At least in photography, what's old is new again. In an age where nearly everyone has a top-notch, portable camera in their pocket with their smartphone, something interesting is happening.

Especially with children, instant cameras are becoming more and more popular. More than likely, you've probably seen a child walking around with an instant camera ready to snap a photo at a moment's notice.

We'll highlight some of the best instant print and Polaroid cameras for kids.

Premium pick

1. Kodak Smile Classic

9.00 / 10
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While the Kodak Smile Classic looks like an old-school instant print camera, it's also packing some modern technology. The camera uses ZINK paper that prints the image with a unique thermal process. It can print out large 3.5x4.25-inch prints. You can also peel off the back of the prints for them to become stickers for scrapbooks or elsewhere.

The built-in rechargeable battery allows you to print up to 35 images on a single charge. There is even a pop-up flash to help brighten up images. And when your kids capture that perfect shot, it doesn't have to be lost forever. With the built-in microSD slot, you can provide an optional card to save images for printing later. There is also a 10-second self-timer.

Using the companion smartphone app, you can edit images and then print them out on the camera. You can also use the app as a remote control for the Smile Classic. There are four different colors to choose from; black, blue, green, or red.

Key Features
  • Companion smartphone app can control camera and even send pictures to print on camera
  • Save photos to print later with the microSD card slot
  • 10-second self timer
Specifications
  • Brand: Kodak
  • Battery: Built-in, rechargeable
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Self-Timer: 10-second
Pros
  • Four different colors available
  • Pop-up flash to help brighten images
Cons
  • Expensive compared to other options
Editors choice

2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

9.60 / 10
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It's hard to go wrong with Fujifilm's Instax Mini 11 as an instant camera for your kids. The camera is available in several fun hues, including pink, white, purple, blue, and black. Oversized and comfortable to hold in smaller hands, the camera gets power from AA batteries, so there's no need to worry about charging either.

The rear contains a film compartment, print indicator dials, and a viewfinder. Inserting film takes just a few seconds and can even be done by kids with just a little practice. The front of the camera sports a flash, shutter button, lens, selfie mirror, and power button. When it comes time to take a photo, you can just line up the subject and push the shutter button.

The Automatic Exposure function will determine the lighting to provide the best picture possible. For selfie fans, there is also a built-in macro mode to use in conjunction with the mirror on the camera's front.

Key Features
  • Automatic Exposure feature helps provide the best possible photo
  • Built-in selfie mirror and specific macro mode
  • Available in a wide variety of fun colors
Specifications
  • Brand: Fujifilm
  • Battery: 2x AA batteries
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Self-Timer: No
Pros
  • A wide variety of film and other accessories available for the prints
  • No need to worry about charging
Cons
  • Older children might want something different
Best value

3. Kodak Printomatic

8.60 / 10
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The Kodak Printomatic is an inexpensive and well-designed way for kids to enjoy an instant print camera. To help capture the best photo, a light sensor will automatically turn on the flash in low-light situations.

As a nice touch, you can also capture a new image while the previous photo is printing. A switch on the top of the camera allows you to toggle between color or black-and-white print.

The camera uses ZINK paper that is resistant to water and tearing. All of the prints have a sticky backing so kids can place them in a scrapbook or almost anywhere else.

Doubling as a digital camera, you can also save images to an optional microSD card up to 256GB. The built-in rechargeable battery can print 25 photos before needing to be recharged.

Key Features
  • Toggle between color and black-and-white prints
  • You can shoot a new photo while printing the previous shot
  • Also a digital camera so you can save prints to an optional microSD card
Specifications
  • Brand: Kodak
  • Battery: Built-in, rechargeable
  • Weight: 0.44 pounds
  • Self-Timer: No
Pros
  • One of the most inexpensive options on the market
  • Flash will automatically turn on in low-light environments
Cons
  • The battery needs to be recharged every 25 prints

For a more advanced instant camera, the Polaroid Snap helps older kids explore the world of digital photography. Along with an instant print camera that produces 2x3-inch prints, the Snap features a 10-megapixel digital camera sensor that can capture images onto an optional microSD card of up to 32GB, making it easy to print and even share the image to social media later.

The special ZINK paper uses a thermal process to create the image in around a minute after snapping the picture. You can select from three different color modes: normal, black and white, or a vintage sepia tone. Your kids can print images with a Polaroid Classic Border Logo or just a regular shot.

Another great feature is the fun Photo Booth mode that takes six quick pictures in 10 seconds. Older children can even use the Snap's timer to make sure they're in the shot too. There are six different camera colors to select from: black, blue, red, pink, white, and purple.

