The first pictures your child photographs may look a lot like what you suspect infants see: blurry shots of their own feet in motion or your ear instead of your face. As your child’s photographic skills mature and interest in taking pictures grows, you may see advances in composition, subject matter and enduring value. Formulate camera-centric activities that help guide your child into a lifetime love of recording the scenes around her and the people who populate her world.
Regardless of whether your family's head count includes cats, dogs, birds, lizards, rodents, snakes or horses, your child can explore your pets' worlds through the lens. Suggest that she position the camera at creature's-eye level to see what falls within their universe, exploring the impact that height can make. To help her discover the differences in visual perception, color perception and field of view between human eyes and those of other species, encourage her to do some online research on your home computer, looking for simulations of what other creatures see.
On the road to a family vacation destination, interrupt the "are-we-there-yet" chorus with a digital-camera activity designed to make the sights along the way more interesting. Choose a description of an object and ask your child to photograph each instance of the description she sees. For example, suggest that she count the number of brown cows in the fields along the highway, look for billboards that mention a specific place or spot cars of a particular color. With a Smart Camera in her hands and a tablet device in yours, the two of you can play the game together, or you can admire her photography as she shoots. Bring along enough memory cards to accommodate a big batch of photos.
Plan a scavenger hunt for your next family reunion and ask your child to photograph the objects your searchers must locate. Let her choose some of the items for your scavenging list as well. When the reunion begins and your hunt commences, ask your child to take pictures of the search, and swear her to secrecy as to the locations of the target objects. Just for fun, let an adult relative in on the secret of your child's role in the game, and ask him to try to induce her to spill the beans about an item he pretends he cannot find.
Whether you share your family album in printed form through an ongoing scrapbooking project or amass your digital memories through a computer-based photo archive, you share pictures of your parents, grandparents and other relatives, either at ages too young for her lifetime or from generations before her birth. To involve her in the process of learning about and documenting family history, encourage her to take pictures of family members at reunions, holiday get togethers and other shared events.
Post her pictures in the album with the same importance and photographic credit you give the rest of the images. For a then-and-now take on family members, suggest that she take pictures of her relatives holding pictures of themselves taken in their youth. Feature her images on your HDTV through wireless access, providing a slide show that family members can admire during a reunion.
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