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. Such a fun idea Mariah – I love it! Sounds like a wonderful new ecourse too.

  2. I’d love to participate in the class!

  3. I love the juggling photo – can’t wait to see what toys my girls will choose! Great inspiration links, too.

    My girls like to set-up scenes with their stuffed animals or dolls, take pictures, then make little story books.

    Your new e-course sounds fantastic, too! :)
    Amy@Let’s Explore´s latest post: Let’s Explore on Facebook

  4. My kids have just started getting into photography and beg to use the camera on a daily basis. This class sounds like a perfect way to get started!
    Sarah Creighton´s latest post: Easy Vegan Lasagna-Did I Say It Was EASY

  5. I was just thinking about playing with photos today – my son has the camera out again. I’d love to win a spot in the course.
    Catherine´s latest post: my favourite toys for toddlers

  6. Oh simply the coolest GiveAway, my kids love photography and after one summer where we did a heap of photography fun ( we haven’t looked back they take their cameras everywhere. One of them would love this course and a some fresh ideas to play with!!!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Would love to get photography help!

  8. I love photography. I have a great SLR camera and have no idea how to use it. I’m hoping to explore a little more this summer. For now I’m just excited to get a good shot now and then.

  9. My 5 year old is always looking for an excuse to use the digital camera (and the computer). I’m sure this course would give me the confidence I need to allow him to explore this medium of expression…here’s hoping!
    Meghan Hicks´s latest post: New article coming

  10. Jessie Adams says:

    Love the juggling idea! I would love to take the e-course.

  11. I so love the playful learning blog, I know this would be amazing!
    Sarah M
    Sarah M´s latest post: Visual Monday- CSA

  12. Julie W says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  13. Wow–this sounds awesome!
    Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy´s latest post: 1 Good Reason to Gossip and 5 Better Reasons Not to

  14. Oh, I’d love to give this to my daughter!
    Wendy´s latest post: Kenzie

  15. I think this a fabulous idea that I am going to share with my student teachers as way of documenting children”s favorite things to do in school. :-)

  16. I would love to win this Giveaway for the budding Photographer in our home who just happens to be my 18 year-old daughter!

  17. Elizabeth says:

    What a wonderful giveaway!

  18. jessica says:

    i love photography!

  19. This is perfect timing as a photographer pal and I are going to take my kids (9 & 6) on photo excursions all summer to teach them the finer points of photography, both digital and film. They’ll love the juggling favorite things idea for sure and a class would be super awesome. Thanks!

  20. This is such a great idea. I can see this kind of activity appealing to so many different age groups! Thanks for the inspiration!

  21. Katherine says:

    I love this — my daughter will enjoy working on the journal idea together. And thank you for the chance to win a spot in the e-course

  22. I have just started getting in to photography myself and bought my first DSLR two months ago, still getting to grips with it but it is all fun.
    Ricky´s latest post: baby bouncer

  23. Thanks for the new idea!

  24. James Wallace says:

    i’d love to take that class

  25. This is great! My daughter is so curious about my camera and really loves to try photography when she can.

  26. This class sounds like fun! I would love to win this!

  27. My daughter has a camera that takes pretty good pictures now. She mostly loves looking at the albums I have done with her pictures in it. She loves looking at the ones of her as a baby.

  28. Melinda says:

    Very cool. My 12 year old would enjoy this.

  29. What a wonderful giveaway!

  30. Vicki Barnes says:

    This looks like something my kids would love. My oldest has a camera from Christmas and her brothers are always asking me if they can take pictures with my phone camera or digital camera. They love taking pictures just like I do!

  31. hi mariah, i am a homeschool mom of 4. love the juggling idea. interested int he ecourse as well. thanks for sharing.

  32. Amy Wick says:

    Wow, what a great idea! The ecourse sounds fantastic!

  33. Jennifer Radtke says:

    Love this idea. My eldest loves photography and journaling. This is going to make for a fun summer. So excited to see what my girls are going to create this summer.

  34. I would love to win a spot! My kids are picking up on my love of photography, too. :-)
    Amy in Ca

  35. Holly H says:

    Sounds like a great course!

  36. My daughter is loving her new camera is hoping to enter some of her photos in the local fair. This is right up her alley! This would be wonderful way to enhance her writing, art and photography skills while having a blast! Thanks for this giveaway opportunity!


  37. Kelly Z says:

    What a great course, my daughter would just love it. This would be a great opportunity to open up her creative spirit.

  38. amy ashley-raher says:

    My kids would love this class, thanks for the chance!

  39. what a cool idea! my son would love this project!

  40. What a wonderful giveaway. Thanks :)

  41. This looks super fun!!

  42. bananasandrice says:

    This looks super fun!

  43. I would loooove to do another course with you!
    Catherine´s latest post: Thrift Store Tuesday

  44. That sounds like so much fun! My girls would love this.

  45. What a wonderful idea! I can’t wait to try this.

  46. I’d love to have a spot in the e-course and will be trying out the juggling photo journaling idea with my two kids soon!

  47. Monique says:

    What a fun idea, Mariah! My husband’s older children used to do this all the time and came up with some REALLY creative ideas. Our children love to take photos and this will be a great way for them to further their visual creativity using their photos. Once, again…thanks for your inspirations!

  48. Ellen S says:

    What a fun idea, I think I’m going to do this with my two girls over the summer. Thanks for the inspiration!

  49. This is a very cool idea! And the photography course looks fantastic!
    Stacie´s latest post: April 2011 Update

  50. I’m not sure if we would let our kids play with our camera, but we have an older one they could probably use for here, which would give us another “activity” to pull out on those long, loooong days.