The Best Family Games: 50 of the Top Board Games, Video Games and Card Games that are Tons of Fun for Kids and the Whole Family

the best games for family fun

Source: Tim, Flickr Creative Commons

The family that plays together says together – or at least until someone wins that game of Monopoly, Parchesi, Life or Sorry! Traditional board games as well as new, electronic games provide hours of family fun time. Best of all, everyone in the family can play some games. Grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, parents and children can all gather around the table to enjoy fun times together. The next time you and your family gets together or after your next big holiday meal, pull out one of the 50 best family games, and let the good times roll!

The 50 Best Family Games

The list of the the 50 best family games is divided into several parts. The first section includes traditional board games, grouped by age ranges. The second part includes classic board games enjoyed by all ages. The last section lists electronic games for family entertainment. If a specific game system is needed, this information is included with the specifics of the game.

Jump to your favorite section now…

Why Play Family Games?

With so many kids clamoring for every type of digital game under the sun, why include traditional board games? Board games actually teach children many valuable lessons. Parenting Science states that traditional board games provide good opportunities for children to model behaviors from adults. Think about it; if you’re playing a game as a family, the older adults around the table are modeling how to follow rules, how to be a good sport, how to take turns, and how to share. Depending on your family situation and lifestyle, that may be a valuable and unique opportunity indeed, especially if the older family members live far away and don’t interact frequently with the youngsters.

Traditional board games do not rely on electricity, and they’re inexpensive. Grandparents who may be intimidated by digital games can immediately immerse themselves in traditional games such as checkers, chess, Monopoly, Life, and many others.

Keep this in mind as you’re shopping for games for your family. With so many things moving to digital platforms, traditional board games may still have a place in your family’s life.

The 25 Best Family Games

 

sneakysnackysquirrel

1. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game (Educational Insights)

Children ages 3 and up love playing

Pros:

  • Box acts as part of the game board.
  • Adults seem to enjoy the game too, so it’s fun for the whole family.
  • Helps kids develop social skills, fine motor skills, and matching skills.

Cons:

  • Older children who play the game may find it boring.
  • Cardboard pieces can rip over time.

Hoot Owl Hoot board game

2. Hoot, Owl, Hoot! (Peaceable Kingdom)

Pros:

  • Game teaches cooperation and builds on social skills.
  • Parents love how the game teaches counting, cooperation and teamwork.
  • Bright, colorful and well-constructed game.

Cons:

  • Some parents felt that without the competition among players, the game wasn’t as much fun.
  • Some parents felt the game was hard to understand.

Jax Sequence

3. Jax Jumbo Sequence Tube Game (Jax)

This challenging game for older children and adults was a huge favorite among reviewers. Players use a board game printed with cards and poker-like chips to create five-card sequences. The winner is the one who creates the most five card sequences in one game session. The sturdy vinyl mat rolls up into a portable tube, making this a great game both for family nights and vacation trips.

Pros:

  • Adults, teens and older children loved the game and said it provided many hours of fun.
  • Sturdy mat and game pieces that last a long time.
    Portable.
  • The jumbo version offers a large enough board space for six to 10 players to compete at once.

Cons:

  • Some families may not like the card game aspect of the game.
  • Younger children may find the game rules too challenging.

Ticket to Ride Game

4. Ticket to Ride (Original Version) (Days of Wonder)

All aboard! Grab your ticket to ride and hop aboard this fun take off on “Around the World in 80 Days.”

Pros:

  • There are so many possible combinations in this game that kids can play it many times without growing bored with it.
  • Scores can be close, which makes the game exciting.

Cons:

  • Later versions set in different countries offer more challenges.
  • Some parents felt it was too expensive.

Telestrations

5. Telestrations (Usapoly)

From the makers of Yahtzee! and many other popular games comes

Pros:

  • Combines the best of Pictionary and Telephone.
  • Leads to some unpredictable, very funny outcomes.
  • Up to 8 people can play at once.

Cons:

  • Works best for 6 or more players. The fewer players, the fewer surprises, and the less funny the game is.
  • Some people felt it was overpriced.

Carcassone

6. Carcassonne (Z-Man Games)

Carcassonne is a game that seems simple at first, but the more you play it, the more it will grow on you. Players ages 8 and up draw tiles, and use the tiles to build out the Medieval city of Carssonne. Part luck and part strategy, the game appeals to both children and adults. This is the original game, which many recommend over newer editions.

Pros:

  • Rules were easy to learn but the game was challenging to play.
  • Game pieces well constructed.
  • Good for the whole family.

Cons:

  • Scoring can be challenging to learn.

Labyrinth

7. Ravensburger Labyrinth (Ravensburger)

Pros:

  • Games rules are simple and can be learned quickly, yet playing is challenging.
  • Because the game changes a lot each time you play it, it’s fun to play it again and again.

Cons:

  • Some parents found the game tiles hard to slide.
  • Some adults found the game boring and thought it was more interesting for children than for entire families to play.
  • Cannot accommodate more than four players at a time.

Set

8. Set: The Family Game of Visual Perceptions (Set Enterprises)

Unlike many family games were players take turns, Set players all play simultaneously. The dealer arranges 12 cards, each with various symbols and colors on them, in front of the players. Players must quickly create sets, each competing with each other to grab cards from the 12 to create a set. Players ages 10 and up will find this game fast-paced and challenging.

Pros:

  • Easy game to learn.
  • Challenging enough for adults to play alongside kids.
  • Game isn’t dependent on age or reading ability, so if younger children aren’t frustrated by the pace or skills, they can play alongside the adults.

Cons:

  • Colorblind people may not be able to play the game because of the red and green colors – hard to distinguish between the cards for those with colorblindness.
  • Newer versions of the game were produced with thinner playing cards, leading to some complaints of premature wear and tear on them.

Settlers of Catan

9. The Settlers of Catan (MayFair Games)

In this

Pros:

  • Game board comes with special places to store pieces.
  • Both luck and skill are needed to win the game.
  • Expansions and add-ons (additional purchases) can be used to enhance the original game.

Cons:

  • Many complaints about games shipped missing pieces.
  • Board tends to warp if not put away carefully.

7 Wonders

10. Seven Wonders (Asmodee)

Build your civilization, and build the seven wonders of the ancient world in this fast-paced card and board game. Players ages 8 and up will enjoy the quick action and strategy that goes into this game. Players choose cards that let them build onto a civilization, passing the cards to the next player as the game advances. Players ages 10 and up may enjoy Seven Wonders.

Pros:

  • Colorful board game.
  • Expansion packets enable players to build upon the base game.
  • Good for 3 to 7 players.

Cons:

  • Younger players found it too complicated to learn.
  • Some players thought that luck, more than skill, helped people win.

Blokus game box

11. Blokus (Mattel)

Pros:

  • Helps develop thinking skills.
  • Children as well as adults enjoyed the game.
  • Very challenging yet fun.

Cons:

  • Contains small game pieces, so not for very young children.
  • Small pieces can get lost.
  • No more than four people can play at a time, which limits it for parties or large families.

Qwirkle

12. Qwirkle (MindWare)

Qwirkle brings the best of Scrabble, Othello and many other classic games to provide hours of family fun. Players draw tiles and try to match colors and shapes on the game board to win points. Qwirkle is fun for both children and adults, and encourages strategy, creativity, and planning skills.

Pros:

  • Good for younger children who aren’t reading well yet since the game is based on colors and shapes.
  • Quick game when you have limited time.
  • Can be enjoyed by the whole family, ages 6 and up.

Cons:

  • Very young children may have trouble with the rules or trouble keeping up with the grownups.
  • Some people find that the red and orange colors are so close that it’s hard to tell them apart.
  • Complaints that newer versions have poor quality game pieces.

Rory's Story Cubes

13. Rory’s Story Cubes, The Complete Set (Gamewright)

offer an intriguing game for players of all ages. Each set in this package of three sets includes 9 pictorial cubes for a total of 54 original, 54 action and 54 voyage images. Roll the cubes, and come up with a story that incorporates the images. Kids ages 8 and up enjoy weaving tales as part of the game.

Pros:

  • Parents and teachers raved about how the game inspires creativity and challenges thinking.
  • Great for people of all ages. Kids and adults enjoyed the game.
  • Easy to learn.

Cons:

  • Some people had trouble figuring out what the image on the cubes was meant to be.
  • Some people may want to start with the single sets and add onto them as they gain familiarity with the game.

applestoapples

14. Apples to Apples (Mattel)

Pros:

  • Game is simple and easy to learn.
  • Party edition can accommodate many players.
  • Provides hours of fun.

Cons:

  • Some of the subject matter may be a little old or risque for children. The game is promoted for ages 12 and up, but some parents thought it more suitable for older teens.
  • Cards can wear out or get lost easily.

Pay Day

15. Payday (Winning Moves Games)

Parents may remember this game from their youth. The classic board game has been updated with new categories and a few changes to the older game. Players pit their entrepreneurial and financial skills against each other to see who makes the most money. Suitable for ages 8 to 12 years, but grownups enjoy it, too.

Pros:

  • Like Monopoly, Pay Day helps boost children’s entrepreneurial and financial skills.
  • Teaches children about money, budgeting, spending.
  • Sneaks education about money into a game so it is fun.

Cons:

  • Newer versions of the game did away with the savings option, which many people found upsetting.
  • Younger children may have trouble handling money.

