Creative Photography with Children – and a Through the Lens ecourse Giveaway, too!

The following post is by contributor Mariah Bruehl of .

With summer quickly approaching it is nice for parents to have a repertoire of engaging activities in the backs of their minds that encourage children to keep reading, writing, and being creative.

This giveaway is now closed.  The winner will be announced soon.  Thank you!

Photography offers children a wonderful outlet for expressing themselves and taking in the world around them. Not only does it channel their natural tendency to be attracted to technology in a positive direction, but photography can also inspire writing and other forms of self-expression.

Create a Juggling Photo

One fun and easy activity to start with is an exploration of  your child”s favorite things, hobbies, and talents.

  1. It is nice to get the juices flowing by starting out with a story. We read the book What I Do Best by Allia Nolan and Miki Sakamoto.
  2. Next, invite your child to think about and choose five items that represent what he does best or his favorite hobbies and pastimes. Spend some time talking about his choices and which items best represent his ideas. Our youngest daughter loves art, so she decided to include colored pens and pencils.
  3. Explain that you are going to create a photo that will look like she is juggling all of her favorite things. It might help to show your child the photo in this post. Spread out a white sheet or light-colored blanket on the floor and arrange the items in an arch. Then have you child lay on her back and put her hands in “juggling” position. It is also fun to incorporate facial expressions, such as looking up. Have an “assistant” (see below for an explanation) take a photo.
  4. After printing out the photos, invite your child to cut himself and the objects out and glue them to a blank piece of paper or in a journal.
  5. Encourage your child to label the items in her collage. If she is not yet writing independently, have her dictate to you while you write her words.
  6. When he is finished with the labels ask if he would like to add more details about any of the items. My oldest daughter decided to write a brief story about her beloved teddy bear, while my youngest daughter wrote short poems about each of the objects she chose. Keep the writing component light and fun.

It is important to remember that there are a lot of different roles that children can play while engaged in creative photography projects. First and foremost, they should be the director of all the photos that they are in. Although they may need an “assistant” to take the actual photo, they can decide on and create the background, props, concepts, costumes, and poses.

Once you and your children get started thinking creatively about photography, the ideas continue to flow. Each member of the family can start his or her own photo journal and add to it throughout the summer and beyond.

You can find more inspirational photos here, here, here and here.

Through the Lens ecourse Giveaway

For more fun photography ideas, be sure to check out Mariah”s new e-course, . She is offering Simple Kids” readers the chance to win a spot in the summer session.

To Enter

Simply leave a comment below.

This giveaway will end at Midnight EST Monday, May 30, 2011. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 31. Good Luck! This giveaway is now closed.  The winner will be announced soon.  Thank you!

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  1. lovely idea. also, please include me in the giveaway, I’d love to do this.
    Gwen~healthymamma´s latest post: Sopa de Almejas Clam Soup

  2. I love Mariah’s blog and am eagerly awaiting the release of her book. This giveaway is great!

  3. My four-year-old has recently become interested in photography, and he isn’t too bad at it (love digital cameras!) I’d like to learn more ideas for kids interested in photography.

  4. Would love an e-course! Great way to learn photography in my own time.

  5. Kristen says:

    wow! what a fantastic idea! i’d love to learn more from your e-course.

  6. Wow! How fun would this course would be–love this idea–I think the boys and I will be doing this project next week (our first week off of school!)

  7. So intrigued!

  8. Mariah O says:

    What a great idea. I love Mariah’s blog, she has such great ideas!

  9. i am picture crazy and love this! Thanks for the chance!

  10. That is a fun idea. Even more fun? Give your kid the camera. In a time with digital cameras it doesn’t matter if they are good but you know what, with a three yr old, he’s amazing good. There are several pics of certain things but seeing things from his perspective is so fun. And he loves it. You just gotta let go of trying to tell them how to do it except how to push the button.
    Nina´s latest post: a giveaway on another blog

  11. Super fun! Love all things ART! :)
    brookiej´s latest post: 3×5 Folded Card

  12. Delph B. says:

    That sounds fab! Count me in please!

