We wish this was around when we were kids
I didn't find my love for photography until I was in college. My dad had a camera when I was young (a Canon AE-1 that I still currently have and use), but it was too complicated to ever catch my interest. An interesting project called Bigshot however is trying to use a DIY camera kit to get kids interested in photography and science in general.
The kit is $89 and comes in pieces like a model car. It's a bit like the digital version of the recently-released Lomography Konstruktor, which we found to be pretty awesome. The idea is that the camera needs to be assembled using a set of instructions and online tutorials.
The camera itself is a 3-megapixel affair, which produces image quality at a level you'd expect from a smartphone camera. But, it does offer some pretty cool features. The lens housing swivels to reveal a few different lenses including a pano mode and a 3D setting. There's a hand-crank to crank up the camera's battery if there's no opportunity to charge it. And the online components of the instructions teach fundamental scientific lessons while helping kids put the camera together.
As you may have guessed, there's also a charity portion of the program. They have already begun donating the cameras to underprivileged kids and plan to donate a lot more if the program seems successful.
I'm for any project that gets kids excited about science, so adding photography into the mix just makes it that much cooler. You can read more about the project on their official site.