Classic Board and Card Games for the Whole Family

Some things never go out of style, and that’s true for the following classic games. Games for young children include classics such as Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, while older kids will thrill to the mysteries of Clue, try their hand at creating real estate empires with Monopoly, or out maneuver their opponents in Battleship.

clue

16. Clue, The Classic Edition (Winning Moves Games)

Professor Plum, Miss Scarlett, Mr. White and the others are back in this classic edition of the family favorite mystery game, Clue. Who killed Mr. Boddy? And how? Players figure out the clues to discover the identity of the murderer. Kids ages 8 and older will enjoy figuring out the means, motive and method in this board game.

Pros:

  • For a game that’s been around for over 50 years, it still feels fresh and fun.
  • Offers many combinations of clues so that no two games are exactly alike.
  • Helps teach reasoning and logic skills.

Cons:

  • Small game pieces may not be a good idea in households with young children.
  • Some parents object to the murder theme.

Monopoly

17. Monopoly (Winning Moves)

Monopoly spawned many imitators, but none come close to recreating the appeal of this classic board game. Start at go, roll the dice, and see who can build houses and hotels the fastest, collecting rents and earning the most money. The classic version brings back the traditional styling of the game as well as traditional game pieces such as the iron and shoe. Other licensed versions offer different names for the properties and various themed game sets, but the classic version is a family favorite.

Pros:

  • Great game for the whole family.
  • A classic game of strategy.

Cons:

  • Younger children may find the rules complicated.
  • Needs several hours to play compared to modern games that can be played in under an hour.

classicsorry

18. Sorry Classic (Winning Moves)

The 1939 classic game of

Pros:

  • Classic edition recreates the nostalgic look of older boards.
  • Illustrated instructions reprinted from the original 1939 version.
  • Sturdy game board and classic pieces.

Cons:

  • Playing time goes by quickly; not for families who want long, involved games.
  • Luck, more so than skill, is needed to win the game.

Life Game

19. Life (Hasbro)

The game of Life offers a classic family game that teaches players valuable lessons about managing money and finances. Different challenges ranging from getting married and having children to setbacks such as illnesses and job losses challenge players to make tough decisions in order to win and retire comfortably.

Pros:

  • The classic version offers endless hours of family fun.
  • Easy instructions that younger players can learn quickly.

Cons:

  • Some players said they ran out of money quickly; boxes didn’t contain enough play money.
  • A few rules changes from the classic edition which some adults did not like.

Parcheesi

20. Parcheesi (Winning Moves)

Kids, parents and grandparents love playing Parcheesi. This classic board game for four or more players is based more on luck than skill, but offers hours of playing fun for the whole family. The classic version is based on older board games and sure to bring up fond memories for the adults at the table.

Pros:

  • Classic version is made from the same sturdy materials as older games,so sure to last a long time.
  • Older people as well as children ages 8 and up are sure to enjoy it.

Cons:

  • Children more used to fast-paced games or video games may be bored by this nostalgic game.
  • Some prefer “Sorry” which is similar to Parcheesi.

Candy Land

21. Candy Land (Hasbro)

No mention of family board games is complete without mentioning

Pros:

  • Easy for young children to learn and play.
  • Games is based on luck rather than skill.

Cons:

  • Newer games have thin cards, which do not hold up well to rough play.
  • Suitable only for very young children; adults and teens get bored quickly.

 

Chutes and ladders

22. Chutes and Ladders (Hasbro)

Children spin the wheel and either climb the ladders or slip down the chutes depending on the outcomes. Good deeds are rewarded by climbing to the top; bad deeds punished by slipping down. Chutes and Ladders remains a classic fun game for preschoolers.

Pros:

  • No reading skills needed.
  • Good first game for very young children.
  • Helps build counting skills.

Cons:

  • Revised game board smaller than the older ones, making it hard to play.
  • Some parents complained that the newer illustrations are too cramped and make it hard to see what is going on.

battleship

23. Battleship (Hasbro)

The classic strategy game for children ages 7 and up offers hours of fun. Pit your ships against your enemy and win naval battles. No batteries are needed for this traditional version, which instead uses game pieces for play.

Pros:

  • Even kids who don’t like board games often enjoy battleship.
  • Provides hours of fun.

Cons:

  • Small game pieces can get lost easily.
  • Some parents complained that the newer game pieces feel flimsy and cheap compared to older sets.

backgammon set

24. Backgammon (Mainstreet Classics)

Backgammon is one of the oldest board games in the world, and a favorite worldwide. Children ages 8 and up can learn the rules, and players of all ages can enjoy hours of fun. Although suitable for only two players at a time like chess or checkers, backgammon is a classic family game that can be enjoyed by all. This particular set includes a solidly constructed leather case and accessories that will last for years.

Pros:

  • Set construction deemed good for the price.
  • A good starter set for a family that enjoys a serious game of backgammon.

Cons:

  • Some reported that the dividers fell out after only a few plays.
  • Handle broke on some sets.

Uno

25. Uno (Mattel)

Pros:

  • Many family members can play at the same time.
  • Young children can learn the rules quickly and play along with grownups.

Cons:

  • Some purchasers reported poor printing on their cards.
  • A few rules changes in the new game struck Uno aficionados as unnecessary or even confusing.

The Best 25 Family Electronic and Video Games

supermario

1. Super Mario 3D World – Nintendo Wii U (Nintendo)

Up to four players can join in the fun in this updated version of SuperMario. The 3D effects are fun, and the game offers new transformations and unique methods of motion for each player that makes it fun to swap roles with each new game. This version is for the Nintendo Wii console only.

Pros:

  • Adults and children loved the many options during game play – plenty of secrets to unlock, new levels to explore, and ways to have fun!
  • 3D effects were rated as good to excellent.
  • Adults and kids loved the game.

Cons:

  • Some people reported problems with the game; game errors after only a few plays.
  • If one player gets too far ahead of another, it can be hard to toggle back and forth between the players without interrupting the play.
  • Some people preferred older versions of the game.

mariokartds

2. Mario Kart DS (Nintendo)

Like the previous game, Mario Kart DS is a Nintendo game for the whole family. Up to four players can race on different tracks, and eight players can play at once with WiFi. New levels, courses and more enhance this updated game.

Pros:

  • Many people claim this is the best game available for DS.
  • Looks, feels and acts like a classic Mario game.

Cons:

  • Reports of bad game disks and slow response time from the manufacturer to replace them.
  • Some players used to Mario 64 claim this version is “boring.”

Rune Factory 4

3. Rune Factory 4 – Nintendo 3DS (Xseed Games)

If your family enjoys fantasy and science fiction,

Pros:

  • Good story line interjected with humor for light-hearted family fun.
  • Players can be male or female, and roles can be changed to suit the people playing.
  • Controls are easy to understand.

Cons:

  • Not quite a simple fairy tale game nor an adventure game – some people were disappointed that it didn’t quite blend both as seamlessly as they wanted.
  • Competition seemed too easy to many players.

Kingdom Hearts II PlayStation 2

4. Kingdom Hearts II – PlayStation 2 (Square Enix)

Kingdom Hearts brings together many of the Disney franchise worlds into one game. Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and Pirates of the Caribbean are among the many fantasy worlds in this game. More advanced battle system from previous games enhances the play and makes this a fun game for ages 10 and up.

Pros:

  • Great music and graphics make it a fun game.
  • Excellent story that was entertaining for all ages.

Cons:

  • End battles disappointed some players.
  • Some players found the ending frustrating.

legomarvelsuperheroes

5. Lego Marvel Super Heroes PC (Warner Brothers)

Players unlock characters from the Marvel universe of super heroes, with more than 100 to explore as the game progresses. Puzzles and challenges encourage cooperative play rather than cut-throat competition. A fun game for ages 10 and up.

Pros:

  • Excellent graphics and sound.
  • 100 characters make for many hours of entertaining fun.
  • Good story.

Cons:

  • Running the game live online used up a lot of computer memory.
  • Only works well with a fast internet connection.

 

justdance

6. Just Dance IV (Ubisoft)

Pros:

  • Play it as a game or use it for its workouts, you’ll still work up a sweat and have fun.
  • Many different music styles to choose from.
  • Good for kids, teens and adults.

Cons:

  • Controls may take some getting used to.
  • Interface can be tricky to use and unresponsive.

61PH3G5R9ML

7. Pokemon: Yellow Version – Special Pikachu Edition (Nintendo)

This

Pros:

  • A good new version of the addictive Pokemon-style games.
  • Includes new battle modes for extra excitement.

Cons:

  • Battles can become repetitive.
  • Experienced players may grow tired of the game.

famiylgamenight

8. Hasbro Family Game Night Fun Pack – Nintendo Wii (Electronic Arts)

The

Pro:

  • Great for the entire family; anyone can play.
  • Can play by yourself, pitting your wits against the computer, or with other players.
  • Recreated many family favorite board games.

Cons:

  • Not as interactive as some players thought it would be.
  • Some games differ slightly from the classic board games.

 

1001games

9. 1001 Touch Games – Nintendo DS (Maximum Games)

The Nintendo DS 1001 Touch Games features many of your favorite games such as solitaire, Suduko and others in one package. Play alone or with other family members; the system is flexible and lets you choose a game version that fits the number of players available. For Nintendo DS and suitable for all ages.

