Every year, on the first Sunday of March in New Zealand we celebrate Children’s Day. Since the start of the tradition in 1999, the goal of the day is to show how important children are in our community. Five focus areas, developed in collaboration by government, communities and businesses aim to highlight the importance and needs of children in society, positive motivation, support of children and their development.
What has this got to do with photography? You may ask. Well, as the saying goes “Teach your kids the love of photography and they will never have time or money for drugs.” Today is a fun day for activities that start new traditions as well as continue old ones.
Kids remember the days they spend with their parents and families, real experiences. So why not integrate photography in all that? Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate Children’s Day and engage kids in photography to brighten up daily routine and broaden their creative horizons. The 7 ideas were originally adapted from Kiwifamilies. We’ve added the use of a camera in kids’ daily lives to help them feel loved, valued, safe, nurtured and respected.
1. Treasure memories & time together. Since you are reading this post, you are likely one of us who carries a camera even if it is on your phone everywhere you go. Whatever you photograph - from snaps to masterpieces - go through your photos with kids regularly. It reminds them of the great moments and experiences they had and gives them immense motivation to plan what they want to do next.
"Free to be" by Serendipity Photography
2. Treasure nature. As we are all about #PhotographyForGood why not use it as a chance to go treasure hunting with your camera – ask your kids to find some tiny things along the way – spider webs, mushrooms, plants and so on, and take photos together. When you are back home look at the photos so they can see how they also contributed to discovery and learning through photography. Another way is to go through photos on our Excio app with your kids and discuss what they see and like. The good thing about our photography community is that our members always try to add a description, so why not use it as a learning tool?
"Fluff and feather" by DionneS
"This Red Billed Seagull Chick was just starting to loose his fluff. They are born with their eyes open, covered with down and are able to walk... his parents were near by keeping an eye on him and feeding him."
3. Treasure creativity. Try to challenge their imagination and creativity by asking them to find (and maybe photograph?) 10 things in red, 10 things with straight lines, 10 different shapes and the list goes on. You can then have their photos printed and do a mini exhibition.
"Kids in lavender" by Zhanna
4. Treasure the art of giving. Take your kids to the nearest park, reserve or festival – ask them to take photos (no matter how good they are!) and then select with your kids some of the best they’ve made and send them out to the organisers/managers of the area or event. The feeling of helping someone and making someone’s day brighter is always one of the most rewarding.
"Cotton-top tamarins" by Toya Heatley
"Three cotton-top tamarins in a zoo enclosure looking cute."
5. Treasure Te Reo Māori. Download the Excio app and follow collections of Te Reo plus create your own by uploading words, phrases and even audio files of what is displayed on your photo, pronounced in Te Reo (or any other language – why not?)
"Aroha" by Te Reo
"Aroha (uh-roh-huh)/ love, compassion, tenderness The word aroha is composed of two essential components: the mind or seat of emotions (aro) and the breath of life (ha). It is similar to the Hawaiian word aloha, which also has the basic meanings of love, compassion, peace and mercy. Besides depicting one of life’s most beautiful notions, Aroha is also a popular girls’ name in New Zealand. Remember to always roll your r’s when pronouncing Māori terms."
6. Treasure new traditions. Make it a habit for your kids to take photos (even with your camera) when you go outside. Let them imagine they are photo journalists and need a report ready every Sunday – how their week has been, what they have seen and what it was all about.
"Garage portrait" by Helen Dol
7. Treasure others. Discuss with your child how using photography can help others – you can refer to the examples of our unsung Heroes like Vicky O’Connor and others. How Vicky is doing photography to help kids’ cancer research or how Damon is using photography to help others diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson Disease.