Key Features
  • Produces 2x3-inch prints
  • Also a digital camera that can capture 10-megapixel images
  • Photo Booth mode takes six pictures in 10 seconds
Specifications
  • Brand: Polaroid
  • Battery: Built-in, rechargeable
  • Weight: 0.84 pounds
  • Self-Timer: 10 seconds
Pros
  • Six different camera colors to select from
  • Save photos onto an optional microSD card
Cons
  • No rear screen to view or edit photos

Polaroid Pop 2.0 is an instant print camera and much more. That makes it perfect for kids looking to do more than just shoot pictures. Along with a digital camera, the device sports a built-in microphone and speaker and can record full 1080p video or a 15-second GIF to an optional microSD card of up to 128GB.

And using the Pop 2.0's Wi-Fi, you can easily edit an image on the rear touchscreen and share them to social media and elsewhere without needing to pick up your phone. After capturing a photo, you can add captions, notes, emojis, and shapes using the touchscreen before printing on 3.5x4.25-inch ZINK paper.

You can even connect a smartphone or tablet and send photos to print on the Pop 2.0. A rechargeable battery can last for up to 50 prints before needing to be recharged.

Key Features
  • Along with photos, can capture 1080p video and 15-second GIFs
  • Built-in Wi-Fi to share photos or video to social media or elsewhere
  • Print photos from other devices
Specifications
  • Brand: Polaroid
  • Battery: Built-in, rechargeable
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Self-Timer: 3 seconds, 10 seconds
Pros
  • Large 3.5x4.25-inch prints
  • Touchscreen on the rear of the camera
Cons
  • No microSD card provided

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 is a significant step up from the company's Instax Mini 11. Featuring a retro vibe and available in either black or brown, the camera uses the usual 2x3-inch film. Thanks to an included rechargeable battery, you'll save money in the long run compared to purchasing disposable cells.

Your budding photographers will definitely enjoy many fun shooting modes. Some of the best include a double-exposure mode that superimposes two different images on one frame and a bulb exposure mode to show excellent night view and light trails.

You can attach an optional tripod to the socket mount for those extended exposure modes. Thanks to a handy dial on the lens, you can easily change modes and functions while looking through the viewfinder, making it easier to capture that perfect shot.

Key Features
  • Uses the traditional 2x3-inch Instax film
  • Tripod mount for longer-exposure images
  • Macro mode to capture close subjects
Specifications
  • Brand: Fujifilm
  • Battery: Built-in, rechargeable
  • Weight: 0.65 pounds
  • Self-Timer: 10 seconds
Pros
  • Fun shooting modes
  • Rechargeable battery will save money in the long-term
Cons
  • Expensive compared to other options

Many children are already smartphone users and might not want to use an instant print camera when they can just take a photo with their existing device. But the Polaroid Lab is a fun way to explore analog printing with a smartphone.

Instead of a camera, the Lab can turn any photo on your smartphone into an authentic Polaroid print. Just open the companion smartphone app, select an image, and then place a smartphone screen face down.

As a fun touch, you can embed a video into the print and watch it come to life with the smartphone app thanks to augmented reality. Kids can also use the app to turn a favorite photo into a collage of up to nine prints.

Key Features
  • Converts a smartphone image into a Polaroid print
  • Smartphone app can add augmented reality features to a print
  • Create a collage of up to nine frames
Specifications
  • Brand: Polaroid
  • Battery: Built-in, rechargeable
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Self-Timer: No
Pros
  • Simple to use
  • Uses classic Polaroid film
Cons
  • Need a smartphone to print photos

FAQ

Q: How Does a Polaroid or Instant Print Camera Work?

The name Polaroid should sound familiar to those old enough. The one-time juggernaut made the instant camera hugely popular—well before the age of the digital camera. While it might not seem fascinating in today's tech-filled society, the instant camera still holds a bit of its magical appeal.

First off, you'll need to load the appropriate film for whatever camera you own. Then, after framing your shot in the viewfinder and pressing the shutter button, a nearly complete image develops, then exits its film slot. That's when the real fun begins. You'll usually need to wait anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute as the image slowly appears on the film.

Alternatively, some instant print cameras use ZINK film that prints with a special thermal process. Those will be developed entirely when they come out of the camera.

Q: Why Are Instant Print Cameras Good for Kids?

Instant cameras and children are a great combination for a few reasons. Many kids are interested in taking great photos in the same way as their parents did. Along with ease of use, instant cameras help foster creativity in children, teach basic photography principles, and provide a better understanding of the world around them.

Q: Do Instant Camera Pictures Fade?

Polaroid or instant camera pictures can definitely fade. To help make sure that doesn’t happen, keep the prints away from heat and humidity. Another great way to help the images stand the test of time is to place the pictures in an album.

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