  13. My eleven year old received a camera for her birthday! This would be perfect! We’re in!!
    Gretchen´s latest post: The Sunday Headlines

  14. My son got (a rather cheap) digital camera for his sixth birthday in May and this will be the perfect project to kick off his summer vacation. Thank you!

  15. Love it!

  16. Oh, I’d love to win…my daughter would enjoy this so much!

  17. Exactly what I need!!

  18. Catherine says:

    I also love Mariah’s blog. I would love a place in this course. Thanks!

  19. I received a camera for my birthday. My son and I try to take photos together early in the morning on the weekends…but this class sounds like the perfect chance to move beyond “snapping pictures” and into sharing and capturing some special memories together.

  20. This sounds great! I have two very enthusiastic photographers for children :) This would be right up their alley!
    Stacy´s latest post: Soup for the Spring and Summer

  21. We just bought a dSLR this spring… this would be great!

  22. Julie Benner says:

    wow! my youngest would just love to take part in this ecourse :) we’ll be having a go at the juggling photo this weekend. thanks for the idea- all the best x

  23. catherine cooper says:

    I was thinking about something to do this summer that would involve meaningful writing, recording what we do this summer and be creative–voila–this course popped up! Hope we are one of the lucky ones :)

    Catherine and Lilly

  24. How lovely!

  25. My eldest daughter and I would love to do this together! Great giveaway!
    Betsy C.´s latest post: Pink Bliss

  26. Kara D. says:

    My kids love the camera and I’m always looking for new ways to work art into their curriculum!

  27. What a great idea! My daughter loves taking pictures.

  28. My son would love this!

  29. Oh, I so LVOE this idea!!! We take hundreds of pix. I come from a long line of picture taking people. My grandpa’s pix collection even included movies from the 1940’s he had taken. And we affectionately refer to my mom as my DD’s private Paparazzi. I have been doing an album (on facebook) “A Picture A Day 2011” and have done pretty well. Between my 2 cannon rebels, my kodak point and shoot and my iPhone I always have a camera with me.
    Nancy Stepp @ Saved by Grace´s latest post: Paper Heart Garland

  30. great offer! thanks for the chance & the fun expressive activity to do with my children.

  31. That is such a great idea! My 7 year old has been wanting to start a scrapbook and I think this is the approach I’ll encourage! Would love the class. . .

  32. The juggling project is too cute. We will definitely be doing that. As for the e-course, my 10 year old would love it! She loves taking pictures, especially nature shots and most recently pictures of our new. Backyard container garden. Great giveaway!

  33. I’d love to win this! I’ve been trying to think of ways to incorporate more photography into my kids’ learning.
    Alicia´s latest post: Tis the Season for Gift Card Holders and Free Rhinestones or Pearls!

  34. This has LOVE written all over it!! Thank you!

  35. There is always something to learn!

  36. What a great idea, I love children’s photography!
    Emmalina´s latest post: A Single Moment

  37. I would love to participate in this course!

  38. Kathleen says:

    We have over 40,000 pictures on an external hard drive. I would LOVE to find new ideas on how to use them!

  39. Kirsten Dehmlow says:

    This would be so fun to do with my daughter this summer.

  40. wow! this sounds fabulous. what a great summer activity! my daughter is completely into scrapbooking and photography now here is a way she can combine the two! would love to win!
    tony(a) lemos´s latest post: Next up- Summers Remedies and First Aid

  41. I love photography and would love to take an e-course. It’s on my list of things to do :) My kids have a “kid” camera that takes horrible pictures. They are always asking to use my camera, which I sometimes reluctantly hand over. :) Kids definitely like photography.
    Tessa´s latest post: Party at the bowling alley!

  42. Deanna K says:

    would love to win!

  43. This looks great. What a fun idea. I think the kids will have a blast making juggling collages. The course looks like a great way to engage different creative mediums.
    Cynthia I´s latest post: Blogger’s Quilt Festival- Spring 2011

  44. This will rock my daughter’s life. As a creative drama teacher we have plenty of props, costumes, ideas on making this experience exceptional. Fingers are double crossed!

  45. Jessica says:

    Please count me in! My oldest son would LOVE this!

  46. Great giveaway! Thanks for the opportunity!


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