The 7 Best Cameras for Kids of 2021

Find the best inexpensive models aimed at children

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
It features a 2.4-inch color LCD screen that makes it easy for kids to see what they’re looking at.
This camera takes high-quality images with the help of a 10MP sensor, 10x optical zoom, and a fast DIGIC 4+ processor.
It’s extremely affordable and waterproof, tested to 33 feet in depth, with an IP68 waterproof rating.
Best Instant Film:
Instax Mini 9 at Amazon
It’s simple to use and prints clear, accurate images that are fun to keep as mementos.
Best for Young Kids:
Victure Kids Camera at Amazon
It’s an ideal first camera, making it easy for kids to take photos with a 12MP resolution and 1080P HD video.
Best for Teens:
Nikon D3400 at Amazon
It’s one of the top entry-level DSLR cameras on the market, offering great value and the ability to take high-quality images.
Best Action Cam:
Campark ACT74 at Amazon
For a camera that’s easy to find under the $50 mark, it offers many features you’d otherwise find in a premium action camera.

Photography is a fantastic way for your children to channel their inner creativity, have fun, and learn more about this popular artistic medium. However, most cameras tend to be expensive, fragile, and complex—if your kids are curious to try out photography, it’s best to purchase a camera specifically designed for children.

The best cameras for kids have simple, child-friendly controls, are easy to use, and come in a sturdy, durable casing, capable of withstanding a few tumbles. Many come in bright colors too, often with games or fun filters as an added bonus. 

If you’re shopping for a new camera for your child, here are some of the best on the market from brands including Instax, Nikon, and VTech. We’ve researched and reviewed the top cameras for kids, based on their features, price point, and ease of use. Here are the best (and most fun) cameras for both kids and teens—these fantastic cameras are sure to inspire their imagination and artistry.

Best Overall: VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera

What We Like
  • Durable, sturdy design that won't easily break

  • Color LCD screen makes it easy for kids to see what they're shooting

  • Fun games and photo filters included

What We Don't Like
  • Low photo resolution

  • Can take some time to master all of the controls

Kids just want to have fun when learning photography, instilling a love for cameras that can carry them through life. If your young one has expressed an interest in taking photos, one of the best starter cameras you can give them is the VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera, designed for kids ages 3 to 9.

It’s a brightly colored, durable camera that can withstand drops or slips, with an included wrist strap and has a rear 2.4-inch color LCD screen that makes it easy for kids to see what they’re looking at. There are front and rear lenses, making it fun for selfies too, with a 1200-pixel front camera and 640 x 840 rear lens. Of course, taking the photos is only part of the fun, so the DUO also contains built-in filters and effects, giving children free rein to personalize their shot. While there’s 256MB of built-in memory, you can also add in a microSD card

It’s a real digital camera, just like mom and dad have—only this one is specifically designed for curious kids. While most cameras for kids aren’t going to impress with large resolutions or zooms, your young ones are sure to be proud of the bright, fun photos they can take with the VTech DUO.

Resolution: 2MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: Unknown | Optical Zoom: 0x | Connectivity: USB

"We could hardly have predicted how jam-packed this camera is with things to do." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera

Lifewire / Jonno Hill

Best Splurge: Canon PowerShot ELPH 190

Canon PowerShot Elph 190
What We Like
  • Wi-Fi photo transfer makes it easy to upload your favorite shots

  • Comes in three vibrant, fun colors

  • Impressive 20MP camera

What We Don't Like
  • Poor video quality

  • Not as durable as a kid-specific camera

The Canon’s PowerShot ELPH 190 is a great choice for teens who are looking for a step-up from a chunky camera for kids. This sleek, stylish camera comes in your choice of red, blue, or black, taking high-quality images with the help of a 10MP sensor, 10x optical zoom, and a fast DIGIC 4+ processor.

Once your child is done shooting, you can quickly use Wi-Fi or NFC to send photos straight to a smartphone or tablet. Since this camera isn’t specifically designed for kids, it’s a bit more expensive than some of the other models reviewed here. You’ll also want to purchase a carrying case for it, protecting against scratches and drops. Luckily it’s small and compact, just slightly larger in dimensions than a credit card—it’ll fit easily in backpacks or coat pockets. 

Because the ELPH 190 offers tripod support, can film 2720p HD videos, and has plenty of included shooting modes, it provides lots of creative freedom for kids who’ve expressed interest in videography or taking photos. Canon makes the controls easy to use, so your child should be able to master them in no time.

