features 4 built in games for when your child wants a break from photography, offering photo collage templates, 35 fun photo effects and 4 creative apps which are sure to keep little ones entertained.
Another fun addition is the selfie-mode which automatically detects your child’s face, helping to take the perfect selfie.
At this point it’s worth noting that even the best cameras for kids such as these offer poor photo quality when compared to even the most basic smart phone, but it’s still more than adequate for children. The joy of photography for them will be in the actual taking of the picture, rather than counting mega-pixels after all!
Another fun element of the Vtech Kidizoom Camera Pix is the shutter sound that it makes when taking a picture (as well as other sound effects). This simple inclusion gives a nice audio feedback for younger children who may be otherwise confused as to whether they’ve taken a photo or not.
The built in video and voice recorder functionality adds an extra dimension to the Vtech Kidizoom Camera Pix, making it an entertaining all-round toy rather than just a kid’s camera.
As with the aforementioned ‘Duo’ camera, the Vtech Kidizoom Camera Pix also has a handy auto-off feature which will help prolong the life of the 4AA batteries. Incidentally, the batteries are stored in the handles of the camera beneath tamper-proof screws, ensuring safety for your children.
By removing certain functions such as an in-built flash, Vtech is able to reduce the price of the Kidizoom Camera Pix, positioning it to appeal more to parents of slightly younger children. As a first camera, I still think it’s a good choice that definitely won’t break the piggy bank :-)
Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Specs
Recommended Age: 36 months – 7 years
Size: 5.1 x 2.3 x 3.2 inches (12.9 x 5.8 x 8 cms)
Weight: 14.4 ounces (408 grams)
Price: Approx $160 – Click here to find the latest price
Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Review
The Fisher-Price Kid-Tough is a great starter camera for kids. The photo quality is only on par with a very basic smart phone camera, but it’s still better than the cheaper cameras for kids on this list, and this is reflected in the higher price point.
As the name suggests, the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough is meant to survive every inevitable bump, drop and scratch that your child can throw at it!
The recessed lens is also a nice feature, meaning that the lens should stay relatively free of smudges and fingerprints.
Despite being designed to withstand drops, its rubberized grip is easy to hold and the big, chunky buttons are fun and easy for preschoolers to press.
The two viewfinders are on the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough are meant to be used in conjunction, like a pair of glasses. Young children usually find it awkward to view a scene with only one eye, so this set up can mean a more fun experience for them as an introduction to photography.
The 4x zoom feature can teach children about being able to get closer to their subjects without moving their feet – a concept that’s obvious for us adults, but not as simple to grasp for the little ones.
The Kid-Tough Digital Camera stores over 2,000 pictures and has 256 MB of built-in memory, which is actually more than enough thanks to the small file size of each photo.
Once photos are downloaded onto a computer, kids can edit the photos by adding stamps, frames, and more with the downloadable photo editor software. If you’re looking for a toy that can expand your child’s creativity in multiple directions, this camera is a great choice.
Battery life is decent, but be aware that the 4 AAA batteries aren’t included with the camera so you’ll have to buy them separately.
As the camera doesn’t include an auto-off feature, you may go through batteries quicker than normal – I’d recommend these Eneloop batteries which hold their charge very well when not in use.
From a preschooler’s perspective the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough is quite realistic, in that it looks like a proper camera (albeit in a kiddie-friendly blue or pink colour!) Despite the simplicity of use, the camera features all the main functions that the child needs to learn the basics of photography.
If you’re looking for a simple-to-use kids camera that can last a good few years of abuse whilst providing more than enough creative stimulation for photography as a hobby, the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough is highly recommended.
VTech Kidizoom Selfie Cam
VTech Kidizoom Selfie Cam Specs
Recommended Age: 6-9 years
Size: 3.1 x 3.5 x 12.4 inches (7.8 x 8.8 x 31 cms)
Weight: 9.9 ounces (280 grams)
Price: Approx $60 – Click here to find the latest price
VTech Kidizoom Selfie Cam Review
Never underestimate the popularity of the selfie… particularly among young girls! It seems that taking selfies is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon, so best to embrace it with a kids camera such as the VTech Kidizoom Selfie Cam!
