Teach your kid how to have fun with a digital camera!
Digital cameras are everywhere and are incorporated into everything nowadays, from smartphones to the professional DSLR cameras. Children as young as 2 years can be seen playing around with their parents smartphone and taking pictures – sure, they may not be conventional images…but the kids are still learning that if they point that funny round thing on the back of the phone at something and press the button, an image of whatever they are pointing at magically appears on the phone!
I love photography and wish I had had access to a digital camera when I was a kid. My first camera was a film camera which my much older brother gave to me when I was 9 years old and I fell in love with it immediately. Unfortunately, my parents had to pay for the film to be developed, so although my enthusiasm remained true, the money was just not available to develop all the rolls I shot! Now that the digital age is upon us, that problem doesn’t exist anymore for our children. They can happily “shoot” away and download their images onto a computer for very little cost!!
Realistically speaking, a good time to introduce a child to a good camera (or camera phone) would be around 3 years of age if they are already showing an interest whenever you take photos. Here are 6 simple ways to encourage them to experience the joys of photography and the world around them:
1: Explore different colours and shapes
Colours and shapes fascinate from an early age
Pick a colour and get your child to photograph any object of that colour that they can see in the house, or park or garden. Do the same with different shapes and also different sizes – big, small, medium and so on. This will teach your child to observe and really think about their surroundings whilst still having fun. When they get bored, move on.
2: Set up a family photo-outing
Photographing the colour yellow? Not recommended if street is busy!!!
Set off on a family outing – this could be into the city, photographing buildings, odd things they see, graffiti and so on or set off on a nature hike and pick some aspect of nature to focus on (pun not intended!). You could choose leaves, flowers, trees, birds and so on. Pick only ONE theme per outing, though as then the hunt will be on for that perfect leaf, or that perfect flower and that’s what makes it fun! Afterwards, when going through the photos this can lead to discussions with an older child as to why he chose to photograph a particular thing and this again leads to them thinking and observing and seeing the beauty in everything around them
3: Make up stories
Stories start from a young age and are related to the pictures
With the young child of 3 years, one can go through their photos and ask them to tell you a story about the pictures they took. An older child can write a story about their pictures, whether it’s of a series of leaves, flowers or the family dog. This can enhance a child’s creativity and the older child may even be inspired to come up with ideas of what they want to shoot next.
Surrounded by toys, its great to take close up photographs to get a different perspective!
Your child’s toys are great to take pictures of! You could set them up in a scene (firetruck with firemen around it) or just get them to take really close up pictures of a particular toy. This will encourage them to observe the tiny details in the toy.
5: Treasure Hunt
Treasure hunts can be lots of fun!
This can be really exciting for an older child of 4 or 5 years. Choose something such as odd shaped trees or clouds or perhaps even an abstract thing like “find something funny” and see who can find and take the most photographs of whatever you have chosen. Winner can be given a treat of your choosing! You don’t even have to go out for this as you could set up the treasure hunt in your house or garden and hide away certain objects which they have to find and photograph.
Alphabet photography teaches a lot!
This is a great way to teach your little one the alphabet, too! Print out the alphabet on individual cards of different colours. Then your child can pick whichever letter they fancy, learn which letter it is (because you will be saying “oh, that’s cool, your picked the letter “C” – let’s go and see how many things beginning with the letter “C” we can photograph!”. If your little human hasn’t yet learnt each letter, you may have to point out the objects beginning with “C” as you walk around, but you will both have the fun part of photographing the objects!
There are probably plenty more ways you can have fun with your child whilst out there inspiring him or her with photography, which may develop (again, no pun intended!) into a lifelong hobby for your child or into even his or her profession one day. And at least in this digital age you don’t have to spend a penny on developing the film!!!
Whenever I go out to take photographs I whisper a prayer of thanks to my brother for giving me that camera, which got me started so long ago on my present path. I am truly grateful to him and it was the best present EVER!!!
Have fun with your child and photography!
Yours in photography