Resolution: 20MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: 1600 | Optical Zoom: 10x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC

"In outdoor, daylight settings, and in scenes with relatively flat lighting, this little camera gave us some really great results." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Canon PowerShot ELPH 190

Lifewire / Jonno Hill

Best Waterproof: Ourlife Kids Waterproof Camera

What We Like
  • Affordable price

  • Durable and shockproof

  • Waterproof up to 33 feet

What We Don't Like
  • Photo and video quality aren't the highest

  • Takes some time to learn what each button does

If your child loves the outdoors or you’re planning a vacation, then a waterproof camera like the Ourlife Kids Waterproof Camera is a great choice. It’s extremely affordable and waterproof, tested to 33 feet in depth, with an IP68 waterproof rating. While its low price means the camera’s specs aren’t going to be world-class, it’s more than capable of taking clear underwater shots in the hotel pool or down by the lake.

It’s a small, brightly-colored camera that comes with a mount, letting you attach it to a helmet or bike to capture all the action on the go. With included frames and filters, kids can then edit and customize each shot after shooting. 

Despite Ourlife's low price, it’s still built to last, with a dust and shockproof body and a 1.7-inch LCD screen that lets the user display previews and select their settings. The look and style of the camera are clearly meant to evoke similarities to the popular GoPro, and while the specs aren’t the same, this camera is sure to thrill young kids who want to be able to take their own vacation photos and film videos as they swim or play outdoors.

Resolution: 5MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: N/A | Optical Zoom: 0x | Connectivity: USB

"The camera itself is small and light, and perhaps a bit flimsy feeling, but put it in the waterproof housing and it feels pretty much bulletproof." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Ourlife Kids Waterproof Camera

 Lifewire

Best Instant Film: Instax Mini 9

What We Like
  • Fun, stylish camera that will be popular with kids (and adults)

  • Selfie mirror is sure to please

  • Takes high-quality instant photos

What We Don't Like
  • Photo paper can be expensive

  • Recommended exposure settings for outdoor use can be hit or miss

There’s nothing more fun for kids than the excitement of shooting with an instant camera and waiting for the photo to print out. We think the best instant camera for kids is the Instax Mini 9, available in a wide range of fun, tropical colors. It’s simple to use and prints clear, accurate images that are fun to keep as mementos. The Mini 9 is both stylish and durable, with a plastic design that can withstand a few bumps or scratches. 

The Mini 9 is similar to the previous Mini 8, but it’s been updated with a wider range of color choices, a small selfie mirror, and Instax has added a brand-new close-up lens for macro shots. The camera can also recommend the best exposure settings based on your lighting, but keep in mind it’s not always completely accurate. There’s also a special high-key mode too, designed to take softer photos ideal for portraits.

Due to the cost of print film, the Mini 9 might not be the best camera for daily use, but it’s sure to be a winner at birthday parties and special occasions.

Resolution: 16MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: 800 | Optical Zoom: 0x | Connectivity: Capable of only printing, not transferring digital photos

The bright colors and stylish design of the Instax Mini 9 are both retro and modern, plus it can print instant photos in no time at all. I am sure this would be a huge hit at sleepovers!” — Katie Dundas, Tech Writer

Best for Young Kids: Victure Kids Camera

What We Like
  • Affordable first camera that's aimed at younger children

  • The anti-shake feature stops photos from being a blur

  • Lots of included creative features, such as games, filters, and photo frames

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

  • Durable but can still crack or break if dropped

Toddlers and young kids will love the Victure Kids Camera, a fantastic alternative to the VTech KidiZoom Duo if you’re after something different. One look at the Victure, with its cheerful design and rubber side grips, makes it clear that this camera is designed for small hands. It’s an ideal first camera too, making it easy for kids to take photos with a 12MP resolution and 1080P HD video.

The large screen on the back lets kids see what they’re looking at, but it can also be used to add colorful filters and frames to photos or to play games, designed to develop imagination and creativity. 

One particularly useful addition is the inclusion of an anti-shake feature—even if your child never sits still, they can still use the Victure to take clear shots and video, with reduced blur. While it’s not waterproof, it’s otherwise designed for kids to use indoors or outdoors, giving them a simple but fun tool for enjoying the pleasures of photography.

As a bonus for parents, the Victure is priced extremely well. And unlike most cameras for kids, this one operates via rechargeable batteries, giving users about 4 to 5 hours of use per charge.

Resolution: 12MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: Unknown | Optical Zoom: 0x | Connectivity: USB

Best for Teens: Nikon D3400

What We Like
  • One of the best and most affordable entry-level DSLR cameras

  • Long battery life

  • Menu is intuitive, helping teens learn manual settings

What We Don't Like
  • Lacking an LCD touchscreen

  • Best for avid photography students

Teens who are eager to learn the art of photography need a camera with manual controls to master concepts such as aperture and ISO—however, parents probably don’t want to spend a fortune on a fancy camera that their child might lose interest in.

