Summer Fun: 4 Photography Project Ideas
Kids are awesome, smart and amazing. They look at the world with curiosity and wonder. Each has a refreshing way to put a personal stamp on anything that crosses his or her path. Encourage that passion to explore and interpret by putting a digital camera into the mix.
Photography enables kids to capture their experiences as they see things. Photography may also open eyes to some sights and moments they would not normally view. This summer, kick the creative wheels in motion for your kids by downloading and sharing one or all four of our photo projects. Each project will put big ideas and little fingers to work.
Photo Scavenger Hunt: Super Fun, Just Add Camera
This is a super easy, super simple thing to do with one or more children. Have several participants? Break the group into teams and make it a photo challenge. Start by creating a list of objects for the children to locate and photograph. Depending upon the age group, include easy-to-locate objects or thematic items (for example things that have the color red somewhere) or maybe even solve-a-riddle objects.
If the kids are really grooving to making photos and want to learn about how the camera works, now’s the time. Encourage them to experiment with dials and settings. Show how to use an in-camera effect or how to use Sport mode so that a fast moving subject, like a bird at the zoo, is more sharply in focus.
The beauty of a photo scavenger challenge is that it can be done just about anywhere—at home, a grocery store, on summer vacation, from the back seat of a car. Make it brother versus sister, parents versus kids, camp team A versus camp team B, or just one child ticking off all list items.
What you’ll need:
- A Nikon digital camera for each player or team, plus memory cards
- A scavenger list (with items they should locate and photograph)
- A stopwatch or clock (if you are doing a timed challenge)
- A tablet or laptop computer to review the images
Make Little Look Big: Size and Perspective Play
This photo-taking project teaches children how to look for and create their own optical illusion imagery using a camera and things they see in the world around them. It’s part art and part perspective play.
You’ve probably seen examples of perspective play photography—the outstretched palm that appears to have a tiny person standing on it, a tiny toy truck that looks massive even though it’s only a few inches tall. Images like these are created by lining up subjects into very specific spots, then positioning the camera so that it captures what appears to be an optical illusion.
For this project you will need small objects, such as toys or kitchen objects. Have the kids photograph these objects close-up in a way that frames the object into a “real” environment, but one that makes it look immense. This project is a bit more complicated, so start by showing kids a few example images. It may help if you prepped the set-up, then let them hit the shutter.
What you’ll need:
- A Nikon digital camera for each child, plus memory cards
- Small everyday items
- Suitable environment
- Lots of imagination
Telling the Whole Story: Make a Photo Book Journal or a Photo Collage
Here are two long term summer projects that can span the entire summer, a family vacation, camp time or more; both combine photography with storytelling. The photo book can include writing and digital layout tasks. The photo collage is less complicated, but just as fun.
The photo book journal project will keep kids busy recording daily activities that are important to them. They can take photos and include captions or short stories. We suggest maintaining a production routine that dedicates a little time each night for building photo book pages. This schedule will keep ‘em busy and enthused. It may also prevent book creation-overwhelm at the end of summer.
Photo collages are a lot of fun to create. They are also easier to put together. Create one collage poster each month. Or encourage kids to chronicle important moments all summer long to keep ‘em snapping photos with a mission.
Get started on a photo journal or photo collage right now! It’s going to be a long summer. The reward will be a printed photo keepsake book or a poster-size photo collage to have forever.
Start with a theme such as:
- What I did all summer long
- I love to cook—my favorite recipes and how I share them
- Rover and me—the secret life of our dog
- My summer at the lake
Kids in Motion: Make a Mini Stop-Action Movie
These days it’s surprisingly simple to make a motion film. Let kids be a movie director when they film their own short stop motion production. This is an educational process that’s fun, creative and truly rewarding since they can share the final cut with family and friends.
The stop motion technique has been used in Hollywood since the early days of film. Help young directors fashion a stop motion short film that looks as if inanimate objects are coming to life. Whether it’s a soup ladle and wooden bowl, or a host of stuffed toys, we want to see it! Give your mini producers a sketch pad and set them down to map out a plot.
What you’ll need:
- Nikon digital camera, plus a memory card
- Moviemaker software and computer
- Toys and odds and ends
- Art supplies to make fun backgrounds
- A storyline
We outline the steps to create the storyline, gather and organize props and movie stars, shoot plus edit, add titles and credits and also add sound.
Beat the summer-time blues with fun, educational and memorable photo’s and videos. Photographic inspiration is all around you, just take a moment to see and share. Have a great summer!