Pros:

  • Many fun games that are easy to learn.
  • Flexible enough so that a child can play by him or herself, or include friends, too.

Cons:

  • Some players reported trouble with the touchscreen technology.
  • Some adults felt the games weren’t challenging enough.

 

familygamenight

10. Family Game Night 4: The Game Show – Xbox 360 (Electronic Arts)

Family Game Night 4: The Game Show edition offers hours of entertainment with a variety of games in one package. Choose from Connect 4 Basketball, Yahtzee! Bowling, Scrabble Flash, Bop It Boptagon, and Sorry! Sliders. Games include variations that make them slightly different from the traditional board games.

Pros:

  • Offers many convenient games in one package
  • Available for the Xbox, Nintendo Wii and other game systems.
  • Inexpensive game.

Cons:

  • Two player option doesn’t allow for more players, so families have to pair up and take turns.

singit

11. Disney Sing It: Family Hits – Nintendo Wii (Disney/Nintendo)

Is your family hooked on classic Disney movies? Then you’ll love Disney Sing It: Family Hits. Players sing along to favorite Disney movie songs in a karaoke-style game. Up to 8 players can join in the fun and pass the microphone to sing along to the music of videos.

Pros:

  • Offers good family fun for all ages.
  • Includes singing lessons and tips.

Cons:

  • Strange selection of songs – very few from the better-known recent Disney movies.
  • Easy to grow tired of the songs after a while as the selection is limited.

carnivalgames

12. Carnival Games: Monkey See Monkey Do – Xbox 360 (2K)

Pretend you’re at the carnival with this family fun game for all ages! Play ring toss, pop darts and many other games bring a total of 20 fun party games into one package. The entire game package aims to recreate the fun of a boardwalk-style carnival for all ages.

Pros:

  • Great party game that kids of all ages can play.
  • Menu is easy to navigate.
  • Can be played in smaller spaces.

Cons:

  • Must be played in groups (one player can’t play it alone)
  • Too few games; people wished there were more games.

cabelabiggamehunter

13. Cabela’s Big Game Hunter Hunting Party with Gun – Xbox 360 (Activision)

Players recreate the look and feel of big game hunting with this

Pros:

  • Excellent graphics and natural sound quality.
  • Easy game for younger players.

Cons:

  • Players must take turns.
  • Animals were in predictable spots.

wipeout

14. WipeOut: The Game (Activision)

This game is based on the hit ABC television show. Up to four players can play at once, navigating obstacles and pitting their skills against each other. Game includes more than 50 obstacles to keep you on your toes, as well as classics from the television show.

Pros:

  • Fun game that captures the spirit of the television show.
  • Younger kids loved it.
  • Challenging enough to keep them entertained through multiple competitions.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t use the motion sensing capabilities of Wii – missed opportunity by the game designers.
  • Bugs in the graphic system leads to delays and glitches.

marioparty7

15. Mario Party 7 (Nintendo)

Mario Party 7 for the Gamecube offers fun even for those who are used to playing the various Mario games. Nine personas are included, with two additional ones to unlock. The game follows Mario on an around the world cruise, with each stop a new games to play. Multiple players can enjoy the game at once, and some sets include a bonus microphone.

Pros:

  • Fun for the whole family or for big groups and parties.
  • Many mini games included in the package make it hard to get bored or used to the overall game; offers new fun each time you play it.
  • Includes the interactive voice recognition of the last version.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for solo games; better when several people play at once.
  • Some games are very simple, but this could also be a plus if you have younger children who want to play along.

 

pikmin

16. Pikmin 2 (Nintendo)

Join Olimer, Pikmin and friends to find objects hidden on an island in

Pros:

  • Works very much like the original game, so if you liked that one, you will probably like this one.
  • Strategy/puzzle game that keeps you thinking and guessing.
  • New Wii controls improve the appearance and usability over previous version.

Cons:

  • Graphics were a bit dated looking.
  • Players complained there were too many dungeons; not as creative as they had hoped.

 

littlebitgplanet

17. LittleBigPlanet Karting – Playstation 3 (Sony)

Sackboy races through new screens and challenges in this fast-paced game for Sony Playstation 3. You can even create new tracks and share them with the gaming community.There are many options to unlock in this game, making it a truly unique experience.

Pros:

  • Parents said it was easy enough so that little ones could play along with grownups and not get frustrated.
  • Exciting, fast-paced game.
  • Fun story line and creative add-ons make it a game kids return to over and over again.

Cons:

  • Some players wanted more racing, less ‘car building’ or creation options.
  • Complaints of too many pop up ads within the game itself prompting you to buy other items.

 

DonkeyKongcountry

18. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Nintendo)

Fans of older versions of this game will love the new two-player feature that lets you and another family member play Donkey Kong Country Returns at the same time. The same scrolling screens everyone loved in earlier versions of the game are here, along with hidden items and puzzles to solve. Great for all ages, this version is for the Nintendo Wii.

Pros:

  • Game is challenging! Adults found some parts very tough, but kids enjoyed the challenges, too.
  • Controls are smooth, giving play a realistic feel.
  • Players wanted to play it again and again.

Cons:

  • Some of the challenges are more about memorizing the scenario than about skill.
  • Controls were a little more difficult to navigate in two player mode.

chuckecheese

19. Chuck E Cheese’s Party Games – Nintendo DS (Tommo)

Now you can bring the family fun of

Pros:

  • Inexpensive game.
  • Kids love the fact that it features many of the favorite games from the restaurant.
  • Games are simple and easy to learn.

Cons:

  • Older children may grow bored with the game.

guinessrecords

20. Guinness World Records: The Videogame – Nintendo Wii (Warner Brothers)

The entire family can have fun trying to recreate stunts from the

Pros:

  • Addictive family fun – people who played it said they couldn’t stop playing it!
  • Plenty of details and sound effects to recreate stunts safely.
  • Most challenges are quick and easy to learn.

Cons:

  • Instructions for each activity weren’t written clearly in the enclosed manual. Some were difficult to understand and learn.
  • Some people felt the challenges were too silly and weren’t fun.

aroundtheworldin50games

21. Around the World in 50 Games – Nintendo Wii (Zoo Games)

This is a simple collection of family-style games for all ages. The collection includes 50 games with varying levels for hours of play and enjoyment. While the games seem simple at first, they can be difficult to win.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive game to add to your collection.
  • Plenty of playing options with over 50 games and combinations.

Cons:

  • Some of the games were very simple.
  • Younger children may be confused or have difficulty following the games.

 

ultimateband

22. Ultimate Band – Nintendo Wii (Disney Interactive Studios)

Players can follow along with the scripted story lines or jam as they please with this band-style game for Nintendo Wii. Play bass, drums, guitar, keyboards or other instruments. Songs include current favorites as well as classic favorites from The Who and other bands.

Pros:

  • Family-style game for music lovers allows older kids to adults to play together.
  • Interactive game which can be customized to players’ abilities and tastes.
  • Good alternative to other band games with riskier lyrics.

Cons:

  • Better for older children and teens – some younger children had trouble keeping up.
  • Many players wished for additional songs or an option to add more songs.

 

mysimsskyhero

23. MySims Sky Heroes – Nintendo Wii (Electronic Arts)

Save the skies from the tyranny of Morcubus in this family-fun game that accommodates up to 10 players through WiFi. Aerial battles, challenging action, and an interesting adventure story made this a favorite for many children, teens and adults.

Pros:

  • You can race, fly freely or face different challenges.
  • Can customize your aircraft and play against more people using the online option.

Cons:

  • Children under age 6 have trouble playing it – may be too hard for very young kids.
  • Split screen multiplayer option confusing and hard to get to work right for some players.

areusmarterthana5thgrader

24. Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader: Back to School – Nintendo Wii (THQ)

Families who like the television show will love this game for the Nintendo Wii. Over 6,000 questions offer everyone in the family a challenge. New modes in the game include Pop Quiz, which offer additional questions to stump the grownups in the room.

Pros:

  • Family fun for all ages.
  • Tests knowledge rather than reflexes or skills.

Cons:

  • Only one player at a time can play – families can play together, but only one person can work the controls.
  • Some people complained the game marked an answer wrong when it was correct.

 

birthdaypartybash

25. Birthday Party Bash – Nintendo Wii (Solutions 2Go)

Whether you’re hosting a child’s birthday party or just want a game the whole family can play together,

Pros:

  • Great game for birthday parties or any time kids get together to play.
  • Familiar games as well as new mini games included.
  • Easy games suitable for younger children are included.

Very inexpensive.

Cons:

  • Older kids thought it was ‘dumb’ and wanted to play more action-focused games.

More Safety Solutions for Kids and Families:

 
 

The Best Digital Cameras for Kids with Camera Reviews, Top Accessories, Photography Books and Websites

Discovery Kids Digital Camera and Video

If your child is always grabbing your smartphone or digital camera and snapping photos, it may be time to consider buying your little one a personal digital camera. Today’s digital cameras have come down in price so far that you can buy a child a camera and not think twice about it. Digital cameras for kids cost just about as much as a toy or video game.

Table of Contents

In this guide, you’ll find:

Considerations When Purchasing a Digital Camera

There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for a digital camera for kids, however. Just as with purchasing toys for children, it’s important to purchase cameras without small parts or batteries that can be swallowed or removed. Digital cameras for kids must also be sturdy enough to take a tumble; even the most careful children will drop their cameras occasionally.

