The kids are out of school for a little while, the weather is nice, and it's time to get out of the house. Taking walks with our preschoolers can be challenging, though, with their sometimes lagging attention and lack of focus. Here's a solution: photo safaris! Preschoolers love to have a task, a purpose to their actions, and photo safaris will keep them motivated and excited to tour your neighborhood, your local parks or any other fun destination.
There are so many different types of photo safaris you can have. For example, you may decide to take a picture of every neighborhood cat or dog you see, compiling an amazing catalog of your local friends. You can turn the safari into a hunt of sorts, searching for a certain type of flower, for something shiny or for a kind of creature (bird? squirrel? ladybug?)
Photo safaris can also be great learning tools for preschoolers. At their age, they are usually ready to begin grouping, comparing and ranking objects. You can therefore take pictures of a group of something, such as your neighborhood trees, and then have your child put them in order from smallest to largest. You can also take pictures of random objects (cars, plants, yard decorations) and then work with your child to group them according to shape, color, or type.
Photo safaris can also help your children learn more about their local environment. You can take pictures of plants, animals and bugs, and then work together to identify them. After learning what these items are, your child will begin to notice them again and again, solidifying their learning. Photo safaris can also be great on car trips, helping children pass the time by looking out for the biggest truck or the prettiest field, and the final product will help them remember their experiences.
If you're new to the neighborhood, photo safaris can also be a great tool to get to know your neighbors better; if they are out in their yard, you may want to ask if your child can take their picture, giving you a chance to introduce yourself and your family.
Now, what will you need? If you want to buy your child something special and lasting, there are kid-friendly digital cameras that are sturdy enough to be dropped by little hands. They also provide the joy of instant gratification. Fisher Price makes one for about $35 that will give your child the chance to immediately see his or her handiwork, and will, in the long run, save you money on photo processing! If you're not ready for a big purchase, you can be the photographer-in-charge with your own camera, or you can buy a simple disposable camera or two for your child to cart around.
Then, you and your child can work together to mount the pictures on paper, poster board or covered cardboard. This will give your child a chance to create their own personal gallery. You can also put together a photo show on your computer. The completed work will give your child a sense of satisfaction and they'll be proud to show it off to their friends and relatives.
Your children may love photo safaris so much, they'll never want to put the camera down! Now, get out there and have some fun!
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