Teaching your kid the art of photography is a process – it starts from explaining the basics of photography, followed up by some basic training on how to use the camera, and continues to actually practice it as much as possible. As you already know, any teaching which doesn’t involve a practice session will be partially successful, and when it comes to teaching kids photography, one of the most energizing ways to do that is through a photography project.
Photography projects for kids – Advantages:
there are 3 main advantages to kicking off a photography project for your kid:
- It gives a special context to the practice session. It’s not just a point & shoot exercise. It has a meaning.
- It creates a longer term motivation and commitment.
- It’s a great opportunity to spend some more time with your kids. Isn’t it most important for us as parents?
Photography projects for kids – 5 Ideas:
There are many great ideas for photography projects for kids. Some of them are listed below. But the first thing I’d do is ask my kid to think about it themselves and come up with a few ideas. It’s a great exercise and an interesting opportunity for you to learn one more thing about your kid’s inner world and about the glasses they see the world through.
Two additional comments before detailing 5 ideas for photography projects for kids:
- It is a project, so consider it as such – it’s a small journey that has a starting point and an end point, based on some kind of a plan… Discuss it with your kid. Be clear about what the project is about and about how you are going to get there. Don’t forget that it’s a great opportunity for your kid to be part of a process (with a few stages and which takes a longer time to finish) rather than be involved in a short, one time, act.
- Give feedback along the way. Discuss the outcome of your kid’s art with them. And when I say feedback I mean also sentences like: “see how the light comes in through this angle”, etc., and not only: “oh, this is beautiful”, “I like this!”, and so on. This is the most beneficial way to improve your kid’s photography skills. Read more here: Teaching Photography to Kids: Selecting the Right Approach
So… here are the 5 project ideas:
Letters: if your kid is currently learning to read and write, this project will be of interest to them. You can either ask your child to take pictures of objects which look like one of the letters, or take pictures of objects that begin with A, B, C, etc.. The main idea here is to find a project that is linked to whatever your kid studies at school – it can be letters, numbers or any other subject.
Point, Shoot and Compare: agree with your kid on 10 objects you’d like to photograph. Then, both your kid and you will take pictures – your kid with his kids camera and you with yours. Then, compare the outcome, discuss differences in composition, light, sharpness and any other interesting aspect.
A Day in Life: document one full day – from wake up time to bed time. Ask your kid to take a picture every hour (you can use your smartphone as a reminder). The next day, go through the photos with your kid. It would be very interesting for them to review it in such a systematic way, be reminded of yesterday’s events and discuss it with you. Another alternative in this “A Day in Life” idea is to document you, their brother or sister, their pet, etc., rather than documenting themselves.
Nature: we are always amazed by those brave National Geographic photographers who take close ups of lions or sharks… can’t your kid do the same? No matter where you live, you probably have some “wildlife” around you – cats, dogs, birds, squirrels… ask your kid to take as many wildlife photos as they want and then select the ten best pictures to show you (by the way – National Geographic published a very nice photography book for kids, click here: National Geographic Kids Guide to Photographyfor more details).
Pick a Theme: it can be light and shadow, reflections, clouds, sunsets, colors. It can be taking the same picture (same object at the same place) every day for a few days in a row at the same hour (or same composition but in different hours…) – no matter which theme you picked, your kid can take great photos and you’ll have lots to discuss with them.
As mentioned, these are only 5 ideas than you can adopt as is or further develop, don’t forget that the main purpose here is improving the photography skills while enjoying some educational quality time together.
The Photography Project Last Step
At the end of the project, and after you conveyed your feedback, you should find a way to present the project’s outcome – it can be collage, an exhibition on the refrigerator’s door, a PowerPoint presentation or an album – whatever suites you and your kid. The quality of this endpoint matters, so pay attention to it and make sure that your kid’s efforts are respected and getting the appropriate attention.
Have any other idea you’d like to share? Please write to us or reply to this post