Use the following guidelines when assessing potential digital cameras for kids:

  • How old is your child?  Younger children need sturdy cameras with large, easily manipulated buttons for little fingers and hands. Older children can learn to use more features.
  • How interested is your child in photography?  Children ages 10 and younger may just want a camera to take occasional pictures. As children mature, however, they may show more than a passing interest in photography. If this is the case, consider purchasing a more sophisticated camera for older children and teens.
  • Don’t forget the accessories!  Kids want to see their pictures now, not wait for them through the mail or until you get to the photo printing kiosk at the store. Make sure you also research and purchase a good photo printer so that your budding Ansel Adams can print their pictures at home.

The 25 Best Cameras for Kids

The following list of 25 best digital cameras for kids was created based on actual parent reviews of digital cameras designed and sold as cameras for kids. Parents commented on several factors, including price, functionality, sturdiness, and usefulness. The results include cameras that withstood even the most carefree child’s rough handling and functions that put older model digital cameras to shame.

Fisher Price See Yourself Camera

Fisher Price See Yourself Camera in Purple

1. Fisher-Price Kid-Tough See Yourself Camera
The Fisher-Price Kid-Tough See Yourself Camera won parents’ acclaim. It’s build to survive rough handling, and comes in several colors include black, pink and blue. Build-in memory device stores over 1,000 pictures, and the 4x digital zoom is great for most photography sessions.

Pros:

  • Functions are kid-friendly.
  • Takes adequate pictures at most distances.
  • Very sturdy case hardly shows a scratch even after multiple falls.
  • Helps children learn the basics of photography.
  • Suitable for ages 3 and up, especially for younger children.

Cons:

  • Some parents remarked that the photos come out blurry unless subjects are perfectly still.
  • Doesn’t take good pictures in very low light.
  • View finder can be awkward.
VTech Kidizoom digital camera

VTech Kidizoom Camera

2. VTech Kidizoom Digital Camera
Like the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough See Yourself camera, the VTech Kidizoom Digital Camera is sized for tiny hands. It includes dual grips on the sides so that youngsters can hold the camera easily. Stores up to 1,000 pictures in its memory and even includes a video card. The camera includes games and build-in photo frames so that children can have fun adding colorful frames to their photos. Camera has 1.3 megapixels with 4x digital zoom.

Pros:

  • A games feature enables children to take pictures, and then play with their pictures. Games include picture puzzles and more.
  • Very fast shutter speed enables multiple pictures to be taken quickly.
  • View finder is meant to use with both eyes – great feature for children who cannot close one eye easily.
  • Video feature adds more creative expression for children.
    Intuitive and easy for children to learn to use.

Cons:

  • Screen is small.
  • Poor picture quality in low light.
  • Some parents reported buttons sticking and/or coming off of the camera after only a few months of use.
Fisher Price Kid Tough digital camera

Fisher-Price Kid Tough Digital Camera

3. Fisher-Price Kid Tough Digital Camera

Like other Kid Tough Digital Camera models from Fisher-Price, this version garnered good reviews from parents. The lower price point does, however, mean a few less features. Camera stores only 80 pictures at a time, but the slightly larger video screen makes it easier for older children to use this camera. Fisher-Price recommends this camera for older children (ages 7 and up) because some small parts may be a choking hazard.

Pros:

  • Lower price point than similar Fisher-Price cameras.
  • Larger screen makes it easier to see images.
  • Sturdy design.
  • Easy for children to learn to use.
  • Simple USB connection to a PC enables quick photo downloads.

Cons:

  • Some users reported that their Windows-enabled PCs, especially laptops, had trouble detecting the camera (possible software issue).
  • Picture quality deemed “just okay” by many users.
Playskool Showcam 2 in 1 Digital Camera and Projector

Playskool Showcam 2 in 1 Digital Camera and Projector

4. Playskool Showcam 2 in 1 Digital Camera and Projector

Talk about a camera that does it all! If your child is a budding graphic designer, the Playskool Showcam offers over 50 animations that can be added to images and projected for family fun. Kids love putting together home “movies” with the images they’ve taken. The camera stores up to 1,000 photos and connects via a USB cable. The cable is not included with the camera, but it can be purchased at any store selling computer equipment and accessories.

Pros:

  • Kids love the projector ability of this camera and it adds to their enjoyment.
  • Very durable.
  • Easy for children to use.
  • Large viewfinder helps kids see their pictures instantly
  • Easy connection to a computer to download images.

Cons:

  • Blurry, dark pictures indoors even in brightly lit rooms – best for outdoor photography.
VTech Kidizoom FFP Camera

VTech Kidizoom FFP Camera

5. VTech Kidizoom FFP Camera
Like the other VTech cameras for kids, the VTech Kidizoom FFP camera received high marks for its durability and ease of use. Features include 1.3 megapixels with 4x zoom and a 1.8 inch viewfinder.

Pros:

  • Also records video and voice.
  • Includes voice-changer effects.
  • Can edit photos right on the camera itself – no need to download them.
  • Automatic shutoff saves battery life.

Cons:

  • Photos can be blurry unless you’re perfectly still, which is tough for kids.
  • Some parents found their kids had trouble with the navigation buttons.
Crayola 5.1 MP Digital Camera

Crayola 5.1 MP Digital Camera

6. Crayola 5.1 MP Digital Camera
Unlike many of the other cameras for kids, the Crayola model includes a built-in flash, which provides better lighting for indoor shots. Large handle grips on either side of the camera make it easy to hold, and the sturdy design should prove hardy against typical tumbles and spills.

Pros:

  • 5.1 megapixels is higher than many other children’s cameras.
  • Easy for kids to hold.
  • Many parents report it takes better pictures than other kids’ cameras they’ve seen or used.

Cons:

  • You need to purchase additional memory in order for the camera to hold more than a handful of pictures.
  • Does not use a rechargeable battery; uses only disposable batteries.
    Battery life is short.
Crayola 7.1 MP Digital Camera, Purple

Crayola 7.1 MP Digital Camera, Purple

7. Crayola 7.1 MP Digital Camera in Purple
It’s not just the color that’s different on this digital camera. With more mega pixels, this camera’s pictures are even better than the other model. An extra SD card, however, must be purchased with the camera, and pictures must be downloaded to a computer via USB cord.

Pros:

  • Takes better quality pictures than most children’s digital cameras.
  • Battery life is good.
  • Good price/value.

Cons:

  • Must purchase optional SD card and extras.
  • Editing software not particularly useful.
Discovery Kids Digital Camera and Video

Discovery Kids Digital Camera and Video

8. Discovery Kids Digital Camera and Video
This very reasonably-priced digital camera and video recorder offers kids ages 3 and up the ability to take both still shots and videos.

Pros:

  • Parents call this an ‘indestructible’ camera – extremely sturdy.
  • Reasonably priced.

Cons:

  • Picture quality can be poor.
  • Battery charging is very slow.
Disney Princess Digital Video Recorder

Disney Princess Digital Video Recorder

9. Disney Princess Digital Video Recorder
For those princesses in your life, the Disney Princess Digital Video Recorder takes both still and video images with the click of a button. Although the boys will probably disdain the fairy-tale princesses adoring the case, girls will love it.

Pros:

  • Great price for the value provided.
  • Takes both still and video pictures.

Cons:

  • Must purchase memory card separately.
  • Batteries not included.
Discovery Kids Digital Pink & Purple Camera with Video with Full Color LCD Display

Discovery Kids Digital Pink & Purple Camera with Video with Full Color LCD Display

10. Discovery Kids Digital Pink & Purple Camera with Video with Full Color LCD Display
With 16 MB of internal storage memory, this camera for kids is packed with enough memory to store quite a lot of pictures. Pictures can be viewed on the camera itself or on a PC.

Pros:

  • Includes many extras other cameras don’t include such as USB cable and additional memory.
  • Very sturdy design.
  • Includes molded hand-grips to make it easy for kids to hold.

Cons:

  • Picture quality sometimes cited as poor.
  • Requires disposable batteries (not included)
Nikon COOLPIX S31 10.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 720p HD Video (White)

Nikon COOLPIX S31 10.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 720p HD Video (White)

11. Nikon COOLPIX S31 10.1 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 720p HD Video (White)
While this camera isn’t technically a children’s camera, it often comes up as a go-to choice for parents with older children or teens looking for a good introductory video camera. The waterproof feature makes it useful in all types of outdoor settings. Suitable for ages 13 and up.

Pros:

  • Waterproof for many outdoor and even underwater pictures.
  • Good picture quality, even underwater!
  • Inexpensive enough that parents don’t mind buying it as a ‘first real camera’ for children.

Cons:

  • Shutter speed is slow.
  • Underwater pictures can look grainy.
  • Water seal can malfunction on some models.
Foxnovo 123S 2.0-inch Touch Screen 10M Waterproof Sports Digital Camera DV Camcorder with 32GB Micro SD/TF Card

Foxnovo 123S 2.0-inch Touch Screen 10M Waterproof Sports Digital Camera DV Camcorder with 32GB Micro SD/TF Card

12. Foxnovo 123S 2.0-inch Touch Screen 10M Waterproof Sports Digital Camera DV Camcorder with 32GB Micro SD/TF Card
Like the previous camera, this one is not marketed to kids per se, but is often cited by parents as a good “first real camera” choice when purchasing cameras for children ages 10 and up. Sturdy, well made waterproof case keeps the camera secure while taking pictures on land or sea. Can be used as a camcorder or still camera.

