Video Fun for Kids
Video Cameras Built for Kids
Gone are the days of difficult to shoot videos. The market has expanded to embrace those that want to enjoy digital technology without the hassles. Kids are no different. Some want to perform in front of a camera and others want to direct the show.
Mom and dad, you do not have to share your high priced - high tech video cameras with those junior amateurs. There are plenty of video devices out there to please even the pickiest one of them.
The most important feature to look for is durability and battery life. Kids are going to be rough and they are not going to worry about the batteries until they are drained. However, this would be a great opportunity to teach the kids the proper way to handle and care for a piece of digital equipment.
test footage from Hasbro VCam Video Camera
I have picked out a few options to look at. By no means are these the only kid prove digital video cameras but they sure look like fun. If I were buying one tomorrow my criteria would include:
- Digital Video
- Still Digital Pictures
- Design that would make a kid feel like the camera was just like mom and dad's
- Video quality that others would enjoy looking at
- Expandable memory
- Sound - you never know what kids are going to say next!
- LCD viewer
- Easily transfer of video and photo
- Reasonable Price
Vidster Digital Camera by Mattel meets most all of my criteria. The price is a bit higher (under $150) but it is pretty cool. Kids can take lots of still photos and videos by using both the 32MB internal memory along with an added SD memory card. Their squeals and laughter will be recorded forever through the integrated microphone. The LCD view finder helps give the little film maker an idea of what the finished product will look like. As with any digital camera - it is important to remember that good lighting gives good results.
The finished video should look pretty good. The Vidster Digital Camera has both a handgrip (removable) and a tripod mount. How great is that? Once the video is completed the camera can be plugged into the TV for instant viewing or the video can easily be transferred (USB) into the included editing software to add music and visual style. It can then be played back on your PC. Email the final cut to friends and family.
All of this creative activity energy runs on 4 AA batteries. A good lesson to teach is - turn the camera off when not in use.
VCam Now Digital Video Camera by Hasbro is similar in many ways to the Vidster. Again, the price is a bit steep - (under $150) but it has some impressive features. It too has 32MB of internal memory and can be expanded with up to a 2G SD memory card. The built in microphone is a must and the color 1.5 inch fold out LCD is just perfect. The little video maker can replay the show right then and there. There is also an included USB and AV to view the video on a PC or television.
Two features that I really like are the 4X zoom and the self timer. This adds the ability to adjust the feel of the video and the film maker can actually be one of the actors.
One feature that I do not like is that the software edits video into a format that only works with the VideoNow Media Wizard. You have to purchase an optional Video Now Player to read the recorded PVDs.
This camera is powered by 2 AA batteries.
Polaroid Pixie SD Digital Video Camera - This kids video camera looks to be a pretty good bargain (under $80) when compared to the Vidster and the VCam. Although the Polaroid Pixie has 16MB internal memory it can be expanded with an SD card. This improves the short recording time that you would get with the internal memory alone.
The Polaroid Pixie has a 2X zoom - not as much as the VCam but more than the Vidster. This camera too has a 1.5 inch swivel out color LCD monitor (I really like that the video can be viewed straight from the camera) as well as a flash that can be turned on or off.
Possibly one of the best features of this camera is that it is compatible with ArcSoft VideoImpression and ArcSoft PhotoImpression editing software which is included in the box. This software is often included with digital photography devices so it is less proprietary.
Also included in the box are the batteries, wrist strap, USB cables and AV cables.
Video Journal - a different type of video fun for kids - aimed at girls. At a price of under $30 it sounds like great fun. Instead of keeping a written diary, this gives the opportunity to have a video journal. Included in the package is the digital camera, docking station, Video journal software, USB cable and a lanyard.
Templates encourage imaginative journal entries that can be formatted and printed out like a scrapbook page. A calendar has been added to help keep the user organized. Each calendar day can be updated with photos and videos. There is even a "draw" feature that allows for pictures and doodles to be added to the journal. Privacy is insured by the "hide" button.
You can see from these examples that kid's digital video cameras are not necessarily cheap, but they do have some great features for the price. They are definitely built to take more abuse than the adult cameras. Most kid's digital video cameras are recommended for ages 6 and up. The resolution, speed and functions will not be as advanced as an adult's video camera so remember that these video cameras are meant to give kids the thrill of creating videos at their level without the fear of making a mistake.
For the older - tween and teen age group these may not be their style. One option for them would be a Flip Video which costs about the same as the Vidster and the VCam. They do not have hinged LCD monitors or room for SD memory cards, but they do take up to 60 minute videos. They are compact and easy to carry with great battery life. The video can be emailed, saved, edited and burned to CDs so the video is easy to share. If you want more information please read my hub about Flip Video .