Starting your kids on their own creative journey – action cameras to capture your next family adventure
Is it just me who sees their electronic devices go missing all the time now?
It’s one thing to let the kids have a play on your old smartphone around the house but when it comes to heading to the pool or the beach…… or heaven forbid wanting to touch my GOOD mirrorless camera….
Long gone are the days of having a film developed at the end of your vacation. Our kids come from a generation of here and now. Not just wanting to be a part of the memories but capturing it themselves, being a part of the creative process and seeing the results IMMEDIATELY!!
Now that the Globetrotters are budding helpers on our blog (many of our Instastories now are courtesy of Miss Z) it’s come the time they need their own proper photography and filming gear.
While I’m not quite ready to gift upon them my GoPro – despite their insistence! – we have found some fabulous budget-friendly alternative digital cameras to get them started on their photographic journey. These action cameras can withstand the rough and tumble of kiddy treatment, some even work underwater!
This post is part of our best family travel products series.
No time to read it all? Our favourite younger kids action camera is the PROGRACE Kids Waterproof Action Camera and for your tweens plus, the AKASO EK7000 Action Camera
Before we dive into all our favourite kids’ action cameras, like any sort of tech, you’ve got to understand the terminology first, so you know what important features to look for – and what sets an action camera apart from a basic kids camera.
What are you looking for in a kids action camera?
Essentially, an action camera can record video as well as take still images. Action cameras are designed to do exactly what it says on the tin – capture your kids in action! Here’s what to look for:
Breakability – let’s be honest accidents DO happen – all our products mentioned here have a sturdy design for kids. You may want to check though whether they come with a protective case for transporting, a wrist strap or a flotation device.
Waterproof – always check if it’s the device itself that’s waterproof or do you need to pay extra for the casing to make it waterproof? We have a complete guide over here to the best underwater kids cameras, perfect for your snorkelling trips or beach vacations
Still image or video – we have selected models that let you take both still images and video recordings – this is really what sets them apart as “action cameras” as supposed to an ordinary kids camera.
Image quality – generally speaking, the higher the number the better!
For still images, this is measured in megapixels (MP) and for video fps (frames per second). If they want to print photos or use them for more than just replaying video back to themselves, this is important to consider and where cheaper doesn’t = better.
“4K” most commonly associated with action cameras is extremely high resolution (HD is 720p/1080p – 4K essentially gives a 4x sharper image) – Still confused? read this.
Most of the basic kids’ models do not include a wide-angle lens, you need to move up to the more advanced 4K models for this functionality.
Memory – how many photos can it take? All cameras mentioned here use an SD or microSD card but the one that comes with the product may only be small, eg 256MB or up to 8GB. You may be able to add up to 32GB or 64GB with an extra SD card (check sizing – they will state a maximum amount of memory you can add in the Amazon product description)
Battery life – it’s all fun and games until you’re back at your accommodation and ALL OF YOU want to charge your devices at once…. Are the camera’s batteries rechargeable or will you need to pack spares?
Age-appropriate – look for simplicity of the buttons, size of playback screen; can they add effects as they’re going or is this ‘post-production’? If an extra app or desktop program is needed do you have it? Are images transferred by wifi or a USB cord and will you get these items in the box?
Remember, they are the storytellers here, not you! These action cameras, or some will call them kids GoPros, are designed with kids’ small hands in mind and easy to understand touch-button technology.
As you move up the age ranges, you’ll get more advanced functionality and better quality images and videos – but remember, little kids care more about the act of taking the pictures and footage. The beginner’s cams come with lots of special effects and lower image quality. Weigh up what you think will give them the most joy!
OK now you’re familiar with the basics, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what you can expect from each of these kids’ action cameras.
Best Kids Action Cameras
As Amazon Associates, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases made after clicking any of our recommendation links
Best All-rounder kids action camera: PROGRACE Kids Waterproo Camera
If you’re seeking a kid’s action camera that will deliver solid images and cool videos, waterproof and sturdy for all types of kids filming needs PROGRACE have you covered, at a very reasonable price.
It is small and light enough your kids can use this action camera mounted on bikes and skateboards, but large enough small hands can easily work the buttons and produce some fun results, making this the best choice for most kids.
The techie bits you need to know:
- Waterproof (to 100 feet), dustproof, anti-shock, anti-fall
- 1.77″ LCD Screen
- Optical Zoom x4
- Video 1080P/ 30fps
- 5 MP still photos
- Rechargable Li-ion battery with recording time 1.5 hours (1000mAh)
- Supports max 32Gb Micro SD (not included)
- Allows for continuos shooting and time lapse functions
- Includes mini games 40 photo frames and 7 color video modes
Best Action Camera for Prechoolers: VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix Plus
Our living room has been decorated with VTech toys for years! So it comes as no surprise they’re a market leader in technology for your slightly older kids too. This is our favourite action cam for small hands. It is simple to use and very modestly priced (between $30-$40 depending on stockist).
This little kid’s action camera is mostly for having fun, rather than serious footage with its focus on still images with effects but can also record.
The techie bits you need to know:
- Twisting lens and 4x digital zoom
- Built-in flash
- 2.2″ colour screen
- 2-megapixel digital camera
- Voice recording feature with 5 different voice changing effects, movie taking, stop-frame animation
- 256 MB built-in memory (Expandable with extra microSD card)
- Automatic shut-off after 3 minutes without operation in Camera or Movie modes to preserve battery life.
- Includes 1 wrist strap and 1 USB cable
- 4 AA batteries included for demo, recommended you install new batteries
- Available in blue and pink
- Intended for ages 3 to 8 years
Sold separately – you may also want a protective case compatible with your VTech Kidizoom Camera
Best for action cam for beginners: VTech Kidizoom Action Camera
We’re starting to get a little more seriously into our action shots now with this one, the focus here is on your video; in the water or on your bike or skateboard perhaps.