Pros:

  • Comes with 32 GB micro card, which adds great value to the product.
  • Kids can attach it to their bike helmets or other areas to take fun action shots.

Cons:

  • Camera is smaller than average, so probably not good for very young children.
  • Not as sturdy when dropped as other cameras.
Sakar Spider-Man Digital Camera Keychain

Sakar Spider-Man Digital Camera Keychain

13. Sakar Spider-Man Digital Camera Keychain
For the child who has everything…or the child obsessed with Spider-Man…it’s a keychain camera. Small, portable, and decorated with Spider Man themes, it actually takes adequate pictures that kids love.

Pros:

  • Small and lightweight.
  • Takes up to 200 photos.
  • Photo picture adequate for such a small camera.

Cons:

  • Only good for older children.
  • Must connect to PC via USB cable (not included) to download pictures.
Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera for Girls

Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera for Girls

14. Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera for Girls
Yes, the name is the same as other

Pros:

  • Little girls love the girly-pink color and princess-style features.
  • Preschoolers should have no trouble learning to use this camera.
  • Build in flash.
  • Optional SD slot can increase memory storage capacity.

Cons:

  • Can hold only 50 pictures right out of the box.
  • Pictures can be blurry.
  • LCD said to be grainy.
Liquid Image Explorer Series 5.0MP Underwater Digital Camera Mask

Liquid Image Explorer Series 5.0MP Underwater Digital Camera Mask

15. Liquid Image Explorer Series 5.0MP Underwater Digital Camera Mask
For the child who has everything or the budding oceanographer, this isn’t just a camera – it’s an underwater mask with built-in camera. And surprisingly, it takes decent pictures and better videos.

Pros:

  • Frees up your hands so you can swim and enjoy the scenery while you take pictures.
  • Automatic shut off to save batteries.
  • Video and still images capacities.

Cons:

  • Learning curve can be steep to use the features.
  • Automatic shut off can be “too fast” for some people.
  • Some people reported it leaked water, and support for problems was poor.
VTech Kidizoom Kids Digital Camera Red Blue Flames 2x Zoom

VTech Kidizoom Kids Digital Camera Red Blue Flames 2x Zoom

16. VTech Kidizoom Kids Digital Camera Red Blue Flames 2x Zoom
VTech once again impressed parents with this children’s digital camera. Durable, fun and realistic using, many reported it took better quality pictures than expected.

Pros:

  • Good quality pictures for a children’s camera.
  • Very durable design.
  • Reasonably priced.

Cons:

  • Lacks child-friendly handles.
  • Does not have a flash.
Bell+Howell DC5-BL 5MP Digital Camera with 1.8-Inch LCD (Blue)

Bell+Howell DC5-BL 5MP Digital Camera with 1.8-Inch LCD (Blue)

17. Bell+Howell DC5-BL 5MP Digital Camera with 1.8-Inch LCD (Blue)
Although marketed for adults, the super low price point makes this an attractive “real” camera for children and teens who want to take the best quality pictures they can. Direct upload to YouTube enables teens to share videos and still photos with their friends easily and quickly.

Pros:

  • Clear, sharp pictures.
  • School-age children can handle grown up camera functions with ease on this model.
  • Small, compact camera.

Cons:

  • Problems with battery compartment door coming open during use.
  • Micro SD card difficult to insert and remove.
Hello Kitty Digital Camera Kit #94009

Hello Kitty Digital Camera Kit #94009

18. Hello Kitty Digital Camera Kit #94009
This under $20 model camera offers reasonable photos for the price. It’s designed for youngsters but without many of the kid-friendly features the other brands offer. If you’re looking for a digital camera at the cost of a disposable camera, the Hello Kitty model may be right for you.

Pros:

  • Very inexpensive.
  • Includes changeable faces which kids like to use.
  • Takes reasonable quality pictures for the camera specifications.

Cons:

  • Some users report problems connecting camera to their computers.
  • Software reported difficult to use.

 

Kodak Easyshare C195 Digital Camera (Silver)

Kodak Easyshare C195 Digital Camera (Silver)

19. Kodak Easyshare C195 Digital Camera (Silver)
Like several other cameras, this one is marked to adults, but suitable for older children and teens. The Kodak Easyshare receives good marks for picture quality and value for the money.

Pros:

  • Pictures clear and sharp.
  • Better zoom quality than many other digital cameras.

Cons:

  • Good for teens but not younger children.
  • Buttons very small.
  • Typical AA batteries do not last long.
  • Kodak no longer offers website support to upload photos – may need to find alternative methods of uploading photos to your computer.
Nerf 2.1MP Digital Camera With 1.5" TFT Preview Screen, 25056

Nerf 2.1MP Digital Camera With 1.5″ TFT Preview Screen, 25056

20. Nerf 2.1MP Digital Camera With 1.5″ TFT Preview Screen, 25056
The Nerf name seems synonymous with durability, and this camera doesn’t disappoint. Its sturdy design and sport look appeals to boys looking for a good digital camera. Rubberized design makes it both easy to hold and extremely durable.

Pros:

  • Strong, sturdy model good for kids who are rough with their toys.
  • Easy to use.

Cons:

  • Hard to turn on.
  • Difficulty downloading pictures.
Nickelodeon SpongeBob Digital Camera with 1.4-Inch LCD Screen - Yellow (27062)

Nickelodeon SpongeBob Digital Camera with 1.4-Inch LCD Screen – Yellow (27062)

21. Nickelodeon SpongeBob Digital Camera with 1.4-Inch LCD Screen – Yellow (27062)
Fans of SpongeBob will love this yellow digital camera. It includes editing software and holds up to 120 pictures.

Pros:

  • Durable.
  • Easy for young children to use.

Cons:

  • Seems to go through batteries very quickly, and doesn’t offer a rechargeable battery option.
  • Users report problems with camera refusing to turn on again (may be battery issue).
Marvel Avengers Digital Camera

Marvel Avengers Digital Camera

22. Marvel Avengers Digital Camera

Spider-Man, Avengers…for the kid who has to have his favorite characters on the camera, this is a good choice. It’s a fairly standard children’s digital camera holding up to 100 images.
Pros:

  • No additional memory cards needed – holds a reasonable amount for the price.
  • Connects to any computer using standard USB port.

Cons:

  • Not as sturdy as other digital cameras.
  • Buttons can be small for younger children to use.
LEGO 8MP Digital Camera

LEGO 8MP Digital Camera

23. LEGO 8MP Digital Camera
The

Pros:

  • Good images for a children’s camera.
  • Rechargeable battery via USB port.
  • Includes flash.

Cons:

  • Holds only 80 pictures without an option to expand memory.
  • Even with rechargeable battery, battery life is short.
  • Complaints about poor customer support.
Disney Mickey Mouse 2.1MP Digital Camera (81016)

Disney Mickey Mouse 2.1MP Digital Camera (81016)

24. Disney Mickey Mouse 2.1MP Digital Camera (81016)

This 2.1 megapixel camera offers children a fun, simply to use camera for every day picture taking. A good starter camera for young children.

Pros:

  • Durable.
  • Simple to use.
  • Includes wrist strap, USB cable, software and many extras.

Cons:

  • Only holds 28 pictures at a time.
  • Higher than normal number of complaints about damaged units inside the packaging.
Cobra Digital Squeezable Kids Camera, Blue DC150-BL

Cobra Digital Squeezable Kids Camera, Blue DC150-BL

25. Cobra Digital Squeezable Kids Camera, Blue DC150-BL
The Cobra Digital camera includes a digital camera, web camera and video camera in one neat package. The soft, squeezable rubber shell holds up to a lot of abuse, and makes this a good first camera for kids.

Pros:

  • Excellent price for the value.
  • Durable and unique soft rubber shell for the camera protects it and makes it easy for kids to hold.

Cons:

  • Buttons and modes can be confusing for children to learn.
  • Can only take pictures from about two to four feet away from the subject.

Accessories for Your Child’s Digital Camera
Many of the digital cameras listed include basic accessories, such as a wrist strap, but most benefit from some simple accessories. Read the description included with the camera carefully and note what additional accessories you might need.

Triple Pack 2GB MaxRam SD Memory Card

Triple Pack 2GB MaxRam SD Memory Card

Memory Cards

  • Transcend 2 GB SD Flash Memory Card (TS2GSDC): The Transcend 2 GB flash memory card offers an inexpensive workhorse of a card that’s great to use with kids’ digital cameras. It can be a little slow, but offers all the features of pricier memory cards at a value price.
  • 2 GB SD Memory Card for Fisher Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera digital camera/camcorder is pre-formatted for the Kid-Tough line of Fisher Price video and digital cameras. It offers convenience at an affordable price.
  • Triple Pack 2GB MaxRam SD Memory Card offers a multipack of memory cards compatible with Vtech Kids Digital Cameras and many other popular models.

