With the pandemic raging, and more kids than ever being home-schooled (even if it's just temporarily) I know parents are craving fun and educational things to do to help pass the time, keep little ones engaged and keep everyone just a bit more sane during these crazy times.
It's in that spirit that this post was born. Photography it seems, is the gift that keeps on giving. Sure, we all use photography more than ever to document our days, to stay in-touch with loved ones, and even to remind us of the beautiful and fragile world we all live in. Aside from those things, photography can be a wonderful teacher. It can teach patience, perseverance, attention to detail and even math. GASP!
Tip 1: Create a little world!
Kids have blocks... I know my 2-year-old has enough lego's to build quite a sky-scraper. If your child is like mine, building a little world with legos, and then photographing it can be an awesome way to spend an afternoon. This fun project will give you both the chance to dream up a cool distant world, or maybe a favorite vacation spot. You can spend hours adding every detail and getting things just right. Then - photograph it! These mini-worlds built with legos (or other blocks) always have a whimsical look to them and can be so cool - not to mention a great post on social media! Don't have blocks or the patience to build a mini-city? No Problem! Instead - use the lego characters as people in a giant world. You can pose them doing all sorts of fun tasks - from washing the windows and cleaning the sink, to scaling the coffee table to plant a miniature flag, weed the garden, or skydive into the bathtub!
Tip 2: Film is Fun!
Many of you probably remember the good old days of film. No? Hey - I totally get it. For professional photographers film represented the unknown. Back then, if you photographed a wedding, there was no way to know if the pictures you took were good... or even exposed properly. It was a time where craft was mixed with chemistry. Now that we're all digital, the challenges of taking a photo on film is no longer scary, but is actually fun! So go ahead - scrounge around the garage, ask your parents (or grandparents), search garage sales, or even shop online for a great old film camera. The more basic the better. Then order up some Black and White film and give your child a project. Have them document the week, photograph their friends or siblings, or maybe take a walk at a local park specifically for the purpose of taking photos. Now here's the best part - you can develop B&W film at home with just a few simple tools. You can get a development kit for very little money and together you can develop your own rolls of film! Behold the magic of chemistry - and since they'll likely have forgotten what pictures they've taken by the time you develop the film - a surprise awaits. Not feeling adventurous, or have little ones at home - skip the development process and take your film to your local pharmacy. Many still have film labs right in the store. You'll miss out on some of the educational elements of mixing and measuring - but the same lessons of patience and the reward of great photos still await you.
Tip 3: Photo Album History Lesson
If you're like me, you have thousands of photos stored on your computer, your phone, your tablet, in shoeboxes, in scrapbooks and so on. On the next rainy day, take the afternoon (or the whole day) to do a photo album history lesson with your kids. So often we go through life never getting the chance to know our parents (or grandparents) before it's too late... so during the pandemic it's a great time to give your kids a history lesson. Show them pictures of your relatives, your grandparents, parents, etc. Tell them stories about what it was like when you were a kid... or when your parents were kids. While telling these great stories, take the time to make prints of your favorite images and create a photo album with your kids on the history of your family. It doesn't have to include everyone, or every image. Think in broad strokes and build a book that truly tells the visual history of your family. It's a fun project that your kids will be grateful for someday. Wanna take it to the next level? Instead of a cut and paste type album, many photo printing sites offer photo book printing. If most of your pictures are already digital - this is an even easier option since you only have to print the book, instead of each individual photo. What's more - that same photo book can be printed multiple times, can be captioned, and even gifted to other members of your family!