The best cameras for kids are a fantastic way to keep little ones entertained with something creative. Whether you're looking to inspire the next generation's David Bailey, or just want a bit of peace and quiet for a few hours (no shame in it), a camera for kids is a fantastic thing to buy. So, how to pick the right one for your children?
A lot of this depends on how old they are. A very young child will find complex menu systems impossible to navigate, while older teens and pre-teens will quickly tire of a simplistic camera with no avenue for creative expression. So you want to take a look at the options and decide the level that best suits your child.
Ideally, a camera for kids should also be hardy, able to take a few drops and bumps. If it's waterproof as well then all the better, as it'll also be a good companion for beach holidays. Some of the tougher cameras can be submerged to considerable depths, and stand up to drops onto hard surfaces from impressive heights.
You also might want to consider different types of camera; do you want a connected digital camera that can interface with a smartphone, or an analogue camera that instantly spits out prints, Polaroid-style? Cost is factor too. So, for our guide, we've pulled together a broad list of cameras of different types, available at different price points, so you should be able to find the right model for your child. Of course, if you're looking for a treat for yourself, don't miss our roundup of the best compact cameras money can buy, or the best cameras overall.
But for now, let's concentrate on the smaller, budding photographers. Below is our pick of the very best cameras for kids (and don't forget to pick up some memory cards to go with them).
The best cameras for kids available now
When your kids are ready for their first real camera, the Sony Cybershot W830 is our top recommendation. Its specs are impressive for the price, with a 20MP sensor that captures pin-sharp pictures, with image stabilisation to help young photographers keep things steady without a tripod. There's 8x optical zoom, and editing software built in for adjusting portraits and applying fun colour-pop effects. It's available in four colours, including this stylish metallic purple, and enables your kids to advance as they get to grips with the fundamentals of photography.
The colourful Vtech Kidizoom Duo 5.0 is suitable for kids as young as three, and it's a fun introduction to photography that'll keep them happy for years to come. It has a chunky, shockproof design with non-slip grips, and a dual optical viewfinder so little ones won't struggle to look through using one eye, It records video and captures surprisingly sharp 5MP still photos, plus simple videos, which can be personalised with stickers and effects in-camera. The Kidizoom Duo 5.0 also comes with a handful of classic arcade games pre-loaded if youngsters lose interest, but the camera itself is the star here.
One of the most affordable waterproof cameras around, the Fujifilm FinePix XP140 can go down to depths of 25m without needing an extra case or anything like that. This makes it a great choice for young explorers on the beach, though be aware that it is a proper compact camera, and will therefore be a little too complicated for very young kids. Shockproof and hardy, this is the kind of camera that can be dropped without incident, and this coupled with the reasonable asking price makes it great for ensuring peace of mind when the kids are using it.
Instant-print cameras have been amusing kids big and small for decades now, and the Polaroid Now is the newest in a successful reinvigoration of the brand. Smaller than the OneStep+, it lacks a few features like Bluetooth and manual control, but is more affordable and simpler for kids to use. It does cost to keep it stocked in film, so keep an eye on how often you're seeing that tell-tale flash, but we reckon it'd be hard to find a kid who wouldn't be able to have fun with a Polaroid. Plus, for any kids who spend their days glued to Disney+, the Now even comes in a stylish Mandalorian edition! This is the way.
The neat little TomTom Bandit is primarily an action camera designed for extreme sports, but it works equally well for all kinds of video, and has a lot of unusual features that kids will enjoy. It can shoot 4K video, which is remarkable for the price, and is very simple to use. The highlight for us is the ability to put together mini-movies by simply shaking a phone with the Bandit app installed. If kids want to transfer videos, there are no cables to worry about; just pull off the outer housing to reveal a USB connector, ready to go. Ingenious.
The GoPro Hero7 White is a tough little waterproof action camera that’s great for budding YouTube stars. It can capture full HD video, then send it to a phone via the GoPro app, ready for editing and uploading to the social media site of their choice. Slow-motion and timelapse functions add to the fun. It can also capture super-sharp 10MP still photos, with a burst mode that can snap 15 pictures per second (ideal for action shots where timing is everything) and a timer for group shots and selfies. The perfect choice for kids with a passion for sports.
The Nikon Coolpix W150 is the company's latest waterproof compact, and it's a great choice for kids to take on family holidays. The camera is waterproof to 10m, shockproof to 1,8m, and dustproof so it won't be ruined by a trip to the beach. In fact, it's specifically designed to taking a dip, with an underwater portrait that automatically snaps four pictures when it detects a face and underwater clarity enhancement for crisper shots. Its menu system is simple to navigate, and it's available in five colours (including two fun prints).