USB Cables

Fisher-Price USB Cable

Fisher-Price USB Cable

  • dCables Fisher-Price Kid-Tough USB CableUSB Computer Cord for Kid-Tough offers a replacement or additional USB cable compatible with Fisher-Price Kid Tough cameras.
  • BIRUGEAR USB Sync Cable Cord for VTech V Tech Kidi Zoom Digital Camera with Cable Tie connects your child’s Vtech camera to the computer easily and affordably through a USB cable.

duragadget padded case

Cases

  • VTech Kidizoom Digital Camera Case – Pink: Buying a VTech Kidizoom camera for that special little girl? Then make sure she has a fashionable matching pink camera case to go with it!
  • DURAGADGET Padded Camera Bag / Case With Shoulder Strap & Zip Pockets For Children’s VTech Kidizoom Cameras (Including Plus, Twist & Other Models) offers kids a camera bag that looks, feels and performs just like an adult’s camera bag. Protects, stores and transports their cameras in style.
Canon SELPHY CP910 Black Portable Wireless Compact Photo Color Printer

Canon SELPHY CP910 Black Portable Wireless Compact Photo Color Printer

Digital Printers

Photo printers aren’t just for the kids in the family. The following photo printers offer great value, crisp color and great images.

  • Canon SELPHY CP910 Black Portable Wireless Compact Photo Color Printer: Hook up a camera or use a digital device like an iPad to print each photo on the Canon Selphy. Borderless printing creates professional-looking images right at home.
  • Epson Stylus C88+ Color Inkjet Printer (C11C617121): Epson’s photo printer offers speedy printing with great resolution, borderless images, and the most popular image sizes. This is a great photo printer for both children and adults.
Zazoo Photo Clock for Toddlers and Kids of All Ages, Green/Owls

Zazoo Photo Clock for Toddlers and Kids of All Ages, Green/Owls

Digital Pictures Frames

American Girl Crafts Memory Book, Friends

American Girl Crafts Memory Book, Friends

Traditional Photo Albums

  • Enesco Big Brother 7″ Photo Album: Soft cover with handles to make it easy for younger children to carry and share their favorite photos. Great photo album for a child with a new baby brother or sister.
  • Disney Mickey and Gang “Sweet Memories” Photo Album: These traditional photo albums let your child display his original pictures on 10 white pages with clear cling-film covers.
  • American Girl Crafts Memory Book, Friends: The American Girl Crafts Memory Book transforms your child’s photos into an original scrapbook. Includes stickers, templates and scrapbooking ideas for hours of fun arranging photos and telling stories to share with family and friends.

Books for Kids Interested in Photography

  • Using Digital Images (Super Smart Information Strategies) by Suzy Rabbat presents information on digital photography for ages 9 and up.
  • Photography for Kids! A Fun Guide to Digital Photography (English and English Edition) Hardcover – May 11, 2011 by Michael Ebert.
  • Cameras for Kids by John Crippen: This book both informs and inspires kids to take better photos and transform their photos into simple crafts. Most of the craft supplies can be purchased inexpensively at the dollar store or made from recycled materials.
woman and child with digital camera

Image by Tim Samoff

Websites for the Budding Photographer

Inspire your budding photographer by sharing the following resources. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to take more pictures, too!

  • Click It Up a Notch offers free photography tips for all ages, but their article on photography techniques and crafts for kids is sure to spark your child’s creativity.
  • Teaching Kids Photography offers lesson plans, tips, techniques and more to teach children all about digital photography. It’s a great resource that includes tons of information to help your child get the most out of his new digital camera.
  • Teach a Child Photography is an article that shares great tips, tricks and links to more information to help your child enjoy his digital photography hobby.
  • Heidi Jensen is a photographer who teaches kids ages 8 to 11 how to take great photographs.
  • The Artful Parent features a good article on teaching kids the art of photography:
  • Teach Kids How offers advice for teaching kids digital photography skills at different ages.
  • This free information sheet offers advice to teach children how to use digital cameras. It focused on the most common problems kids face when taking pictures, and how to help them overcome those problems to take better images.
  • Teachers and home schooling parents can find ideas for incorporating digital photography into daily lessons, especially for children ages 7 to 10, in this informative article from Education World.
  • Help your kids learn basic photography vocabulary with YouLearn.
  • MetroParent offers advice for teaching children the basics of photography.

More Safety Solutions for Kids and Families:

 
 

The Best Laptops for Kids: Reviews & Prices for the Top (& Safest) Laptop Options for the Holidays & Beyond

top laptops for kids in 2014

Choosing the best laptops for kids is rather like choosing the best cars for young drivers. “Best” can be a relative term. Do you mean the laptop that can handle the colorful streaming graphics of the latest web-based gaming application, or a serious student laptop that’s lightweight yet durable enough to transport to school and back for a year or two?

As you can see, there are several considerations for parents choosing the best laptops for their children. Before shopping for a laptop, there are several key questions to consider.

  • How old is your child? Younger children have smaller hands, and need a smaller laptop that’s scaled to their size. They can do with a smaller screen, for example, while an older child may feel constrained by a tiny 11-13 inch laptop screen. Younger children also place fewer demands on a laptop, probably using it for light schoolwork and research, simple games, and recreation. But they also need a lightweight yet durable laptop that can take a child’s typical abuse. Older children and teens can carry a slightly larger laptop, and will probably want to play more sophisticated games, run more complex software, and do more in general with their laptop. Shop for a laptop based on both your child’s age and the uses to which he or she will put it.
  • What will your child do with the laptop? Talk to your child and find out what he or she plans to do with their laptop. Do they want a computer just to keep in touch with their friends via email, chat and instant messaging, or do they want to do schoolwork and play games on their laptop? If they plan to run gaming software on their laptops, what kind of software – the stand-alone kind that they buy at the store and load onto the hard drive, or games they need to access over the internet?
  • Does your child’s school or teacher recommend a particular type of laptop? Some schools provide general requirements for laptop computers to help parents choose one that’s compatible with educator demands. If your child uses a computer at school, it’s helpful to know what type of computer the school suggests they own. You can also purchase a more robust model, but probably shouldn’t buy one that’s less capable than the one recommended by the school.

Shopping for Laptops: What Parents Need to Know

Unless you’re an IT expert or just love computers, shopping for a laptop can be confusing. These all-in-one units have come a long way from the heft computers business people lugged into work each day. Today’s laptops are sleek, streamlined computers with as much computing power as the best desktops.

Laptop Size

Two measurements parents need to keep in mind are the weight of the laptop and the size. Laptop size refers to the screen size, measured diagonally across the screen. Younger children need a lightweight laptop and can use one with a smaller screen size; typically, this measures 11 to 13 inches. Older children can handle slightly heavier laptops and larger screen sizes.

Processor

The processor on the laptop carries out the basic instructions of the programs running on it. Kids’ laptops can use a typical Core i3 processor or another recent processor. Most programs that your children run on their laptops won’t create big demands on the processor, so upgrading the processor isn’t a wise use of money. Unless your child wants to do heavy video editing or graphic design, the typical processor that comes with the laptop should be fine.

Memory (Storage)

It’s amazing how much memory or storage space is packed into laptops these days. A typical laptop suitable for a child should come with 320 – 500 GB of storage, which is more than adequate for most kids. If additional storage is needed, you can purchase a portable hard drive at any office supply store to house data or files that are infrequently used. These devices don’t cost a lot and snap into the laptop on the USB port.

Durability of Your Child’s Laptop

You know that your kids can be hard on their toys, bikes and clothes. Well, they can be hard on laptops, too, stuffing the into backpacks, dumping them out onto tables at the library, and generally treating them like tools instead of computers. Look for durable laptops that feel sturdy to the touch. The less expensive kids’ laptops aren’t as durable as ones intended for school use – those machines are built a bit tougher, since manufacturers know multiple students will use them hard during the day. There’s no reliable way to test durability, so use your best judgment by feel.

Price

Most laptops for kids will cost between $199 and $600, with a few costing more. The lower ticket laptops may be less durable or constructed for simple, tightly defined uses. While you shouldn’t spend a fortune on your child’s laptop, you will get what you pay for, especially in the area of durability, so expect to spend in the middle of the range and look for sales or bargains to save some money on your purchase.

The Top Laptops for Kids in 2014

The following laptops met the criteria for price, durability, monitor size, weight and overall fit for children and teens. Older teens may graduate to an adult-type laptop, especially if they are running sophisticated software such as graphic design software, video editing software or similar software that requires more memory and processor power than the average student computer. Kids and teens who are heavily into gaming may also need a more robust, power-packed processor, but there are some recommendations included here for kids who love to game.

P_500

ASUS Transformer Book

The ASUS Transformer Book series offers parents an ideal hybrid laptop and tablet at an affordable price. With the computing power of a typical desktop unit, it’s a great computer for older children eager to use their computers for play and serious school work.

Pros:

  • Compatible with Windows 8.1 and beyond programs.
  • Lightweight, very portable.
  • Over 10 hours of battery life.
  • Both keyboard and trackpad included.
  • Comes with both Microsoft Home Office and Student Software
  • Excellent value for the money (About $399 retail)

Cons:

  • Keyboard is smaller than average, but that might be fine for younger children with smaller hands.
  • Takes a while to charge.

