Any suggestions on what I should look for?
10 year old. So the answer is easy.
A camera that is fun to use.
Of course, every person is different. But at 10 it is probably more important to explore the themes than the technical aspects. So simply find one that has a decent image quality out of the box.
I’m not too worried about it being rugged
I would. It removes the fear of dropping the camera. That fear can limit the exploring stage. Put the camera above her head, on a side while standing on a chair.
If it is waterproof will let her explore shooting reflections in the park, lowering the camera to floor level on a water puddle.
We forget the main aspect of learning photography is not technical but learning how to see, and how to see from different perspectives.
If it has a manual mode, the better. You can use it for still life on the kitchen table in the morning, etc.
If the camera survives one year or so, then a DSLR for indoor usage will be interesting.
Some main factors in this controlled environment.
- A chance to upgrade lenses.
- Use external light.
- Manual mode.
I also agree that a phone is a good option. You can simply remove the SIM card and you have a camera with wifi.
(Just be aware that people can heavily rely on automatic post-processing and automatic features on a phone)
Regarding an old DSLR. I have an old Canon Xs Camera. The max usable ISO is just like Iso 400 and only has 10Mpx. But you can easily use it, for example, to make some professional product shots for a big Ecomerce store and make money.
I agree that an old DSLR is not synonymous with bad or new is for good. Photography is much more than Mpx or ISO noise.
But it limits you. I would not use it these days for an event, because the focus is a bit imprecise compared fo a newer camera. The usable ISO is higher in newer models and some people want a bigger print, so, some extra Mpx help. But is totally usable, not only to learn but also to actually use it. Knowing its limitations, as every, every gear you have. Even the James Webb telescope has limitations.