We might be a little biased, but we think photography is a great tool to teach kids how to see the world. In our tech-savvy society, even little kids can learn to use a point-and-shoot or a cell phone camera. The technology really doesn’t matter; these ideas are meant to spark creativity and imagination. Here are some of our favorite family photo activities!
Photo Scavenger Hunt
This is a fun one for getting out of the house! Make a list of items to find outdoors in your neighborhood. Plot out the route and go! You can make it as general or as specific as you like, or you can even make it themed. Some easy and fun ideas:
- Seed pod
- Red flower
- Fire Hydrant
- Mailbox with a flag
- Blue car
- Garden art
The Letter Game
Take your cameras outside and look for objects that make letters: tree branches where you can find a letter Y, light poles that make the letter T, bricks that make the letter X, a bench that makes the letter O, etc. Something that is fun is to try is finding letters that spell your family name! Then when you get all of your letters, print the photos out and frame them 😊
Make a list of things to photograph and then have each person in your family take a photo of that item. It’s best to start with something small, like an apple, and then work your way up to bigger things like a swing set. Have each family member take a photo of it and then talk about the different perspectives.
- Does the apple look bigger when you are closer?
- Does it look different from a higher angle?
- What do you see when you take a photo closer vs. farther away?
- How does perspective change how we experience things?
A fun and simple exercise is to take photos of outside objects at different times of the day. Talk about how they look and why that might be. Are shadows longer at noon or at sunset? You can even bring weather into it: how does it look on a cloudy day vs. a sunny day? Studying artists like Claude Monet will give you the perfect inspiration!
This can lead to lots of fun and some surprisingly great photos! Have your kids pose you and take your picture. Talk about what is funny in the photo and all the things you like about it. You can have them pose you in different locations and even give them props like a flower or a hat and see what they ask you to do with them.
With so many museums now available to tour virtually, find some works of art your kids like (the Milwaukee Art Museum, one of our personal favorites, has a huge collection online including the piece below!). Then try and recreate that work of art with objects around your house. Legos, blankets, building blocks, even twigs or sticks. Ask them what they think would work to make a replica, paying attention to placement, color, texture and lighting. When you’re all set, take a pic and you can compare the photo with the original. This is a great lesson to teach them that anyone can be artistic!
There are so many things you can do with this idea! Use photography as a way to explore and learn about color.
- Pick theme days: Mondays are red days, etc. and photograph items of different colors throughout the week
- Photograph all the colors of the rainbow
- Teach your child about ROYGBIV, how rainbows happen, basic color theory, complementary colors, etc.
- Explore how color can evoke emotion
- Use color to talk about how you’re all feeling
Create a story
Start with a simple story and see if you can take photos around your neighborhood to illustrate it. For smaller kids, they love stories that have them in it, even if it’s just doing some of their favorite activities. Once you have your photos, you can help them make it into their own storybook!
Family Happiness Journal
This is a fun activity that can help you Reminisce about sweet moments down the road. Ask each member of the family to take photos of things that make them happy. It doesn’t have to be inanimate objects that make us happy; it can be things like “puppy noses” or “smiles.” You might be really surprised at the results! Make a family scrapbook with your photos, and it can also be fun to make an album on Facebook that will come back up in your memories throughout the years.
Family Photo Contest
Have everyone in your family take photos. You can come up with a theme, or keep it loose and easy. Then sit down and have everyone pick their favorite photo that each family member took. Or come up with different categories to make everyone a winner: best use of color, funniest photo, most imaginative, etc. Display the photos in the house!
Photography can teach kids so many things! It teaches problem-solving and can bolster creativity and critical thinking, all while having a great time with their family 💗