I have a seven year old daughter who is keen on getting a camera for Christmas. She is able to look after possessions (is very safe with her violin from school) although this is a recent development. I use Olympus 4/3rds and Micro 4/3rds camera. She has borrowed my EP-1 a number of times and enjoyed using it.
I learnt photography using a completely manual Praktica PLC3. This was challenging to use as you had to do the light metering and set the focus yourself. I wouldn't want to get a completely manual camera as I think that might put her off, but I would like one with enough flexibility to allow manual setting of aperture, shutter speed and focus so she can really learn how to be creative with it once she's got bored with point and shoot.
What cameras would you recommend we look at? Should we get one with a viewfinder?
Budget: under 200 GBP / 300 dollars. Preferably less!
Is this a sensible approach, or should we go for a cheap / rugged point and shoot until she is ready for the next level?
I am aware of the "What non-toy camera would be good for a child?" question, but it doesn't quite answer the same issues I am seeking to solve.