An instant camera can be an amazing way to introduce your kid to the excitement of taking their own photos. Good instant cameras for kids are easy to use and reward children with a photo they can physically hold in their own hands.
For some kids, polaroid cameras are the first encounter with something that becomes a huge part of their lives. If you’re wondering which instant camera to go for, you’ve come to the right place.
This page will run through some of the best polaroid cameras for kids and describe what to look out for when choosing an instant print device.
What Is A Polaroid Camera?
In case you’re wondering, “polaroid camera” is a catch-all phrase used to describe “instant cameras”. An instant camera is typically a small, handheld camera that uses self-developing film or a built-in digital printer.
What this means is that after pressing the shutter button to capture an image, the camera prints out a small photo that is either ready immediately or develops after about a minute.
The instant print aspect of Polaroid cameras make them a fantastic gift option for kids; they’re a great way to save precious memories instantly.
Top Picks – Best Polaroid (Instant) Cameras For Kids
The list below contains some of the best polaroid cameras available today. We’ve listed them primarily for their quality, value for money and overall performance.
1. Polaroid Snap
Straight from the horse’s mouth, the Polaroid Snap is the iconic brand’s modern twist on their classic format. Photos are ready instantly without any time wasted waiting for ink to develop.
One bonus with the Polaroid Snap is that it’s designed to combine some of the modern conveniences of a digital camera with the nostalgic novelty of using an instant device.
There’s plenty for kids and adults alike to appreciate here. Photos can be taken in color, black & white, or a vintage-style sepia, leaving plenty of room for experimentation for a budding photographer.
The quality of the photos is more than high enough for the 2×3-inch photo paper that the Polaroid Snap uses. Modern considerations on the Polaroid Snap include the slim form factor, built-in self timer, an SD card slot and photobooth mode.
The “ZINK” photo paper used with the Polaroid Snap is made with durability in mind. Your kids’ photos will stay bright and crisp for years to come. Overall, this is an instant print camera that gets a lot of things right. If you’re looking for a fun starter camera for your kids, it’s a great option.
- Kids will love how easy it is to use
- The form factor is super-slim compared to older Polaroid Cameras
- Some nice modern conveniences like photobooth mode
- The “ZINK” photo paper is quite expensive
- Some users report occasional issues with image quality when printing. A recent firmware update should have fixed the issue
2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
The Fujifilm Instax Mini is available in a variety of different formats. The ‘9’ model is a great option for kids who are new to instant cameras. The fun, easy-to-use design and capable lens system produce credit-card-sized memories that can last a lifetime.
If your kids love to take selfies, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 should suit them well. The included selfie lens makes it easy to capture adorable shots with friends and family. The close-up lens attachment that comes with the Instax Mini 9 adds a surprising level of versatility to a kids’ camera.
The automatic exposure settings on this digital camera make it easy for even a complete novice to capture fun shots they’ll love. Fujifilm maintains a reputation as a film-focused camera company.
This philosophy is evident in their handy “Mini Film” photo paper that prints high-quality images that capture your best memories in all their glory.
- Included selfie camera that lets you see what you’re shooting
- Super easy to use
- The Instax Mini comes with Fujifilm’s film-focused reputation
- The quirky design might put some “too cool” kids off
3. Fujifilm Instax Mini 90
While we’re on the subject, the Fujifilm Instax Mini line features a more mature older brother. This model comes with increased control, a boost in image quality and a “neo-classic” design. If you have older kids, the Instax Mini 90 may be worth considering.
The ability to disable the built-in flash and manually tweak exposure settings make this a more serious option for those with a bit more photography experience. The six shooting modes provide a decent level of flexibility for a broad range of photography scenarios.
The “kids mode” in particular is great for those times you just can’t get your little ones to sit still. The low and high key modes allow tinkerers to experiment with lights and shadows to their hearts’ content.
The features above, combined with a handy self timer and Fujifilm’s’ excellent film technology, make the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 a brilliant choice for a digital camera with instant print magic.
- Increased control over flash and exposure settings
- Six shooting modes
- Stylish “neo-classic” design
- The size of the printing paper is smaller than other options
4. Polaroid Originals OneStep+
This is a great way to introduce your kids to the classic Polaroid format. The announcement of the OneStep/ Originals line was great news for enthusiasts who still remember how much fun they had with their Polaroid cameras in the past.
This update to the format brings performance and digital camera convenience by the bucket load. The built-in Bluetooth functionality on this instant print camera lets you control your shots from a smartphone.
