Digital cameras are another area where interactive technology has become available at very low cost for even the youngest of children. Parents and educators are seeing kids digital cameras as more than fun toys, they are seeing them as a way to encourage children in a range of educational and developmental activities.
Learning to use a digital camera can provide even shy and withdrawn children with a boost to their self-esteem. It can help children from a diverse cultural background to share experiences using pictures – the saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is certainly true with youngsters who will enjoy talking about pictures and find a medium to express their thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
This shared activity also helps to develop vocabulary skills and children grow in confidence being able to ‘take centre-stage’ within a familiar group of children or family members where they feel comfortable and at-ease.
Downloadable Educational Games and Lessons To Teach Children About Photography
Please check out our article on a great range of downloadable games and a course of step by step lessons to teach children about photography. You will find some really great resources whether you are a home schooler, you run an after school club or want a fun, shared activity to enjoy with your own children that will be fun for you both and a great way to learn! Check out the article Download Fun Photography Lessons For Kids
The photography course pack you can read about in our article (link above) or visit the site where you can purchase the games and courses to download today.
A Shared Interest With Your Children
Digital photography also provides parents with a way to share an interest with their children. Activities based on photography like the downloadable games and courses mentioned above, can form the basis of family time together – a welcome change from computer games or sitting in front of the TV. It also provides a way of fostering an interest outside of the home or school as photography clubs, creating a photo blog, perhaps entering photographic competitions. Learning to creatively edit images with ‘Photoshop’ or other technology can help a child to develop a life-long hobby.
For home school activities, a digital camera can make lessons much more exciting and using a camera in this way can also be used to make family outings more fun or to create challenges for children that they will find both fun and rewarding.
Fun Educational Activities With A Digital Camera
Young children, (for whom digital photography has become possible with a wide range of inexpensive, attractive, appealing and easy to use camera models which might look like toys but which actually provide a marvellous introduction to taking pictures), could be set simple learning tasks that they will have fun with.
- Set a challenge to photograph objects of different colours. Download the images to the computer and help the child to caption the image with the colour represented. These pictures could be printed off and stuck into a scrap-book.
- Have a fun game where the child first takes a picture of one friend, then two friends and so on. If you do not have enough people around substitute toys, pets, flowers, just about anything you can think of and turn this into a counting game.
- Use photography to explore concepts such as soft and hard, warm and cold, tall and short, big or small, by challenging children to find (for example), only soft objects to photograph or find three cold things to photograph, such as ice cubes, a puddle of water or a cold drink.
- Use the camera to provide a challenge for children on family outings. Set a task with maybe ten things that you would like the child to capture an image of. For example, on a woodland walk, this could be a pine cone, a bird, a single leaf, a cloud, a puddle, a yellow flower – and so on. This will help the child to become more observant and keep the interest in the walk when legs are getting tired too!
- Extend the challenge above with a group of children divided into teams and giving each team a list of things to photograph or task them to take a picture of as many different flowers as they can find or as many different coloured objects, will not only be great fun but will foster a little healthy competition too!
- Encourage organizational and literacy skills by helping your child to arrange photographs of an outing sequentially, to tell the story and to caption each picture. For very young children, this might be just a few words, but for older children, it could turn into a longer story.
By setting a challenge in some of the activities above, it enables a small reward to be presented on completion which gives a great sense of achievement. It also provides the child with pictures to show to friends and other family members after the trip and acts as a medium to enable the child to share experiences and talk about the day which will increase his confidence as well as his vocabulary.
For older children, the activities can be expanded to encompass learning how to use special effects and camera techniques such as zoom and macro lens to get exactly the shot they want. Encourage experimentation and creativity and talk about how particular images were achieved. Taking the same image using a variety of different camera settings is a great learning experience for children, it is a valuable way of encouraging methodical and organized working if a child is encouraged to keep a record of the camera settings that went into creating a particular shot.
I hope that this article has given you some ideas for developing your child’s creativity and adding to his learning experience by using digital photography. Because cameras are available for all ages and abilities, there are benefits for all. For the very smallest children, motor skills and co-ordination. Older children can develop their creativity, have fun improving literacy and numeracy and enjoy a shared hobby with parents and friends.