I have 'lent' the digital camera , to my two kids for a few years now. I have a sony dsc f55e. When I bought it cost me over £600 ! Now any digital camera will be be better than my Sony. The fast rate of technology !!! So take my advice, buy them the cheapest digi camera's you can find. Impress on them to look after them , and if they look after them for a 3/4 ? years then spend some real money . There pics on xmas day will still blow your socks off.
ps , I had one rule , no running when they carried the camera