If your older child or teen wants to take their photography to the next level, the Nikon D3400 is a fantastic choice. It’s one of the top entry-level DSLR cameras on the market, offering great value and the ability to take high-quality images. Although it doesn’t offer a touchscreen, which many DSLRs have, it’s otherwise easy to use, with a 24.2MP sensor, 5 fps continuous shooting, and a wide ISO range that helps you shoot in low light. After shooting or filming, you can use Bluetooth to upload photos via Nikon’s SnapBridge app. 

As your child becomes more skilled, the camera can grow with them, since it’s compatible with Nikon’s lenses, which are known for their precision and quality. The D3400 is designed to make photography fun with its intuitive controls, so it’s a top choice for students who want to channel their inner creativity.

Resolution: 24.2MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: 25600 | Optical Zoom: 3x | Connectivity: Bluetooth via SnapBridge app

"The D3400 produces decent image quality out of the box thanks to a practical set of features that are particularly helpful for beginners." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Nikon D3400

Lifewire / Jonno Hill

Best Action Cam: Campark ACT74

What We Like
  • Durable, waterproof action cam that can capture 4K video

  • Kid-friendly GoPro alternative

  • Great price

What We Don't Like
  • Companion smartphone app doesn't always work well

  • Battery can go fast, especially when filming video

If your kids can’t get enough of adventure, they’re sure to love the Campark 4K. It's a neat little action camera that’s rugged, tough, and waterproof up to 130 feet, as long as it’s secure in the included waterproof casing. With the ability to take 4K video, the Campark takes pretty impressive photos and video, making it a good alternative to the much more expensive GoPro products.

It even offers built-in image stabilization, keeping your videos smooth. It’s ideal for sports or travel, since it’s fun to use while swimming, boating, or just splashing around in the pool. For a camera that’s easy to find under the $50 mark, it offers many features you’d otherwise find in a premium action camera. 

The Campark is Wi-Fi enabled, however, many users report that the Campark app can be hit or miss—you might find it more effective to download images and video via the included USB cable. However, the inclusion of Wi-Fi also allows users to take photos or videos remotely, with a small wearable remote control watch coming with the camera. If your child loves sports, swimming, or playing outside, then the Campark could make the perfect gift.

Resolution: 20MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: Not specified | Optical Zoom: 0x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi

Final Verdict

One of the best cameras for kids, especially younger ones, is the VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera (view at Amazon). It's a colorful, durable, fun camera that lets children take decent photos. For older kids, you might want to consider the Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 (view at Amazon). With a 20MP resolution, it’s up there in the big leagues with the capability to take professional-grade photos.

About Our Trusted Experts

Katie Dundas is a freelance journalist and writer who has been covering tech for several years. She’s also an experienced travel photographer. 

Jonno Hill is a writer who covers tech such as computers, gaming equipment, and cameras for Lifewire and publications including AskMen.com and PCMag.com.

FAQs

How much should you plan to spend on a camera for kids?

For young kids, it’s pretty easy to find a fun, basic camera for under $100, and often even less. If you’re considering a camera for older children, you’re probably looking at point-and-shoot models—there are plenty of great options to be found around the $200 mark. 

Do you need to purchase any additional accessories for the camera?

A camera is an investment, so you’ll want to purchase a few accessories to help it last. Most cameras can benefit from a soft carrying case, which you can store the camera in when not in use. Some cameras might also require spare batteries.

Depending on the camera, a microSD card can also be helpful for photo storage, allowing your children to take plenty of photos and video without filling up the internal memory on the camera. 

How old should your child be before starting photography? 

It’s never too early for your children to start experimenting with photography, as there are plenty of inexpensive toy cameras that are aimed at toddlers and young kids. As your child grows older, you can invest in a higher-quality camera. Just be sure to always purchase an age-appropriate camera and supervise young children when they're using the device.

What to Look For in a Kid-Friendly Camera

Child's Age

How old is the child who’ll be using this camera? That’s important when figuring out what type of camera to buy. Do you want to teach a young child the basics of taking a photo, or is this camera a gift for a teenager? You don’t want to buy a young child a camera that’s too delicate or complicated, and you don’t want a teenager to be stuck with a device that’s more toy than camera.

Photo or Video

Do you want your tot learning to snap photographs or are they more interested in video? If your kid wants to capture action with their new device, then you should look at video options. While many adult-oriented cameras can do both photo and video, child-focused cameras often have fewer features. As a result, it’s important to choose between the two before you pick a device.

Digital or Instant  

Most cameras these days are, of course, digital cameras. However, instant cameras, which print a photo as soon as you snap one (think Polaroid-style), are making a comeback. Do you want all the images to be stored for later, or will your child enjoy having the tangible printouts on the spot? It’s important to choose which one works better for you before you decide on a camera model.

Was this page helpful?