A Digital Camera As An Educational Toy
By Alison Graham
There is such a huge range of toys on the market for pre-school children; and of course, parents want to get toys that will be fun and entertaining for their children and be tough enough to stand up to being played with! But perhaps even more importantly, they want educational toys that will help their child to develop new skills.
Every child is learning and exploring the world around him at an amazing rate. Mental stimulation in the form of fun toys that help to develop hand-eye coordination, teach a child how to perform a sequence of tasks to get a result and which develop those fine motor skills have great developmental benefits. One interactive toy which children will really love, is a digital camera designed especially for their age-group.
It is pretty remarkable that children of two can learn to take pictures and even record video! A camera might not be one of the first things you think of when trying to name a few educational toys. But if you think about what a child needs to do to be able to successfully take a picture, you will see that all the requirements are there:-
- Hand-eye coordination, framing the shot and clicking the right buttons
- Fine motor skills, using those buttons and controls
- Spatial awareness, judging size, distance and shape
- Vocabulary skills, talking about the pictures
- Social skills, cooperating with others, getting friends and family to pose for a picture, etc.
There are lots of fun activities that you can do with a child once they have their own camera which will also help them to develop new skills.
Of course, these cameras do not take pictures of similar quality to an adult’s camera if they are limited in this respect as resolution is usually around two mega-pixels. Nevertheless, given that you are not really expecting the average two year old to be producing images like David Bailey from the get-go and you will probably be printing off snaps for Grandma rather than wanting a poster-sized enlargement, the quality of the images is perfectly adequate.
One thing you do want to make sure of though, is that the camera memory is sufficient. At this age it seems to be quantity rather than quality that is important and all your child will really want to do is to have fun taking one picture after another, after another, after another ……..! Having a large camera memory will help you to select at least some of the images from amongst the hundreds your child has snapped, which will be “keepers” for the album.
Cameras for this age-group are specially designed to be easier for little fingers to hold and with oversized buttons that are simple to operate. Bright colors are a particular feature too and the designs often reflect favorite characters from TV or film, like Spongebob, for example.
There is certainly a very large range to choose from and finding one that not only fits the budget but which also has all the right features and benefits for your child can be tricky. Unless you can get a recommendation from someone whose child really loves using a particular model, online review sites are a good place to look. However, many of these seem to just “regurgitate” a short paragraph from the manufacturerÃs product details – sure, each site might tell it a different way, but there is not much new information there.