With summer right around the corner, kids will soon be out of school for a couple of months. This can be a great time to get them engaged with photography while having a lot of fun!

If the thought of handing your expensive camera over to your young children makes you feel a little queasy, don’t worry. All of the challenges below can be completed with cell phones or tablets if needed. The point is just to get kids out having fun with photography. Below are five ideas to get your children out snapping photos this summer.

1. Photo scavenger hunt

Create a list of subjects for your kids to find and take photos of. Depending on the list, this activity can take an hour, a weekend or the entire summer! Print it out and let them check off items as they photograph them.

On a camping trip? Make a camping themed scavenger list of things like pine cones, birds, insects, marshmallows and activities like swimming or running.

Sticking closer to home? Think about things your kids can find around the house or neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to get a bit more abstract with it by including things like emotions, shapes or colors in order to boost their creativity. 

Try having your kids look for specific plants or colors on their scavenger hunt.

2. Light painting

If you have a tripod or can prop up your camera, light painting can be something that gets kids super excited about photography. If you’re out camping or just in your backyard at night, set a long exposure and get the kids to create images in front of the lens.

Glow sticks and sparklers are perfect props for these types of photos, but fun can also be had with flashlights and headlamps. Get them to experiment with different movement patterns to see what they can come up with!

This image was made by waving some glow sticks in front of the lens during a long exposure at night.

3. Daily photo challenge

If they’re into it, having your child take at least one photo every day over the summer is another great challenge. Not only will they end up with a collection of images that tell the story of their summer, but it’s a great way to keep them engaged with photography without having to put too much time into it.

At the end of the summer, go to a site like Shutterstock and let them make a photo book filled with all of their summer memories.

Documenting the people and places visited through the summer makes for great memories and practice with the camera.

4. Theme challenges

Give your kids different themed challenges when they feel like being creative with their cameras. Colors, reflections, shadows, food, people, bug’s eye view, letters and shapes are all different ideas you can present them with. The possibilities are endless with this type of creative challenge! 

Given the challenge to capture circles, this image was taken of a laundry basket at home.

5. Toy fun

Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal or toy? Have them create photos incorporating their main subject doing different activities or visiting different places. Take Barbie to the beach, or Squiggles the bear out for ice cream and have them create a story of images around them doing human activities. This can be a great project that gets the giggles going while also prompting your kids to think creatively. 

Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

Whatever photography challenge you try with your kids this summer, remember that it’s all about having fun and learning along the way. They might not want to hear about compositional rules or f-stops, but having them think creatively while doing something they enjoy is a great way to introduce them to the world of photography.