351111-dell-chromebook-11

Dell Chromebook 11 (with 11” screen)

Slim, stylish, portable, functional and lightweight, the Dell Chromebook offers a great laptop for kids. Kids who spend a lot of time online, surfing the web, checking email or visiting social media sites will love the Chrome-type browser on this model. It’s easy to use and at a great price.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Great connectivity to the internet
  • Good for older children and serious students
  • Sturdy construction

Cons:

  • Cannot run most games or Windows software so NOT for casual use!

lenovo ideapad review

Lenovo Idea Pad N581

The price has dropped recently on the Lenovo Idea Pad N581, which is great news for parents. The Idea Pad offers a workhorse type of laptop that’s suitable for most children and teens. The touchscreen pad offers a simple way to get where you want to go on this computer, and it comes with a decent amount of memory and processor speed.

Pros:

  • Very sturdy, durable design
  • Good memory, processor and ports
  • Windows compatible
  • Decent sound system for casual gaming

Cons:

  • Heavier than most laptops recommended for kids, weighing in at a little over 5 lbs.
  • Slightly more expensive than most laptops for kids.

Intel

2go Convertible NL4 Classmate PC

Similar to an old-fashioned netbook, the Convertible NL4 Classmate is a good choice for elementary and middle school students. It fits neatly in a backpack, and offers a decent amount of computing power for a reasonable amount of money.

Pros:

  • Very sturdy design intended for younger users
  • Compatible with many school systems and used by many schools
  • Comes with many educational tools and software

Cons:

  • Poor battery life
  • Keyboard can be sticky

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Gateway NE72206u

Gateway is still around, although you don’t hear much about the cow-colored boxes anymore. This particular laptop is suitable for older kids and teens. It has a larger screen than other laptops typically recommended for kids, and at 17 inches, offers a big screen for teens looking for a good gaming experience or graphic design use. The Gateway NE72206u offers a lot of computer for the money.

Pros:

  • Large screen
  • Good memory, processor and ports to add accessories
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • No touch screen, so not compatible with Windows 8 or newer.

 

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HP Pavilion 11 2-in-1

Looking for a laptop that can double as a tablet? Look no further than the HP Pavilion 11. It’s a laptop when connected to the attached keyboard, or separate it and use the touch screen like a tablet. The 11 inch screen is adequate for most kids’ needs, and at a little over 3 pounds, it’s a lightweight computer that’s highly portable.

Pros:

  • Good memory for the price
  • Convertible 2 in 1 appeals to many kids

Cons:

  • Low battery life, typically under 5 hours
  • Not as sturdy as other recommended models for kids

Laptops for Kids Who Love Gaming

Is your child happiest when he’s online gaming with his buddies, or finding the latest game to buy at the store? If so, then you’ll want to buy a laptop that can do double duty as both a functional school and homework tool and as a gaming station for playtime.
Gaming laptops tend to be pricier than functional-school-only types. Games require more memory, and many gamers prefer more robust speakers and audio chips for the ultimate in realism, as well as better optical cards and screens to better enjoy the gaming experience. Look for laptops with better optical cards and an extremely strong processor. Both of these do cost more.

If you’re not as concerned with price as you are with finding a great laptop your older child or teen will love, then check out these laptops that are recommended for serious gaming.

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Acer Aspire V3-571G

Acer Aspire laptops are generally a good line of laptops for kids, and the Acer Aspire V3-571G is no different. It offers an Intel Core i5 processor, with a decent amount of RAM to run games. It can easily accommodate additional RAM for more gaming power.

Pros:

  • One of the most affordable laptops that can also handle games
  • Decent graphics (though not great)
  • Good for both play and school

Cons:

  • Poor battery life – lasts only about 5 hours
  • Memory good for only a few games (but you can easily add more)

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Toshiba Satellite C855D-S5320

This particular Toshiba model was actually built to be an affordable gaming laptop, and it’s made from the inside out with gamers in mind. The AMD dual-core processor, memory and other features can run some good games. It also comes with an AMD Radeon HD graphics care and Windows 8, making it also suitable for school work.

Pros:

  • Bright screen with good clarity
  • A lot of computing power packed into one laptop

Cons:

  • Pricier than other models
  • Only runs Windows 8 and above, so older software you may have at home won’t be compatible

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Samsung Series 3 Gamer NP350V5C-T01US

The Samsung Series 3 Gamer, like the Toshiba, was built for gaming. This one includes an Intel i7 Processor, making it a bit faster for gaming. It also comes with the AMD Radeon HD Graphics Card, another plus for gaming. It’s often recommended for online gaming such as World of Warcraft, and it can also handle other HD games. Other Samsung laptops are also good values.

Pros:

  • Good value for the money
  • Nice Intel i7 Processor
  • Good memory

Cons:

  • More expensive than most laptops for kids (over $600 in most stores)
  • Average battery life

Shopping for Kids’ Laptops

Because durability is a big consideration when shopping for kids’ laptops, it’s a good idea to at least test them out in person at a retail store. Check the case, the hinges, and the keyboards; how do they feel?

CNET, a website dedicated to all things technology, recommends the “less is more” philosophy when purchasing a laptop. It’s sound advice, especially when buying laptops for kids. It’s tempting to go for the most computing power when shopping for a laptop, but technology changes so rapidly that investing in more than you need isn’t a good idea. Purchase just what your child needs for school, play or both, and expect to upgrade in a year or two when the newest advanced in technology make the current laptop obsolete or incompatible with the latest innovations.

Design and Weight

Design considerations are also paramount when choosing laptops for kids. Like durability, weight and overall ease of use are important. Pick up the laptop; have your child pick it up. Is it lightweight enough that kids can carry it easily to school, a friend’s house or the library to do homework? If it’s heavy, they won’t want to carry it or use it much.

Laptop Cases
Lastly, remember that cases may be sold separately for laptops. Look for durable cases that wipe clean of fingerprints and spills. Make sure that the laptop case you buy fits the laptop. Like laptops, cases are measured by the laptop’s screen size, so a case that’s marketed for a 17 inch laptop will fit one with a 17 inch screen, measured on the diagonal.
Software
Most laptops come preloaded with at least the basic software. Some come with Microsoft Home or Student versions. Check before purchasing whether these are trial versions or fully licensed versions that come with the purchase price. If it’s a trial version, you’ll end up shelling out more money to unlock the full version when the trial expires.
Internet browsers usually come pre-installed, and other trial software may come with your computer. Remember that you don’t need to buy all of the software that’s offered on trial. You can always remove it later.

A good virus protection program may come with your laptop, but you may want to explore additional virus protection software, especially if your child surfs the net frequently. Make sure to remind your child to run their virus protection software or set up an automatic scan to protect your investment.

Online Shopping

Once you’ve seen various laptop models in person, you can do cost-comparisons and shop online. Make sure you write down the exact name of the laptop, including all the letters and numbers after the brand and model. The letters and numbers refer to the exact version of the laptop, and there can be more than a little variation between two that are only off by a few digits or letters. Amazon and other online retail outlets offer good bargains, reasonable shipping, and generous return policies if you buy the wrong one.
Shopping for a kid’s laptop is a little different than shopping for one for an adult, but with a little preparation, time and patience, you can find an affordable model that your child will love.

More Safety Solutions for Kids and Families:

 
 

The Best Tablets for Kids: Reviews & Prices for the Top (& Safest) Tablet Options for the Holidays & Beyond

the top tablets for kids in 2014

Source: Flickr, Intel Free Press

Kids and tablets go together like peanut butter and jelly. As any parent who has ever found mysterious Muppet-infused apps on their software can attest, children naturally and intuitively use tablet technology. Tablets can be a great learning device for children of all ages.

But tablets don’t have to be solely used for learning. Long car trips can be made much more fun by a movie playing on a tablet. Kids can make their own movies, take photos and more on most of the tablets listed here. They’re great tools for both learning and play, and some can even bridge the distance between home and school by using Microsoft-compatible software such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

Choosing the Best Tablets for Kids

Tablets made especially for kids come with certain features that differentiate them from the typical tablets intended for adults. As you’re shopping for tablets for your children, consider the following.

Tablet Size

Tablets meant for children tend to be slightly smaller than typical tablets. Look for tablets with five to seven-inch screens rather than adult-sized nine inch screens.

Durability of the Tablet

Children are rough on their toys, and they’re rough on tablets, too. Tablets intended for kids are often build with harder cases and sturdier shells than adult tablets. Many also have plastic “bumpers” or thick grips to make them easier for children to hold. These grips or bumpers add a little to the width, but can cushion against jolts as well as provide superior hand-holds for tiny hands.

Parental Controls

The great thing about kids’ tablets is that parental controls are built into the tablet, and are usually easy for parents to set. These controls prevent children from accidentally surfing into websites parents don’t want them to visit. Because tablet makers know that parents often find setting controls confusing, they’ve made most children’s tablets with intuitive controls that can’t be undone by most children.

Tablet Operating Systems

Kids’ tablets don’t need the same functionality or robust operating systems as their parents’ tablets. Common operating systems on children’s tablets are made by LeapFrog, Vtech, and Android. These operating systems are often touted as educator-created or approved.

Apps for Your Kid’s Tablet

Instead of cluttering up your tablet with apps for your children, a child’s tablet comes pre-loaded with plenty of apps for entertainment and education. Language instruction, mathematics support, even simple reading tools and ebooks are all found on kids’ tablets. And whatever your child’s tablet doesn’t come with, you can easily add later. Most offer plenty of storage for adding new apps.

