With the kids off school, and you hiding behind the sofa when the words home schooling are mentioned, what can you do to keep your children entertained that doesn’t include sticking them in front of the TV, under the stairs like Harry Potter or to the wall with Duct Tape?
It seems that after starting my challenges parents are now getting in touch and asking if I could write something just for the younger kids. Photography is a great way to keep your little ones amused and the really good thing is that it can also be used to teach them a few things as well, so it could pass as home schooling.
The best thing is that it doesn’t even need to cost anything. You don’t need an expensive camera or other equipment. All of these activities can be done with a mobile phone (as long as it has a camera).
I’m going to start this off with a game. Not one that I thought of though. It was a game that a child came up with while I was meant to be taking photographs of them. Here is how it happened…
When I got to the house (this is back in the day when you were allowed to go to other people’s houses) the kids were already in the garden playing. The parents had got them playing a game as they wanted natural shot of the kids as they played instead of posed shots. I got the camera out of my bag and started taking a few photographs. It wasn’t long though before one of the kids spotted me. The rest of the children carried on playing despite the camera, however, this one child didn’t like the camera and went off to hide.
I’m usually ready for children who are camera shy and carry an old camera around in my bag just for those occasions (the camera doesn’t work but don’t tell). On this occasion though I had taken it out the night before and not put it back. What I did have though was my ‘point and shoot’ that I always keep in the car. I retrieved the camera and then asked this child to help me by taking photographs of the other children. We then struck a deal that for every photo he got I got to take a photo of him.
It started off great. He would run off, take a photo, run back to show me and then I would take a photo of him.
That was until the game that the children were playing changed into Hide and Seek, with a twist. The person who was finding had to take a photo of the person they found hiding.
Worked out to be a great game and we got some really spontaneous photos as a result.
Just from the story above you can see two really good reasons to get your children involved in photography activities. By creating a game with the camera, children become less scared of it and you will manage to get more photographs. You will also be able to capture more natural photographs so less time shouting at them to ‘say cheese’ or ‘stop picking your nose’.
Photography is also a great way to boost your child’s confidence as they help you in creating photographs that can be put on the walls around your home.
If getting better photos of your kids is not your thing then there is the fact that using a camera can be a great way to teach them different skills. For the smaller children it could be recognising colours, learning the alphabet or numbers.
I can be difficult at times trying to teach children the colours, alphabet or numbers (I still struggle with those today). With a camera though you can turn that into a fun game that can be played either indoors or out and about.
Depending on how old your child is, either write different colours on pieces of paper or colour in one side of each piece of paper. Then place all of the pieces of paper in a container.
Get you child to pick a piece of paper out of the container to select the colour.
Then give you child the camera and get them to take photos of anything with a matching colour.
Create A Colour Book
When your child has taken their photos get them to stick them on a page in a scrapbook. One colour to each page then they can go back to each page to go through the colours.
Make A Wall Feature
Photos with the same colour range look great as a picture. Help your child stick their photos onto a piece of card that you can then frame and put on the wall. Not only will this look good on the wall it will also help your child’s confidence as they will be able to see that you like what they have done.
For this you could either start with the letters of your child’s name or simply at the beginning of the alphabet.
Once you have your starting point have your child take photographs of objects that start with the same letter. You know the thing A is for apple, B is for Banana and if you are good enough to get as far as Q or Z I will leave that one for you to work out.
It really is as simple as that.
Print Your Child’s Photos
Get your child to stick their photos on a sheet of paper either spelling their name or the alphabet. Then get you child to write the letters under each photo. You can then hang their creation so that it can be used to help them learn the letters.
Similar to using a camera to teach your child the letters of the alphabet get your child to write out the numbers 1 to 10. The great thing about this is it doesn’t need to stop there, this game can continue as your child learns to count further.
You can then either start at number 1 or get your child to pick a number at random.
Once you have your number it is then a case of setting your child free with the came as they search for something with the same number to take a photograph of.
If your child, or you, need a bit of help with this think house numbers, page numbers, birthday or playing cards, etc. It may also be a good idea to ‘accidently’ leave a few thing around the house for them to find.
Pets Eye View
Just for a bit of fun you could have your child give you a pets eye view. If you don’t have a pet get them to think of a pet that they would like. Hopefully they will say something like a cat, dog or rabbit. This really doesn’t work very well if they say a giraffe.
Get you child to pretend to be the pet and take photographs of what they see and do.
This is a fun way of getting some photographs from a different point of view as well at teaching them about their pet.
Something For The Parents (Or Guardians)
Just because your child has a camera in their hand it doesn’t mean you can’t have one in your hand as well. How often do you get to take photographs of your child while they are investigating, exploring and learning.
If you look around at family photography it is full of those ‘posed’ family shots. Keeping a visual record of your child as they grow and learn is not only fun it captures wonderful memories that all too often get forgotten. Printed out they not only look great on your wall, but they also show your child how much you care about them.
If you did enjoy this challenge it would be great to hear from you. You can always upload your photos or comment on my Facebook Page.
Sharing your photos on my Facebook Page is a great way to get some feedback on your photographs and to help you improve.
I will also be posting my next challenge soon so I hope you will be joining in for more.