When I was about 8 years old, my parents got me a camera for my birthday. It was a big deal. I remember thinking that I must be all grown up now if they trusted me with a camera that used film that had to be developed at a store (gasp!). Of course, all that changed with digital cameras, but that same thrill of taking their very own pictures is just as captivating to my kids.
If you are comfortable with your kids handling your digital camera (or if they have a kid-proof camera of their own), let them take a series of pictures and choose one of them to represent their day. You may also want to have a calendar that they can mark off the days that they take a photo. It’s really interesting to have a stream of daily photos, but it’s not necessary. However many photos they remember to take is fine.
But what to do with all these pictures? Of course they could stand on their own in your .jpg files. Or these photos can serve as more writing prompts for the photojournalist within your child. Or you could encourage your kids to learn to manage them on their own — to evaluate each photo for the best angles and lighting, crop it to style the shot, and then arrange it with other photos in a way that makes sense to them.
Some ideas for organizing your child’s photos are:
1. Print them out and let your kids make a scrapbook with the date and a short description of the photo. Ask them why they took the picture, what was happening at that moment, and how did they feel. I think this is a great option for all ages, but it works particularly well for the younger set.
2. Create a digital scrapbook in iPhoto (if you have a Mac) or even in MS Word. For a Word document, just import the image and then let them type the date and description below. Put a page break between each day and you’ll soon have a long document that they can scroll through. I like this option for my son C, because it gives him a chance to use the computer to create something of his own — not just to play games.
3. Or… if your children are old enough, you could help them set up their own private blog to upload their photos and describe them. A word here: according to the terms of service, you must be at least 13 years old to have a blog hosted on WordPress.com.
Personally, I think this is the fantastic option for a teenager. A private blog can serve as a first step to teaching them how to communicate effectively with interesting writing and great photos, yet it can still be confidential enough to be a diary or journal. Or you can select certain people to view it and leave comments — you just need their email address to send them an invitation.
And if they enjoy blogging as much as you and I do, they’ll have already practiced their skills within a smaller, more limited environment before starting a public blog for Internet consumption. You can find more information on how to set up a private blog on the WordPress Support pages and Forums.
Do your kids like to take their own pictures? How do you organize your little photojournalist’s output?