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Camera Happy

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Several years ago, our kids received the Fisher Price KidTough camera as a gift. It is a toy digital camera that really takes photos. You can put them on your computer, but the resolution is so low it's not really worth it. However, this toy has been a perennial favourite, especially since every action you take on it makes a nifty noise.

There are the traditional "digital" beeps and boops (albeit at 90 db louder than a "real" camera), and when you delete something (as the kids often have to do, since they take photos non-stop until it reaches it's 80-photo limit) it makes this great whip-cracking sound. Sometimes, I think they take photos just so they can delete them--a theory that is supported by the total randomness of the aim most of the time. (Like at the table. Fifty times.)

Needless to say, this is all pretty hard on the AA batteries the thing is powered with, and inevitably, unless it gets misplaced somewhere out of sight, the camera is "broken" again within only days of a new set of batteries being installed. Since Mommy and Daddy aren't made of money, and we are usually thoroughly sick of whip-crackings and beeps and boops by then, the camera often remains in this state for at least six months until we decide to ration out another quadruplet of batteries.

Last time I opened up the camera to change batteries (an ordeal requiring me to find the tiniest screwdriver in existence), I discovered that one of the batteries had leaked onto the springy post inside the camera, and there was enough gook there to prevent proper contact. So, the camera sat dormant for another indeterminate amount of time, until Spring Cleaning Fever hit me last week.

During Spring Cleaning Fever, all those things that have been randomly set places to be dealt with "someday" are no longer allowed to be sitting randomly. Things out of place, once picked up, are required to find their permanent home. If they must be repaired first, they are.

This time, I had enough of my own repair jobs to tend to that I figured it was time to delegate. Thus, I gave the job of cleaning the camera post to Jude. He did it admirably, carefully manoeuvring the cotton swab and rubbing alcohol I had supplied him with around and around the little spring deep in the camera's recesses, and then inserting fresh batteries. Wow, I love how useful they get as they get older. (Meaning children, not noisy toys.)

The kids then took turns--"timed" by the number of photos taken--with the camera, since it was functional again.

What surprised me was that for once, Noah did not seem to be aiming at random. He really wanted to take pictures of stuff he liked.

Like the pictures we coloured to go with our ocean unit.

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And every single video game we have in the house--carefully laid face up, then set aside to make room for the next.

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But hey, if those are the things that he wants to photograph, who am I to say otherwise? After all, I take pictures of yarn!

Knit Picks Andaean Treasure

And self-portraits from awkward angles and way too close.

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And plants.


And my camera doesn't even make a cool whip-crack when I delete anything!

(Maybe if it did, I would take the time to delete more photos--I obviously don't need inspiration to actually take any more!)

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  1. These are the pictures from YOUR camera right? How bad are the pictures for the kiddy one? I am keen to get Ayaan one for his birthday. Worth it?

  2. Hi, Ro! My kids have loved it, obviously, and the quality of shot is somewhat better than those of the really old wind-to-advance-it "first camera" I was given (complete with 20-year-old film). However, after only one time trying to transfer the photos to the computer and looking through the quality--both of the shot and of the composition--I decided we wouldn't be printing any. That's okay, though--the real appeal for my kids doesn't seem to be in the photograph itself, just in the act of taking (or deleting) it. (Yet another reason for not printing--the photos are usually deleted as soon as they are taken.) If Ayaan turns out to have a good eye and a steady hand and you actually get some decent shots, you may find that printing them out at 4x6 would look alright--good enough for a record of what you son "sees" at this age. At the very least, it gives you a good opportunity to teach him how to photograph without risking that he will drop your SLR, or even your nice point-and-shoot.

    The camera itself has withstood all sorts of abuse with nary a dent, so as a toy, I give it top marks. As a camera--well, as a toy, I give it top marks! :-)

    I hope this helps!


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