One of our favorite features that this connectivity brings is the sound triggers that let you activate the shutter by clapping loudly. This makes impromptu selfie shots much easier to accomplish. The 89mm portrait lens on this digital camera can really help your kids up their photography game.
The double exposure mode on the OneStep+ is loads of fun too. It lets users set up awesome shots with artistic overlays. Cameras like this can help your kids get to grips with the art of photography quite quickly.
While this option is a little on the pricey side, it’s tough to argue with the feature set.
- Great modern features in a classic format
- Larger, high-quality prints
- Artistic double exposure mode
- The price means it would be quite a special gift
5. Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro 2-In-1
The Kodak Mini Shot comes with its own unique twist. This digital camera quickly and conveniently prints cute memories in a square format. The square prints look great in a kid’s scrapbook or on their bedroom wall.
For users who prefer the classic film look, images can be printed with an iconic white border instead. The included Kodak app works with both Android and iOS smartphones and offers some creative features that your kids might enjoy.
Users can quickly add stickers and fun effects to their images before printing for a unique touch on the memories you capture. Kodak uses “4Pass” technology for their prints. Branding language aside, this means their photo paper is designed to deliver high-quality prints with 0 smudging or blemishes.
With a print speed of just 50 seconds and an image quality that catches the eye, this retro edition of the Kodak Mini Shot is well worth a look.
- Fun, square design
- “4Pass” technology for superior quality prints
- Portable design
- The battery life could be better
6. Lomography Wide Lens Camera
Powered by 4 AA batteries, this option from Lomography is bulkier than most. Your reward for dealing with a bigger body is much larger, wider shots on a roomier printing format. If you want a gift that will give your kids more space to shoot, this one is worth picking up.
The wide lens system on this camera makes it much easier to capture larger subjects. Other considerations like the exposure settings, optional color gels and compatibility with Fujifilm paper make this a versatile piece of kit in the right pair of hands.
The long exposure setting in particular is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. It produces artistic, ‘streaky’ images that add a nice touch to your family’s memories. The flexible feature set and super-wide lens more than make up for this camera’s bulky construction.
- Roomy, wide shots
- Fun exposure settings
- Creative optional accessories like color gels
- A little bulky
7. Fujifilm Instax Wide 300
Another wide angle option, the Instax Wide is Fujifilm’s most formidable instant camera. With a higher resolution and better automatic settings than other instant options from Fujifilm, this model is for kids who take their photography a little more seriously.
For colorful, vibrant shots, the automatic settings on the Wide 300 do an excellent job. The low and high key settings make it super easy to play around with the light and shadows in each image. This is an instant camera that gives kids more control than they might be used to.
The classic design of the Wide 300 will make older kids feel like the real deal while shooting. While this option used to be a pricier choice, it’s come down considerably in recent months. If you like what you see, it might be a good idea to pick it up while you have the chance.
- Sharp, wide prints
- Intelligent shooting modes
- Creative double exposures
- The photo paper comes out to about $1 per print
Characteristics of a Good Instant Camera
When finding a good Polaroid camera for your kids, it’s important to know what to look out for. The market for this kind of camera has exploded in recent years, so it’s worth getting clued-up to avoid wasting your money.
The list below contains some of the key things to look out for.
Ease of Use
More traditional cameras can be pretty overwhelming, even for adults! A good kid’s camera will keep things simple. Look for options with strong automatic controls that can be switched on easily. Some cameras will offer manual controls too and this can be a good thing.
Just make sure it’s easy to switch automatic mode back on again to avoid confusion.
Quick Settings Switching
Fiddling around with manual controls might appeal to some bigger kids, but it’s worth making sure the camera you buy offers a decent variety of shooting modes. These modes should be accessible at the push of a button and adapt the camera to a variety of different scenarios.
Settings for selfies, close-up shots and wider angles are all pretty common, so think twice if you find an option that doesn’t mention any of these.
A good polaroid camera for kids will make selfies and timed shots simple. In some use cases, a self timer is an essential aspect of a good instant camera. Look for Polaroid cameras with simple, convenient self timers.
Price Per Print
The price of the camera itself is half the battle. It’s also important to think about how much each printed photo will cost in the long run. Some brands offer a small pack of free prints while charging steep prices for refills.
Take a look at the different options available and keep the average cost per printed photo in mind. Consider cameras with more affordable printing setups.
The best polaroid camera for kids will be different for everyone. Some children love diving into the details of a hobby, while others prefer a more laid back approach. Take the time to think about the kid you’re buying for and consider an option from this list that fits the bill.