As the world starts to open up and more people are gearing up for summer travels, now is the perfect time to introduce kids to age-appropriate camera practice! Not only is photography a useful and fun life skill to teach your kids (or learn together!), but it also allows their curiosity and creativity to blossom.
Art appreciation and research
Beginner-level photography builds an appreciation of art and creative expression! Starting with books that encourage your kids to learn about photography and study photo composition can be fun for the whole family, too. Once safe and open to the public again, your local library is a great stop to peruse photography books. For now, we’ve gathered a few below that you can order online:
Provide kids with their own camera and case
Children won’t feel like they can truly own their photography skills unless they’re shooting with their own cameras. Choosing the right camera will depend on your kid’s age, but generally you want a camera that’s durable, easy to use, and offers different shooting modes.
Toy and Digital Cameras
For small children, a plastic digital (child proof) camera is a great option. If your children are a little older and more responsible, you can get them an inexpensive point and shoot camera. My boys both love this digital kids camera that’s great for ages 4-10. My eldest son brought it with him on our trip to Paris pre-pandemic, and he loved taking pictures of our adventures, from sightseeing to food photos! For his birthday last year, he asked for the video recorder version so he could make his own “LEGO movies.” With appropriate supervision and care, these devices can be great tools for teaching autonomous creativity!
Shop more toy and digital cameras for kids here:
A great introductory option for kids of all ages is a modern Polaroid camera! Who doesn’t love the excitement of waiting for a Polaroid picture to develop? Instant film cameras are a great way to introduce your kids to photography because the pictures are tangible and can be immediately displayed in so many creative ways! The FujiFilm Instax Mini is simple enough for kids of almost any age, and it comes in fun colors with plenty of kid friendly accessories. My boys have the blue and little Liza has the pink!
Shop more Polaroid cameras and accessories for kids:
Display their photos and create albums
One of the most satisfying elements of the Polaroid cameras is getting to print and display the images immediately (versus looking at them on a phone or computer screen). Printing kids’ photos and displaying them in albums or as gifts is not only a great way to build self-esteem but also a fun activity you can do together! These are great for school projects as well.
We’ve gathered photo album ideas for these instant film camera photos here:
Put together fun photography activities
Teaching photography for kids is less about learning rules and more about having fun and fostering curiosity and creativity. If you have kids under 10 like me, you may not be able to teach them as many skills at this age but you can familiarize them with a camera and give them different activities they can do! We’ve gathered a few ideas below:
- Learning Colors – Have the child walk around the house or outside and look for things of a certain color and photograph them.
- Letter Practice – You can either ask your child to take pictures of objects which look like a certain letter such as the letters in their name, or take pictures of objects that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
- A Day in the Life – If your family is getting a little bored with staying at home right now, ask your kids to become photojournalists for a day! Have them take a picture every hour – from wake up to bed time – then go through the photos together the next day and create their own photo schedules or chore charts!
- Photo Scavenger Hunt – Create a list of 20 items they need to find in the house or yard (or use a printable photo scavenger hunt), and have them photograph the items as they find them. This is a fun activity to do with friends, gathering two teams of people to see which team can complete the most items the fastest!
- Tell a Story – Have them take a photograph of anything and write a story about it. Or they can use their instant film camera to capture the story in images only, then display the images in order and reveal it to the family.
- Nature Walk– No matter where you live, you probably have some “wildlife” around you – cats, dogs, squirrels, birds…Ask your child to take photos of the nature around them, whether in your yard or when you go on on a stroll at the park! If there are creatures or species you haven’t seen before, you can look them up later at home!
- Photo-A-Day Gratitude Journal – Now is a great time to slow down and count your blessings. Kids can use their Polaroid camera to take a photo every day for a week of something for which they are grateful. Then, write the date on the image and paste the photo in a journal or album. Creating habits of gratitude will serve them well for life!
When it comes to teaching your kids photography, the most important thing is to have fun! What are some of your favorite photography activities or other “arts and crafts” projects? Let us know if you try any of these ideas by tagging @lolliandme in your posts on Facebook or Instagram!