Clearly, childhood is not the time for an expensive gift. Anything you give, depending on the recipient’s age, stands to be chewed, peed, or slobbered on, lost at least twice, and may or may not be thrown in frustration. And there is the fact that children outgrow things at warp speed. Any present should take all of these obstacles into account.
But then, what do you get the little aspiring photographer when even the most beginner equipment can be on the pricey side? We’ve put together some photography gifts under $25 for kid’s birthday ideas for you. These gifts are sure to ignite an interest in photography without you having to spend a fortune.
1. Kids Digital Camera (Overall Winner)
Of course, we can’t list children’s photography gifts without throwing in a camera – we are photographers, after all. For under $25, it’s understood you aren’t walking away with a Hasselblad, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality. This child’s digital camera from Rambg offers basic photo and video capability, as well as music and games! It’s equipped with a 32GB memory card, card reader, lanyard, and, of course, stickers!
Obviously, this photography gift is extremely age-dependent but, let’s face it, how adorable will this look on a newborn? Made from organic cotton with a snap closure, this clever onesie is definitely one of the cutest photography gifts under $25 for kid’s birthday you can find.
Again meant for younger children, this beechwood camera, encased in a soft silicone case, delivers the sounds, lights, and experience of a camera. Ideal for 18-month-olds and up, this kaleidoscope/camera will keep the budding photographer entertained for hours. With a functioning flash, mimicking shutter snap sounds, and a kaleidoscope lens, the Janod Sound Camera is the perfect photography gift for children.
Although aimed at ages four and up, any child with an imagination and a penchant for photography will enjoy the PLAYMOBIL City Life Children with Photographer setup. Encouraging creative role-playing, this little set measures less than four-inches high but packs a big punch. It features two adorable flower children and a photographer to take their picture. The set comes with all three figures, camera, tripod, flowers, and other accessories to set the scene.
Touted as being a “wonderful introduction to photography,” Joel Meyerowitz’s Seeing Things: A Kid’s Guide to Looking at Photographs ticks all the boxes when seeking a photography gift for a child’s birthday. Meyerowitz brings a lifetime of photographic experience into a child’s hands. Intent on explaining the power of the photographic medium and presenting the works of renowned photographers, this hardback challenges its readers to closely examine the photographs and attempt to grasp the nuanced details of light, composition, and imagination.
This DIY pinhole camera is the perfect photography gift for a kid’s birthday. There is no better way to learn the true fundamentals of photography than with a classic pinhole camera – and all the frustration that goes with it. This do-it-yourself camera/solargraphy kit has two apertures and even a soft-focus filter. With no optics to crack and a DIY-build, this introduction to photography can withstand childhood tantrums and won’t break the bank.
But if you’re going to go down the pinhole route, why not go a step further and invest in a series of activities? Pinhole Cameras: A DIY Guide takes the concept of pinhole photography out of cameras and into ordinary household items. With how-to’s featuring a number of items from oatmeal cans to cigar boxes, this book walks the aspiring photographer through the history of pinhole photography and into the mystical world of darkroom procedures. It’s one of the most creative photography gifts under $25 for kid’s birthday, and ticks all the boxes: it’s engaging, skill-building, memory-building, and affordable.
A step up in the DIY game is the Pixco Recesky DIY TLR (twin lens reflex) camera. According to the manufacturer, the process of building the camera teaches the function and importance of each of the pieces. The TLR kit, appropriately, uses two lenses and offers the child photographer the experience of waist-level shooting.
For the more advanced photo kids, consider this extremely economical introduction to studio and tabletop lighting with the Emart LED Lighting setup. It comes with two angled heads, two stands, and four filters, as well as a comprehensive introduction to lighting. The lights use internal LEDs so there will be no hunting for bulbs, making it easy and economical. For an affordable $24.99, this kid-friendly lighting setup is at the higher priced end of our list, but it’s an invaluable addition to any budding photographer’s kit.
10. SunCreations Cyanotype Paper, High Sensitivity Sunprint Nature Printing Kit (Budget Winner)
Photography manages to be both complicated and simple at the same time. Ultimately, it all comes down to light. One of the best ways to introduce children to the power and usage of light, in a photographic sense, is with sunprint paper. An activity that is ideal for “quality time,” sunprint paper creates permanent, finished prints on multicolored cyanotype paper via sun exposure. Celebrate and curate the unique moment when a young photographer sees their work, and a memory, develop.
The Best Photography Gifts Under $25 for Kid’s Birthday = Fun!
P.S. Shiniest and Loudest Wins
It’s comforting to know that for any age there are choices, from onesies to cameras, to share and develop a love of photography. Theoretically, the ideal gifts for the developing child create self-directed play and/or trigger both the sensory and physical senses, which all of the above options do to some degree. So when it comes to choosing the right photography gift for a kid’s birthday, focus on enjoyment and development. And if you can do that for under $25, you’re a rock star.