Melissa Gaston: Find The Light


Family Fun: Alphabet Photography Scavenger Hunts for Kids

They’re Never Too Young to Learn Photography

Family Day is coming up and if you live in an area that’s been plagued by the never-ending polar vortex, your kids are probably as squirrelly as mine. Are you (like us) running out of ideas on how to keep them entertained? Why not teach them about photography? You’d be surprised how much they love it and how creative their pictures can be.

I know what you’re thinking: I can’t possibly let my kids use my camera. What if they drop it? What if they put their fingers on the lens? What if they break it?

I’ve discovered that, if you sit down and have a conversation with your kids, explain how the camera works and talk about the importance of being careful, kids understand. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t leave my 3-year-old unsupervised with any camera (except for the indestructible kid version), but my 5-year-old is very responsible with the point-and-shoot. Still uncomfortable? You can always hold the camera while they click the shutter.

So now that they’re hooked on photography, what do you do? Photo scavenger hunts are a fun way to get kids into taking pictures, since it provides them with suggestions for subjects.

My smallest one has no interest whatsoever in learning her letters at the moment and she refuses to work on anything that resembles letters. A fun (and sneaky) way to help her learn her letters AND spark her interest in photography is to create a scavenger hunt based on the ABCs! It’s simple: have your child find an object (around the house or outside) for each letter of the alphabet, and let them (help you) take the picture.

Upload the photos to your computer, and using Photoshop, Word, or PicMonkey (which is a free online service) you can add text directly to those photos before printing them out, like this: 

To finish the project off, I usually put two pictures on a page of letter-sized paper in Word (use the Insert>Photo command from the menu) and then print them out on regular paper. (Kids never notice the quality difference and you'll save on photo paper and ink if you print in draft mode.) Cut the pages in half, add a blank piece to the front, and staple on the left hand side. Let them decorate the cover and they now have their own book of letters!

Photo scavenger hunts can be an inside or an outside activity. You can pick a theme of colours or numbers, seasonal or holiday-related. They’re not just for the preschool and kindergarten set, either.

For older children, think about one-word prompts such as, “bright” or “sweet” and see where their imagination takes them; you might be pleasantly surprised.