Whether you document your trips on a DSLR Canon, tiny drone camera or an iPhone 8 Plus, it is undeniable that pictures are the way we relive and share our travel experiences. Photography is certainly an art, but even a layman enjoys framing the perfect photo from their unforgettable family vacation, trek around town or special event. The visual aspect of travel and love for technology is never lost on the little ones; if anything, they have grown up in an age where technology is abundant and a big part of the way they live their day to day lives—so you shouldn’t be surprised when your toddler reaches for your camera.
There is something magical about capturing our experiences for safe keeping, freezing a moment in time to look at afterwards and have a crisp, clear, visual memory to reminisce about—and our toddlers feel the same way. Most toddlers can handle a smart phone better than their grown up counterparts. The photo file on my cell is filled to the brim with three-year-old selfies, which although adorable, isn’t always terribly convenient. Every time we go on a trip, however, my little one is dying to take his turn with the family camera.
Give your child a chance to try taking photos under your direct supervision. Throw the strap around his or her neck on your next family outing and encourage him or her to snap photos of what they see. Explain where the buttons are and how they should be used properly to make the camera work. Ask your toddler to point the camera at their favorite animal, a pretty flower or even people that intrigue them—you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what is captured from a young child’s point of view. If you feel that your child can manage the basics—the power button and the photo button—and if he or she shows interest in snapping more than just their own feet, it may be time to invest in a device of their very own.
There are tons of wonderful children’s cameras out there which allow your little ones to engage in documenting their travels just like you do. They can click away to their heart’s content without you worrying about the millions of ways that they could potentially damage your expensive equipment, and they also don’t have to wait their turn to play with a parent’s fancy toy. Many children’s cameras have fun extra features such as a projector, digital stickers and cool effects all built right in, so your child can play with the camera long after the time to capture memories is over. Here are some Pure Wander suggestions:
- VTech Kidzoom Camera Connect
This option is perfect for the younger crowd with big grips and silly effects to play with. The picture quality won’t be great—it’s only 1.3 megapixels—but chances are your toddler will be more interested in finding a mustache and cowboy hat sticker to plaster on that funky picture he just took of your face anyway. Listed at $29.99, this camera won’t break the bank either, and it comes in a few fun colors.
- Discovery Kids USB Compatible Digital Camera
The Discovery cameras are built for “heavy-duty play”, and we parents know that there isn’t any other kind. In addition to snapping photos, your child can record his own videos on this device, and the USB compatibility makes it really easy to transfer everything over to the computer to print later or for safe keeping.
- Lego 8MP Digital Camera
I’m all for a good character camera; there are lots of decent Dora and Cars options—among many others—floating about on the toy shelves out there. The Lego camera, however, has to be one of the coolest options I’ve seen in a long time. With a built-in flash and 8 megapixels, this camera is sure to snap some quality gems. It isn’t equipped with lots of bells and whistles like many of the other kiddie options, but it has just the right stuff for a serious budding photographer. Now your child can take some professional photos on your next trip and look cool doing it.
- VTech Kidzoom Camera Connect
Take the time after your travels to upload your child’s photography and really look through it—you may find some fantastic shots of you or the landscape that you never could have snapped from so high up. Get your favorites printed and use them in an art project or have your child help you make a scrapbook from the trip using only their photos. You can help them make the ultimate souvenir and inspire their creativity—as well as get them excited about traveling. It’s never too early to become a young wanderer!
Shauna Armitage is a parenting blogger, a freelance travel writer and the co-founder of Pure Wander Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @CarpeCalamus