Give a kid a camera

Jun 12, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. ET

Your family is well-documented. Your camera (or camera phone) is out all the time and you have some great shots of your kids’ posed and unposed moments. But do you have the whole picture? What about life from your kids’ point of view? How do they see things differently? Give a kid a camera and find out!

More than a few moms have taken the time to learn techniques for taking better family photos. A great thing, and there are some amazing photos of your kids as a result! But there’s something to be said for letting go of the rules and seeing things from a new point of view. Sometimes the best way to do that — and the best way to fully document your family’s life — is to give a kid a camera and let his creativity free.

Instant results

One of the greatest things about the rise of the digital camera is instant gratification; kids love seeing photos of themselves. What mom hasn’t used her camera phone as a tool to keep a little one occupied? Kids also love taking photos, and not having to wait for film to be developed is a boon! Being able to see a photo as soon as it’s taken is not only exciting, but it helps kids learn — instantaneously — about how trying different things has different results.

No limits

While you might not want to hand over your new high-end DSLR to your toddler, do you have an older point and shoot camera? Or an older smartphone with no service? Something you can hand over and not worry about too much? And memory is cheap, really, and getting cheaper all the time. There’s no reason to put limits on how many photos your child can take. Put a camera in your child’s hands and… let him go.

New creativity

Not only will your child love taking pictures, but you will see your world from a whole new point of view. Literally. With your child’s eye level a couple feet below yours, don’t be surprised if you’re totally surprised by what your little one captures, whether it’s your dog and cat snuggling or dust bunnies under the couch. Your child likely will approach taking photos with total freedom and without self-censorship and restraint. You just never know what will... develop.

What to do with the photos?

So what do you do with all those photos? Don’t just leave them on the memory card. Create a slideshow or album of your child’s photos (all or selected) and he will be so proud to show off his work. Put them on the refrigerator, send them to Grandma, or turn them into gifts. Even if you just put some up on a bulletin board in your child’s room, do something with them.

Giving a kid a camera — even a really young kid — is a great way to see your world from a whole new point of view and promote your child’s creativity. Show him the shutter release, and release him!

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