When my children are engaged in an activity, especially something new and thrilling, I am able to capture their true essence.
Below are some activities that offer healthy risks and are not only fun, but also teach motor skills and develop confidence.
Using your own judgment and common sense you can determine what your child is ready for and how much, if any, supervision is required.
Climb a tree
“To climb a tree is for a child to discover a new world” (Froebel, Education of Man 1826)
Climbing trees fosters coordination, strength, curiosity, creative thinking, confidence and much more. By allowing kids to climb trees, we are encouraging them to explore the natural world.
Use different lenses to capture your child among the branches. A wide angle lens can be used to exaggerate the height and environment, a long focal length can be used to capture proud expressions, or try out a creative lens like a Lensbaby to enhance the experience.
Build a fire
While taking all the appropriate precautions and adult supervision, building a campfire can be a great lesson for kids in fire respect and caution. Capture children of all ages gathering the wood, document the building of the frame, and the anticipation of the fire igniting.
While roasting marshmallows, children can help tend to the blaze. S’mores always lends to sticky and joyful images. Don’t forget to practice low light photography as the sun goes down but the fun continues.
Experiment with dry ice
Offer a science club at home that can begin with slime, the disappearing eggshell, elephant toothpaste and enormous amounts of vinegar and baking soda. All of these experiments encourage children to be curious, creative and confident.
A trip to the grocery store for a $10 bag of dry ice can lead to hours of experimenting. Armed with gloves and tongs, you can follow the many ideas Google offers and keep the projects going until the last piece turns into gas.
Preparation is the key to capturing kids experimenting. Collect all of the ingredients ahead of time, clear a large enough area to allow a clean frame, and set your shutter speed to 1/500 to be ready to capture reactions (both faces and experiments).
Cook a meal
Learning to operate the stove, use knives safely, and follow recipes are all life lessons that can be shared with young children. Adding children to the meal prep process definitely requires extra patience and possibly a later dinner time.
The kitchen offers a variety of perspectives, colors, textures, and movement that will spice up your images. Some ideas include using a chair to shoot from above, set your timer and jump in an image, or practice your still art food photography using the final plated meal.
Jump off a cliff
Strong swimmer, deep water, pencil dive, and your child now has an opportunity to make an awesome memory while gaining self confidence. While keeping your own nerves in check, you can capture the steep climb up, the anticipation of the jump, the freefall to the water, or the priceless look when they come up for air.
Kick off your shoes and let the kids run and play outside barefoot. The driveway and playground are great places for young children to build extra protection on their feet while strengthening their lower legs and developing body awareness.
While documenting their free feet, you can also include the environment, favorite toys, new skills they are learning, and don’t forget the dirt!
Sword fight with sticks
Sticks encourage children to use their imagination while playing in the fresh air. Beyond being a sword, a stick can become a fishing pole, a torch, or a life saving device to escape hot lava.
Observe your children playing and anticipate when the right time is to take documentary style images.