With stay-at-home orders active across the country & around the world, now is the perfect time to get creative with your little ones at home by showing them why you love photography and to teach them the importance and the value of a memory. Whether you’ve got a smartphone, an instant camera, or even a spare DSLR, they can immediately see the results and fruits of their photographic labor. Here are a few photo activities you can use to creatively challenge your children from behind the lens.
The Every Day
We are in the middle of history being made. As adults, we see the pandemic in one way, but children see it in a different way. Let them take five or so photos a day of anything that is important to them that day and discuss it to get their feedback on why those photos are meaningful to them. Through this activity, you are teaching your child the importance of documentation at this historic time. Although they may not be aware of the gravity of this moment, as adults, we do. When discussing the photos at the end of the day, take the opportunity to write their answers down. Whether you make a photo book of your own experiences or make one specifically for your child, include the text with the photo.
This activity is for the younger ones to help them learn their colors. Give them a list of around seven colors they will need to find throughout the home (R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – is a good starting point). This is a perfect moment to teach them the art of filling the frame with the color.
Give them a list of items they’ll need to find and photograph throughout the home. You can even break this down into a daily project. Give them 10 items a day to find and photograph. One lesson you can do is to choose things that are in darker parts of the home and encourage them to take the items into the light to photograph. By choosing items that are in darker parts of the home, you are encouraging your child to find the light. You can even have them take a snap of the item in the dark and then in the light to show the comparison.
Everyone had a favorite toy when growing up and your children most certainly have theirs. Set up a make-shift backdrop and let your child photograph their favorite toys, one by one. You can use a blanket, a sheet, a big piece of cardboard, a curtain or even a rug for a backdrop. Just make sure each photo is on the same background for a matching aesthetic. Let them choose as many items as they desire and let them set up the shot so they are taking control of the setup. This is a perfect lesson in commercial photography since you are providing them a background, how they set up their subject and letting them control the outcome. As we know, commercial and studio photographers must direct all aspects of a photo session to achieve a certain look.
Encourage your children to take photos of the people and the pets in the house, as well as themselves. When they take your portrait, ask them questions so they can direct the photo such as “Where would you like me to sit?”, “Should I look at the camera?” and “Where should I place my hands?” When you ask these sort of questions, you are instilling in them that they have artistic control over the final outcome. With this activity, you’re teaching them about portrait photography and by engaging with them, you are teaching them they need to direct and communicate with their subject to get a particular photo. Also, make sure to keep these photos and add them to the family photo album!
Your lesson through all of these activities is to help document what they see during this time in history. After we return to a semblance of normal, order some of their photos as prints, make a collage, or put together a photo book with their words. Ultimately, you’ll teach them to capture the images while appreciating the results.