Since the rise of the Common Core curriculum in schools across the country, art classes have been taking a backseat to reading and math. And that’s a real shame — art offers kids plenty of learning opportunities and fosters healthy development by teaching motor skills and descriptive speech.
On top of that, PBS cites an Americans for Arts study showing that art education bolsters critical and creative thinking, problem solving skills, and overall academic achievement. In short, I’d say it’s pretty crucial.
According to Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University, “Parents need to be aware that children learn a lot more from graphic sources now than in the past.”
If you’re looking for a great opportunity to give some visual education while spending time with your little artist, taking up photography with your child might be your answer, as inhabiots emphasizes.
Hit the BooksBecause the art of photography may be foreign to your youngster, a great entry point is through reading. Look for a book that focuses on a capturable topic: if your kid is an animal lover like I was (and still am!), then pick up a book on animals, making sure it has lots of pictures.
From there, guide your child through the photographs and have them envision taking similar pictures for a sense of what’s to come.
A photography class geared towards kids also gives them a nifty introduction to the artform. Find a children’s photography class or one you can take together, and invite friends and siblings to really make it a social event! Once they’ve got a solid grasp on the basics of photography, your kid will be raring to pick up a camera.
Find a Camera
Luckily, camera phones have made it possible for anyone to take a picture — including children. While iPhones are convenient, I think photography feels more like an artform when you use a good old point-and-shoot, whether it’s an older polaroid camera, or a newer digital one.
Plus, a big physical object will be more fun for your child. To amp up the excitement, give the camera as a gift — after all, who doesn’t like a surprise?
Photo OpportunityGet your kid’s creative juices flowing by encouraging them to set up a still-life or tableau that they can later capture. Present them with options: they can arrange stuffed animals, toys, family members, pets, or food however they like — let ’em go wild.
Setting your kids on a photo adventure within your home or backyard will also spark their excitement to snap pictures. Remind them to take a photo of anything that catches their eye. It’ll be fun to see what they drum up without your supervision.
Get Out of the HouseNow that your child possesses a basic understanding of the camera functions, it’s time for an excursion. Plan a fun day trip to the zoo, the park, the beach, or anywhere you and your family love to visit. Once you’re out of the house, encourage your kid to really explore their interests.
The new environment should inspire them, especially if they’re helping to decide where your family goes. As a kid, I probably would’ve requested a volcano, so be aware that not all your tyke’s suggestions will be totally helpful.
Spread the Word
Now that you have a wee photographer on your hands, share their work to make it clear to them how much it matters to you. A great way to commemorate your budding artist’s foray into photography is with a photo book from AdoramaPix. Their lay-flat designs make it super-easy for kids to enjoy, with each turn of the page revealing another big, colorful piece of their own work.
The incredibly vivid, sharp look of each photo their printing experts send your way is sure to make a BIG impression on your little one. The sooner you show your child how much they can do with a camera, the surer they are to stick to their creative habits as they go through life.