Buying one of the best cameras for kids could help spark a lifelong creative passion, and keep your little ones occupied while they're cooped up at home. But with so many cameras available, how do you pick the right one?
When you're buying a camera for a child, age has to be a key consideration. Very young children will struggle with small menus, complex settings and fiddly SD cards, but older kids are much more likely to be able to pick up complex actions and menus without too much of a problem. Of course, it also depends on the child.
It's also important to consider the 'knock-factor', does the camera need to be completely bump resistant, is it likely to be covered in sticky fingers, or will it be lovingly looked after? There are some superb cameras for kids that will shrug off drops from over a metre, and can be safely submersed in water for long periods.
The question of cost is also bound to make a difference. 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 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).
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.
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 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 waterproof snapper for younger kids then the Nikon Coolpix W150 may be a better choice (scroll down for details).
The Polaroid OneStep 2 isn't as compact or brightly coloured 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.
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).