The retractable selfie stick included with the camera extends just far enough so that little girls with short arms can easily compose and capture a nice image of themselves with their friends, but not so far as to be an annoyance for parents worried about the safety of their living room ornaments!
By rotating the lens to the front of the camera, the VTech Kidizoom Selfie Cam can obviously be used as a regular front-facing camera, with 128mb of built-in memory to store around 600 photos.
You can also expand the memory by using a micro SD card. Since the file size of the photos are so small (approximately 2mb each), you’d only need a small capacity memory card such as this cheap one.
A micro-USB cable is included with the VTech Kidizoom Selfie Cam, but if you purchase this micro SD card, it’ll come with an SD card adapter meaning that you can read it using a regular memory card reader, or the slot in your Macbook.
Other features include three fun logic and memory games and up to 5 minutes of video recording. Since you’re able to rotate the lens whilst filming, your child can have a lot of fun talking ‘to the camera’, then rotating the lens to show something else – anyone who ever spent hours making their own radio or tv shows as a child can instantly relate to how much fun this could be!
Since the VTech Kidizoom Selfie Cam‘s main purpose is to take self-portraits, it includes a variety of fun special effects including the ability to add ‘make-up’, including eye shadow, lipstick, wigs and other accessories your child will love.
Aimed at little girls who love posing in front of the mirror and playing around with makeup, the VTech Kidizoom Selfie Cam makes a fun present that can also introduce daughters to the wonderful world of photography… if they ever decide to swivel the lens to the front, that is!
The VTech Kidizoom Selfie Cam is clearly a rather niche camera, but it’s safe to say that it will appeal to the majority of young girls who already steal their parents’ smart phones to take selfies of themselves and their friends.
The price makes it a perfect birthday or Christmas present, so if you have a daughter who you think could have fun with their very own selfie-camera, this is the one to get.
Hello Kitty Fujifilm Instax Specs
Recommended Age: 6-??! years
Size: 5.71 x 2.72 x 6.65 inches (14.5 x 6.9 x 16.7 cms)
Weight: 0.87 pounds (394 grams)
Price: Approx $75 – Click here to find the latest price
Hello Kitty Fujifilm Instax Review
Initially I hesitated to include the Hello Kitty Fujifilm Instax in this roundup of the best cameras for kids, thinking it a little too niche. After all, surely there couldn’t be that many children who would want a digital camera shaped as Hello Kitty, could they?!
Turns out I was wrong – judging by the hundreds of positive reviews of this camera, not to mention the availability of an extremely sought-after ‘limited edition’ version, the Hello Kitty Fujifilm Instax is one super popular camera… both for children and for Asian women with a love of everything cute, it seems!
Another reason I decided to include the Hello Kitty Fujifilm Instax here is that it’s actually a great little instant camera. In my roundup of the best instant cameras, I concluded that the Instax line of Fujifilm cameras produce excellent results, particularly at this affordable price point.
For the Hello Kitty lover and collector, the Hello Kitty Fujifilm Instax would make an excellent gift. If you’re daughter is a fan of Hello Kitty, this instant camera really is a no-brainer.
Aside from its cute looks, it’s actually a great instant camera too, able to shoot in daylight and low light, thanks to its flash and useful auto-settings which make capturing the image much easier.
The recommended age for the Hello Kitty Fujifilm Instax is a little vague, in that it’s suitable to be used by young children (and equally popular for adult fans of Hello Kitty). However, it must be remembered that being an ‘Instax’, this camera requires film, which can become expensive if your child gets a bit over-excited with the shutter button!
Thankfully, Fuji Instax film can be purchased more affordably in bulk, and even with the Hello Kitty branding like these film packs.
Whilst having to ‘pay’ each time your child presses the shutter button may not sound appealing, teaching them about the importance of carefully timing and composing each photo can be a good thing in their development as a photographer.
The Hello Kitty Fujifilm Instax comes in an attractive box and includes some Hello Kitty branded film and stickers. It’s clearly the kind of gift that is meant to be stored as a collectable Hello Kitty toy as well as used occasionally as a camera.
As for the actual picture taking itself, as with all Fuji Instax cameras, it’s very simple, with only the controls necessary to take photos in a variety of conditions. You can use the settings, or just leave the camera on auto, where it does a fine job of getting the subject well exposed.
