Why a kids digital camera is more than a toy

Kids are natural photographers. Even from a young age they want to grab cameras and start snapping. The advent of digital photography has completely revolutionized their relationship with the camera because whereas previously they may have just been copying mom or dad with the camera, now they get instant feedback and can see what shots they have taken. Even best are the new breed of dedicated digital cameras for kids. A kids digital camera is made to be especially robust against drops and spills and has big buttons for the clumsy fingers of young photographers. Many have special dual-eyepiece viewfinders that children will instinctively hold right up to their faces using both eyes.

Yet taking photos is much more than just play. Taking photos helps teach children the basics of composition, light and balance that will help guide the future photography. It also helps teach them cause and effect. Taking a shot in a particular way will produce a particular outcome. Spatial development is an important part of growing minds and taking photos from different viewpoints helps children understand the interaction of different spaces and perspectives. Combining photography with drawing is also a powerful learning tool. Taking a photo of an object and then drawing it and comparing the two images shows a child how when we draw we influence the outcome of the image in a profound way.

Many of these lessons are quite easily taught using simple adult cameras. But children aged three to four years may struggle and few parents will trust a good camera to junior’s grubby paws. Dedicated kids digital cameras are cheap enough to be classed as toys (they typically cost $40-$60) yet teach so much more. The downside, however, is that kids cameras usually have very small lenses and low resolution so parents may be disappointed by the quality of the images that these digital cameras produce.

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