It's a great new way to fill the family photo album that parents everywhere are becoming aware of n. Pictures of your toddler are a great way to remember 25 years from now how cute she looked when she was little, and to remember the things she used to do. But how about capturing for the record, a few images of what she looked at and how she found things interesting herself - pictures of her own mind? This thought fairly jumps out at you as a parent when you stroll along the aisles of your local mall, and you see stores stacking their shelves with colorful toy-like digital cameras for kids - complete with every feature a kid could appreciate in one.
Take the purple and orange Kidizoom Plus from VTech, an established player in the kids'digital camera business, with a line-up of very attractive models. This particular model goes for $60, has video recording with sound, 256MB in memory, a card slot and zoom. In some ways, this model looks a little bit like a GAF Viewmaster - it has binocular viewfinders, and also a 1.5-inch full-color LCD screen. It comes with a two-handed grip that makes it look somewhat like a videogame controller; and guess what - there are onboard arcade-style games to play on the screen too when your child is a little bit bored with the picture-taking. The digital cameras for kids they make today, most of them at least, come with a two megapixel sensor. If that seems a little modest by today's standards, remember, that to your child at this stage, these pictures are merely a way to get in touch with the art.
For a five-year-old, I would certainly recommend that you check out a few other digital cameras for kids by some of the best toy makers and makers of children's supplies. Crayola for instance has a great digital camera kit that goes for about $45. My daughter especially always loved to grab my Nikon D50, and I was always afraid she would drop it. For her third birthday, I got her her first personal Crayola digital camera kit, and she took to it like a duck to water. Every button looks like a colored M&M and it is really easy to tell her which button she has to press to do what - since they are all colored like different M&M's she loves. This camera does have a few performance issues. The excellent Lego digital camera that goes for a little more, and is a bit more sophisticated I've found to be a bit more reliable.
Now when your child gets her first digital camera, you have to let her do her own thing and go nuts with it for a few days. Once she's done with the initial enthusiasm, it might be time to see if she's open to a few photography lessons. If your child seems to be snapping away 10 photos in a minute, don't be alarmed - there isn't any film being wasted. Make sure that your child isn't making the mistake that I made when I got my first camera at ten - help her see that the more variation there is from picture to picture, the more interesting it is. Children like to just fire away dozens of pictures that look all exactly the same. Digital cameras for kids come in easy-to-grip designs. Make sure that your child understands the value of holding the camera straight and steady before clicking.
Your child will probably appreciate specific pointers on how to get in close, and when to pull back. There's something about seeing good quality pictures coming from a child; you suddenly feel like you've seen a whole new side to her, and it can be as exciting for you as it can be for her.