If you or your child is a Hello Kitty fanatic, this really is a great collector’s item which just happens to take a good instant photo too! The only problem you may have is finding it in stock – click the button below to see if you’re in luck.
VTech Kidizoom Action Cam Specs
Recommended Age: 4 years and up
Size: 0.9 x 3.5 x 2.5 inches (2.2 x 8.8 x 6.3 cms)
Weight: 1 pound (453 grams)
Price: Approx $50 – Click here to find the latest price
VTech Kidizoom Action Cam Review
If you’ve got a son like mine or know a little boy or girl who loves playing sports outside, the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam is the camera for you.
Like a junior Go-Pro, the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam caters for high-energy kids who are already confident swimmers, or love to spend their days whizzing around on scooters, trikes, skateboards or whatever other wheeled-toy craze is currently ‘in’!
When out of its waterproof, shock-resistant case, the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam functions much like the other VTech kids’ cameras with a swiveling front-rear facing lens and large, easy to use control buttons.
However, when secured in its housing and attached to one of the included mounting accessories, the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam really comes alive with possibilities.
Attached to the front of a skateboard or to the handlebars of a bike, this action camera is ready to record your child’s fast-paced antics… and no doubt their first crashes too!
By swiveling the lens of the camera to the rear, you’ll even be able to capture the excitement on your child’s face as they hurtle downhill :-)
With the underwater case, the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam can be used in pools and oceans up to depths of around 6 foot.
Slow and fast-motion video capture expand the creative capacities of this fun little camera, putting your child in the director’s seat of creating their first movie.
As well as being the perfect first sports camera for kids, the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam also offers built-in games, including a fun augmented-reality creature hunt called Forest Quest and two platform games that will keep children entertained when they’re tired of shooting extreme videos!
If you know a young one who loves playing outdoors, introduce them to the joys of capturing photos and video with this affordable and durable kids action camera.
Recommended Age: 3 years and up
Size: 7 x 2 x 4.5 inches (17.7 x 5 x 11.4 cms)
Weight: 1 pound (453 grams)
Price: Approx $30 – Click here to find the latest price
Just to be absolutely clear about this one, the Pixlplay is not a kids’ camera, but rather, it’s a case to make a smart phone look and function like a camera.
The reason why I chose to include the Pixlplay along with this list of real cameras for children is that a friend’s child owns one, and he absolutely loves it – my friend had an old iPhone laying around, and put it to use by transforming it into a camera with the Pixlplay camera case.
Since the screen of a smart phone is so big, (particularly in comparison to the screens on the other cameras for kids on this list), using the Pixlplay actually makes a really engaging camera-like toy.
The case includes child resistant latches to ensure the phone stays put inside, and is used only for photography via the app.
The shutter button on the top of the Pixlplay interacts with the volume switch of most Android or iOS devices (see here for compatible smart phone models), making the experience of taking photos quite realistic for your young ones. It also makes a satisfying ‘click’ sound :-)[Sidenote: if you didn’t know, you can trigger the shutter button on most smart phones by pressing the volume button.]
The Pixlplay comes bundled with 1 x Sticker Sheet, 2 x Activity Sheets (scavenger hunt and photo booth cut-outs), an instruction manual and a quick start guide. There’s also a fun App to download into the smart phone, which helps to teach colours, numbers and shapes through various photography related games.
To say that the Pixlplay is merely a ‘case for a smart phone’ is doing it a bit of an injustice – if you have an old smart phone that’s not in use, the Pixlplay can grant it a whole new lease of life, and put a big smile on the face of any aspiring junior photographers!
Available in blue or orange, the Pixlplay makes a great Christmas gift for any children who always steal mum or dad’s phone to take photos. Make sure you read the reviews of the Pixlplay to see the praise that other mums and dads have for it too.
I hope you enjoyed my review of the best cameras for kids in 2017. Getting children interested in photography as a hobby can be a great way to foster their creative development, opening the door to a whole world of fun and experimentation.
If your child has a favourite kids’ camera that’s not on this list, please leave it in the comments so other parents can benefit.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post contain affiliate links which help support Shotkit.