Choosing one of the best cameras for kids could help spark a lifelong passion for photography, and keep your little ones happy and learning for many years to come. But with so many around, how do you pick the right one?
The first factor to consider is age. Very young children will struggle with small menus, complex settings and fiddly SD cards, but older kids will soon get to grips with even quite tricky settings, provided the results are worthwhile.
It's also important to consider how many knocks and bumps the camera is likely to be subjected to. There are some superb cameras for kids that will shrug off drops from over a meter, and can be safely submersed in water for long periods.
Finally, there's the question of cost. We've looked at cameras from a range of different prices, so there should be something here to match your budget. And if you're looking to treat yourself too, don't miss our round-up of the best compact cameras money can buy, or the best cameras overall.
But let's sort the tiny humans first, here's our pick of the very best cameras for kids (and don't forget to pick up some memory cards to go with them).
01. Sony Cybershot W830
The best overall kids' camera will keep them happy for years to come
Type: Compact camera | Megapixels: 20MP | Video resolution: 720P | Waterproofing: None | Viewfinder: Digital | User level: From older kids to adults
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 stabilization 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 color-pop effects. It's available in four colors, including this stylish metallic purple, and will grow with your kids as they get to grips with the fundamentals of photography.
02. Vtech Kidizoom Duo 5.0
The best camera for toddlers is a fun intro to photography
Type: Compact camera | Megapixels: 5MP | Video resolution: 160x120 pixels | Waterproofing: None | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: From toddlers to young kids
The colorful 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 personalized 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.
03. TomTom Bandit
The best kids' video camera is fantastic fun to use
Type: Action camera | Megapixels: 16MP | Video resolution: 4K | Waterproofing: None as standard (requires different lens) | Viewfinder: None | User level: Kids to adults
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.
04. Fujifilm Finepix XP130
The best kids' waterproof camera is tough and dependable
Type: Compact camera | Megapixels: 16.4MP | Video resolution: 1080P | Waterproofing: 20m | Viewfinder: Digital | User level: Teens to adults
The Finepix XP130 will take everything your kids can throw and it and keep on snapping. An ideal choice for exploring the great outdoors, it can survive depths of 20m, drops from 1.75m, and temperatures as low as -10C. It even comes with presets for different landscape and other scenes, making it easier for youngsters to get great shots outside, The Finepix XP130 is a superb camera for older children and teens, but if you're looking for a waterpoof snapper for younger kids then the Nikon Coolpix W150 may be a better choice (scroll down for details).
05. Polaroid OneStep 2
The best kids' Polaroid camera is a chunky retro throwback
Type: Instant camera | Megapixels: N/A | Video resolution: N/A | Waterproofing: None | Viewfinder: Optical | User level: Older kids to adults
The Polaroid OneStep 2 isn't as compact or brightly colored as some of the company's other instant cameras, but it's better built and less fiddly. As an analog camera, the OneStep 2 has several moving parts and isn't quite as tough as many of its digital counterparts, so it's better suited to teens than young children. The film is also pretty pricey, so kids will have to learn to conserve it, but having prints appear in a matter of seconds feels like magic in an age when many photos never leave the device they're shot on.
06. GoPro Hero7 White
The best GoPro camera for kids is a real all-rounder
Type: Action camera | Megapixels: 10MP | Video resolution: 1080P | Waterproofing: 10M | Viewfinder: Digital **User level:** Kids to adults
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.
07. Nikon Coolpix W150
The best kids' underwater camera is an ideal holiday companion
Type: Compact camera | Megapixels: 13MP | Video resolution: 1080P | Waterproofing: 10M | Viewfinder: Digital | User level: From kids to adults
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).