Please welcome Beryl Ayn Young. I’ve known about Beryl for quite a while. She writes about photography in a way that is so easy to understand. She makes me feel like I can actually take amazing pictures! Today she’s sharing some of her favorite educational activities for kids using photography. (You are going to love this just as much as I do!) Enjoy.
They sat in groups together, paper and pencil in hand, brainstorming the shots for their next set of photos. They spoke in enthusiastic bursts, and their loud voices were not an indicator of misbehavior, but of kids expressing their creative energy in full force.
Photography club was in session.
In my former life as a school teacher, after-school was my favorite time of day because it was when the real learning began. It was my opportunity to truly connect with students as they explored creativity and learning in playful and meaningful ways. I’ve since transitioned out of the schools, but I am still teaching families (included my own!) to love their photos and their life behind the lens of a camera. Photography is such an accessible tool to connect kids and grownups, and it’s a great way to pull in educational content as well.
Today I’d like to share 5 of my favorite ways to use photography as a tool for learning. Not only will you notice excited kids during these projects, but you’ll also discover how these projects allow for the entire family to get involved too.
Before setting out for these projects, I suggest setting the stage for snapping pictures together with a book. Phoebe The Photographer: Gets A Camera is an inspiring story of a little girl who falls in love with photography and it will get kids excited to use a camera.
I’ve ensured that any type of camera will do (point and shoot, mobile phone, or DSLR), and tied each project to a specific learning topic, but the possibilities for crossover are endless. So take each of these ideas, and then feel free to expand, adapt, or make them your own!
5 Favorite Educational Activities for Kids Using a Camera
Language Arts – Storytelling
Tell a story through pictures! You could do this by snapping one photo and making up the story that goes along with it. Or show your children a series of random photos that you’ve strung together, and ask them to make up a story to tie the photos together. If you’d rather create a story from scratch, bring out a favorite toy or stuffed animal and take it out on an adventure for the day, capturing multiple images and telling its story in the process. You could even take the process one step further by printing the story into a photo book, or digitally recording a presentation of the story with your child narrating via voice-over.
Math – Stop Motion
Stop motion can be a fun way to illustrate word problems. It’s a great project for children who are willing to practice patience with what can be a lengthy process. First have your kids write a simple word problem for addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Find supplies to represent the objects in the word problem. Set up your camera on a tripod and choose a workspace to bring your word problem to life. Snap a photo for each step in your word problem. Use something like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to stitch each photo together and make a movie of your word problem. Or if you’re using a mobile device, the iTunes app Stop Motion Studio will do it all for you.
Science – Scavenger Hunts
So much of the science curriculum involves exploring our natural world. Scavenger hunts are the perfect opportunity to get outside and allow younger kids time for exploration. Encourage them search for the seasons, animals, nature, plants, etc. You could even create your hunting list together and then go out to see how many of the objects you can seek. When you’re done, why not compile them all into a PicMonkey collage and hang it on your fridge?
Social Studies – Famous For a Day
For this project, I like to use photography in a bit of a different way: through editing and artistic expression. One of my favorite activities involves encouraging kids to transform themselves into a famous person from history. When I taught first grade, we had the kids pretend they were going to become either George Washington or Abraham Lincoln for the day. Upload a close-up photo of your child to the amazing kid-friendly photo editing site PicMonkey. Using the Draw Tool (In the effects menu), allow your child to draw themselves as this famous person.
Just For Fun – Cloning Magic
Your kids will get a kick out of this one! Set up your camera on a tripod. Take two shots of your child doing two different activities in one location. Once both poses are captured, open one photo into PicMonkey. Layer the 2nd photo on top, using the custom ‘Overlay’ feature. Erase away part of the overlay image to reveal your child in the image underneath and reveal the ‘clone’. Giggle, smile, and save.
Want even more Photo Activities to try with your kiddos? I’m Beryl Ayn Young, Photo Mom & Mentor and I love teaching moms how to love their photos and their life.
“Click! A ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Guide For Kids With Cameras” is my completely free resource for you — with 5 fun photography activities you can do today with your kids. Get your copy right HERE.
It’s Jill again! Just wanted to let you know that I am a proud affiliate of Beryl Ayn Young and this post does contain affiliate links.
Beryl Ayn Young is an old soul who is most content sipping lattés and connecting with friends new and old. She’s a lover of warm weather, Chipotle burrito bowls, TOMs shoes, and snuggles from her mini me. She’s swapped days of teaching Kindergarteners how to read and write for weekends and evenings of teaching moms how to love their cameras and their life. Pop over to her site and register for a completely free week long mini class ‘One Ingredient Fix’. where she’ll guide you in taking better photos using one easy tweak you can try right now.