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Mattel Learning Camera for Toddlers

11 June 2010

My advertising sponsors, Nuffnang and Mattel, send me kids toys every now and again. Sometimes I review them… and use the money to help cover my addiction to clothes, chocolate, and the occasional lens purchase for my Nikon DSLR.

The most recent toy is a Learning Camera. I smirked and thought – now isn’t that just so very fitting for me and my crazy little family, because we are obsessed with cameras!

Some of cameras from our camera collection

My husband is a camera enthusiast from way back, so he has lots of old cameras. I own quite a few cameras too. And being a veteran blogger, I never leave the house without one! So yes, we take lots of photos. So much so, my poor kids think that it is completely normal to go around photographing EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME.

As you can see, we have an embarrassing accumulation of cameras! We have a few old school 35 mm cameras, a 16mm movie camera, various digital cameras. And in the top left, check out the 1940 Brownie Reflex and the 1946 Six-20 Brownie C!

But I am sure you can see that one camera stands out – the Mattel Learning Camera, which is the one that looks like a plastic toy. When I unwrapped the “camera”, I immediately checked to see if it had a USB port, how fast the lens was, and how many megapixels it was – because, you know, I’m a camera geek.

I was confused, and initially disappointed, to discover that the camera has no USB port, no lens, and exactly zero megapixels. Oh I get it…it’s not an actual camera. It’s a cute little toy in a camera theme.

After I got over my own excitement and disappointment about (not) having a BRAND NEW CAMERA IN THE HOUSE… and thought about this like a mother, I realized that any real camera function would have been a waste for a kids toy – it would just never survive day one.

So I let my 1 year old son Liam take over the review process. Like all kids, he is a harsh judge of toys.

Liam and a Learning Camera

This is him going LOR LOR LOR LOR LOR LOR to the music – with a magic sparkle in his eyes. He loved it. So it works.

I’m relieved to tell you that the Learning Camera is one of those indestructible toys that you can give to a toddler in the car, or pram, or in a café, and it will keep them busy for a substantial amount of time. It’s small enough to keep in a nappy bag as an emergency distraction if you get stuck in a long queue.

And when your kid gets bored with the switches and sounds, they can use it as a hammer or throwing object – and it will still work afterwards. I think of it as a cross between a rattle and a portable activity centre, and it will still be intact long after the kid has grown up and left home.

If only my real cameras were this indestructible!