Screen Resolution

Here’s where you may notice the biggest difference between your child’s tablet and your own. Screen resolution on children’s tablets may be lower than on adult-sized tablets, leading to some blurry images. Younger children probably won’t mind this as much as older kids.

The Top Tablets for Kids in 2014

The following tablets are often cited by consumer organizations, educational groups and parents as the best tablets for kids. Each tablet differs slightly, so review the pros and cons, and choose on that best fits the needs of your child.

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LeapFrog: LeapPad2 and the LeapPad Ultra

LeapFrog really does go the extra mile to make their devices kid-friendly, and both the LeapPad 2 and the LeapPad Ultra come loaded with features to please even the fussiest child. LeapFrog is a recognized leader in children’s educational toys, and both of these models are packed with plenty of features both parents and kids will love.

LeapPad2: Pros

  • Inexpensive (often under $90)
  • Includes 9 apps
  • Can be used for music, games, video recording and more
  • Work with 800+ LeapFrog educational games

Cons:

  • Five inch screen makes it a little smaller than others
  • Although marketed for ages 3 to 9, may be better suited for older kids

LeapPad Ultra: Pros

  • The top-ranked LeapPad tablet
  • 7 inch screen
  • Large grips on the sides make it easier to hold
  • Very sturdy design
  • Built-in WiFI, camera, and other tools

Cons:

  • More expensive than most kids’ tablets ($150 and up)

P158800IT3SBlueFront_edited_large

VTech InnoTab 3S

The tag line for this product is “Learn, create, connect” and kids can do this and more with this packed tablet from VTech. The VTech InnoTab features a kid-safe internet connection that enables your youngster to share photos, chat and messages with friends. “Learning Lodge” offers additional software parents can purchase separately.

Pros:

  • Good parental controls for safe website use and chat
  • Up to 9 hours of battery life
  • Can be used to take pictures, movies
  • 20 apps included with purchases
  • Additional apps can be downloaded and purchased separately

Cons:

  • Not as durable as other models, although protective skins and cases can be purchased separately
  • May need to add custom memory card to expand memory enough to make videos and play more advanced games.

Samsung-Galaxy-Tab-3-7.0

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 is really targeted to the younger child, with large, colorful cartoon-like characters and large grips to make it easier to hold. Parental controls include safe web surfing but also time management controls so that parents can set the limits on their children’s computing time. The design of the interface features ‘card’ style graphics, like character cards, which are intended to make use easier for children.

Pros:

  • Time management controls are a nice added bonus for parents concerned about internet usage
  • Good for young kids
  • Friendly interface

Cons:

  • Card-interface may seem like a step back for kids used to using their parent’s or older sibling’s tablets
  • Battery life deemed ‘acceptable’ by parents, but not great
  • Can be slow

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Chromo’s Noria Jr. 8 GB 7” Tablet

The Nora Jr. offers a good tablet for older children ready to start using their computers for school work as well as play. It even supports Microsoft Office applications such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel, offering older children and teens a good crossover device if they don’t want a full-fledged laptop. Free apps from the Google Playstore are included with the device.

Pros:

  • Very clear, crisp screen
  • Excellent audio
  • Can run sophisticated software many other kids’ tablets can’t

Cons:

  • Parents complain it takes forever to charge the battery
  • Problems noted with the earlier models – some would not restart

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Kurio Kids Tablet with Android 4.0, 7″, 4GB

The Kurios Kids line of tablets won the 2013 “Hot Toys” award, and the 2014 lines also proves to be a good Android-type tablet for kids. Sophisticated parental controls garner high praise from parents who like the additional level of control over their children’s computer use.

Pros:

  • Safe web surfing controls
  • Time management controls include not just time limits, but hours when kids can use the device
  • Set up of the device was easy for parents to use
  • Sturdy design and construction

Cons:

  • Expensive ($199)
  • Limited free apps for kids
  • Poor quality camera

OP0118-13_S

Oregon Scientific Meep X2

Oregon Scientific may not be a household name like Android, Google or Chrome, but it’s worth checking out when you’re shopping for a child’s tablet. The Meep is designed for children ages six and above and features a very durable design, as well as good choices for downloadable games and apps. The Meep comes pre-loaded with many games, ebooks and more so that parents don’t have to fuss too much with the setup of the device.

Pros:

  • Sturdy design keeps it running despite the occasional mishap
  • Android version 4.2
  • Touch screen is very responsive
  • Can expand memory from initial 4 GB to 32 GB

Cons:

  • Don’t confuse sturdy design with unbreakable – screen can be broken
  • Parents say that older children feel it’s too “childish”, so much be good for younger kids

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Dragon Touch 7” Google Android Tablet

It’s astonishing when you look at the screen resolution on this tablet and realize that at 1024 x 600, it’s almost as good as desktop screens were a decade ago. The 7” Dragon Touch offers crisp graphics, thousands of both useful and fun apps on the Google Play store, and good initial storage capacity that can be expanded via the memory card slot to 32 GB.

Pros:

  • Good tablet for photos and videos
  • Parental controls enable kids to download free games, but require password for paid games
  • Easy to set up and use

Cons:

  • Some customers report problems with batteries
  • Can be slow

14505724_130306161954

Polaroid 7” Tablet for Kids

The Polaroid 7” tablet for kids won accolades in 2013 for its design and innovation. The design itself offers a lot to like, especially the extra padding around the edges to protect it from accidental knocks and jars. Parental control, display locks and other tools make it a parent-friendly device too. Included with the purchase is access to the Polaroid app shop, which like others on the market, offers additional free content.

Pros:

  • Many features are more for parents than for kids, especially those around the programming
  • Extra features to enhance durability
  • Over 35 fun apps included and free to download
  • Includes a tablet stand to make it easier to use for e-reading

Cons:

  • Battery can be slow to charge

kindle-fire-hd-7-tablet

Kindle Fire 7” Tablet

While not designed especially for kids, the Kindle Fire 7” tablet is so user-friendly that kids can enjoy it as much as adults. It features a dual-core processor to handle games, apps, and more simultaneously, and comes with a hefty 8 GB of memory – much more than the average child’s tablet. Like most children’s tablets, the Kindle Fire 7” also comes with parental controls so that parents can set time limits on their children’s computer time. You can even create individual profiles so that different members of the family have varying access to content and internet use.

Pros:

  • Good, inexpensive entry-level tablet for adults or children
  • Good for older children; does not have a ‘childish’ look to it. Looks more like an adult tablet.
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to use buttons for power and volume

Cons:

  • Some people complain that the screen is darker than on typical Kindle devices
  • Extra charges to access some content

Teaching Kids to Care for Their Tablets

Although kids’ tablets are intended to be more durable than the adult version, it’s important to teach kids how to use, store and care for their devices. The better a child can care for his own device, the longer it will last.

  • Teach your child to plug the tablet in each night so that it charges overnight.
  • Make sure they learn to store the tablet in a safe place, out of harm’s way. Tablets should be stored at room temperature indoors.
  • Don’t let them leave tablets in the car for long periods of time. Tablets shouldn’t be exposed to heat over 140 degrees F. On a hot day, temperatures inside a car can get above 120 degrees or higher.
  • Purchase a carrying case in colors or patterns your child likes, and make sure they use the case whenever they’re transporting their tablet.
  • Create a storage space for cables, cords and accessories. A zip-lock plastic bag or a clear container with a snap-on lid makes it easy for kids to put away their accessories.
  • Set a good example! Be sure you practice what you preach and take just as good care of your own tablet.

Cleaning a Tablet

Kids will be kids, and there will be times when even the most careful child will spill something on a tablet.

Liquids spilled on a tablet can be disastrous. Unplug the device and remove the battery before attempting to clean it. Tilt the device to enable the liquid to run off, and wait until it’s fully dry before replacing the battery or plugging it back in. If it doesn’t turn back on, contact technical support or bring it in to an authorized repair shop to assess the damages.

Clean the screen with cleaning pads saturated with denatured alcohol. Always use a soft cloth on the screen, as any type of abrasive or bristles can cause scratches.

Caring for a Tablet Battery

Parents often complain about the short life of their child’s tablet battery. Tablet and other rechargeable batteries require special care to extend the battery life and maintain the maximum power storage available.

One trick to extending the battery life on a tablet is to keep the vents clean. Use a soft cloth and wipe out the vents and wipe around the case on the tablet. Make sure your child knows he shouldn’t put stickers or anything over the vents or the case of the tablet. These can block the airflow and make the tablet run hotter than it should, which taxes the batteries and shortens the battery life.

Learn how to adjust the screen brightness on the tablet. By setting it to the lowest setting that’s still comfortable to use, you can save battery life.

Lastly, always let batteries charge fully before using the device on battery power. Teach your child to plug in the device overnight, which typically gives them plenty of time to charge.

Shopping for Your Child’s New Tablet

You can purchase tablets just about anywhere now: at national retailers, “big box” stores, local electronics stores, and online outlets. Be sure to write down the exact make, model and number of the tablet you’re interested in when you go comparison shopping.

It’s helpful to view tablets in person even if you plan to buy them online. Check out the screen, the resolution, and the ease of use while you’re in the store. Note which ones come with accessories and which you may need to buy separately.

Most of the tablets listed here are available from Amazon.com shopping, which can also save you money on shipping if you are an Amazon Prime member.

 
   
 

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