You can still have some fun with effects and the rechargeable battery has a decent life. The price point on this product has unfortunately crept up over the years with not a lot of feature improvements so it no longer gets our top billing.
The techie bits you need to know:
- Features 1.4-inch color video camera LCD screen
- Can take videos, photos, stop-motion videos and time-lapse photos
- Comes with two adhesive flat mounts enabling filming while biking or skateboarding
- Comes with a waterproof case to take photos and videos in up to 6 feet underwater
- Includes fun photo effects, frames and filters
- Download photos and videos using micro USB cable (Included)
- Rechargeable Li-ion Polymer battery with continuous photo-taking and recording time of 2.5 hours
- MicroSD card slot with a 32GB microSD card (sold separately)
- The camera has a capacity of 240 minutes recording 640 x 480 video or 278,400 photos
- Best for 4 to 9 years old
Sold separately – you may also want a compatible case for your action cam, including the mountings and equipment.
Another Excellent Choice: OurLife kids Waterproof Camera with Video Recorder
Another excellent sports camera choice for the more active kids with a bit more functionality, a helmet mounting kit included and rechargeable batteries.
Kid’s hands can easily work this little camera and its robust to take anywhere they go, making it the perfect action camera for a sports-mad child.
The techie bits you need to know:
- Picture Resolution: 1M ( 1280 x 960 ), 3M ( 2048 x 1536 ), 5M ( 2592 x 1944 )
- Video Resolution: HD ( 1280 x 720 ), 640 ( 640 x 480 ) 30fps
- Waterproof case reliable to 33ft (note buttons tighter with case on)
- Built-in microphone
- Includes neck strap, helmet mount
- Includes 8GB memory card (add Micro SD card up to 32GB)
- External 3.7V rechargeable lithium battery
- Power-Saving: Camera turn off automatically after 1min / 3mins / 5mins if no additional operation.
- Comes in Pink or Blue
- Best for 6 to12-year-olds
Sold separately – Get a hard case for protecting your kids’ action cam.
Best Kids Waterproof Digital Camera: Yifecial Waterproof Digital Camera for Kids
Back to basics, this looks more like something us parents might be familiar with!!
It’s nothing over fancy from the outside but is sturdy and certainly does the job with decent quality still images and video, it would make a reliable first kids camera.
You’ll get far better image quality which you can then edit later with a model like this as supposed to the smaller kids’ action cams. It’s a great little camera for the beach and pool, but it won’t mount on their bikes and skateboards etc.
Techie stuff you need to know:
- Waterproof, dustproof and anti-fall
- Shoots up to 30MP and 1080p / 30fps video
- Waterproof to a depth of 10 feet
- Record HD quality video with an inbuilt recorder and speaker for playback
- Includes a self-timer
- Anti-shake function for clearer images
- 2.7″ LCD screen with immediate playback
- 16x digital zoom
- Powered by 2xAAA batteries (not included)
- Comes in black and blue colours
- Includes an 8GB SD card; Supports up to 128GB SD (not included)
- Connects to PC with USB2
- Suitable for 5 to 12-year-olds
Did you see our guide our parents guide on how to photograph kids when travelling?
Best Action Camera for Teens & Tweens: AKASO EK7000 Pro 4K Action Camera
For your slightly older kids who can handle the technology but are perhaps still prone to ah, accidents! This is our top choice for a more sophisticated model appropriate for tweens and teens.
Similar in many ways to GoPro cameras, you’ll find this one won’t break the bank but comes with loads of added extras to make their own neat little videos.
Its small size makes it great for mounting on helmets, the wide-angle lense is perfect for capturing more of the action.
The techie bits you need to know:
- 4K high-resolution at 25fps / 2.7K at 30 fps or 1080p at 60 fps
- 16MP image sensor for photographs
- Comes with a number of different mounts and other accessories
- Waterproof housing that works at depths of up to 131 feet
- 2 x 1,050mAh batteries, each of providing 90 minutes of battery life
- Download photos over wifi with app or HDMI
- 16Gb to 64GB MicroSD card supported (not included)
Got your extra equipment sorted for travel?
Not just the camera! Don’t forget your camera will need to be charged at the end of the day, photos downloaded, and if you’re overseas, likely different plugs and even wattage conversion to make your device work – quickly check if you’re going to need any of these before you travel with a kids camera:
Waterproof Smartphone Cases
If all else fails and the kids STILL want to use your smartphone, we have had no problem using a universal waterproof case. Always test them in the sink before you use them the first time, but they are a simple lock and seal then you use your iPhone as normal – not for deep-sea diving, just to make your phone splash-proof.
The case will certainly stay put around your neck, but if you’re looking at more action, don’t forget to consider a water float device, especially if the kids are in charge. The only issue we have found is that the iPhone doesn’t actually let you snap off a photo underwater. The button, therefore, should not be submerged if trying to shoot underwater. However, you can start a video above water then submerge.
Do you have a kids’ favourite action camera that you think we’ve missed? Let us know what you’ve been using in the comments!
Bookmark this page or save it to Pinterest for later
Disclosures: We have received no compensation for reviewing any of these products, all opinions are our own. This post contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase through our affiliate links there is no extra cost to you but we may earn a small commission. Please see our full disclosures here.
© Our Globetrotters | Feature images CanvaPro
This review was first completed in May 2018. We have subsequently deleted some discontinued models and moved some new favourites up our list based on subsequent purchases we’ve made. Pricing and specs now accurate to March 2022 but tech can change fast! Always read the product specs on Amazon in detail before you buy!