I am late to this party, because I think preschool kids are working with this stuff nowadays, but just in case you don’t know… You can get a dirt cheap teeny tiny computer, with wifi and a camera, and easily set up a webcam.
The board (and programming/USB power add-on board) can be had for about $10 on Amazon or about $2 if you want to look around AliExpress.
This is what I got from Amazon, but if you look around you might be able to save a few bucks.
For software, this is the project to grab.
To install the software on the little camera board you will need to install the Arduino IDE on your computer, and there are some fiddly steps to configure the IDE and get all the right add-ons and stuff installed. But once you do, you can flash the camera server software to the board, and then all it needs is power via the USB port. (I think you can remove the add-on board if you want to solder 5V power to pins on the esp32 board.)
Here is a sample screen shot showing the camera view and detailed settings.
Yes, the image quality isn’t great… But it was also $10. Maybe $2, depending on where you got it!
You do not need to be a programmer to get this thing running, but if you know even a little about it, you can make some customizations like changing default settings.
This is my ugly, temporary setup… The camera is taped to a wire shelf over the Glowforge, sharing space with materials. I need to figure out a case, but I don’t have a 3d printer yet.
If you enjoy tiny computers, check it out! Fun stuff.