7 Photography Related Activities for Kids While Stuck at Home

With both parents and children stuck at home these days, there’s definitely an uptick in the need for creative and educational distractions for the kiddos. If you are looking to diversify the subject matter and activity type your kids are getting into these days, here is my list of photography-related kid activity ideas. They are all pretty easy to set up and are a perfect way of masking learning about light and color through something fun!

baby in front of window

1. Finding the Light

This is a technique that every photographer has learned to play with over the years and can be really fun.

For this activity, have the kids experiment taking photos of each other under different lighting conditions. What do they look like sitting next to the window, what about in front of the window, then with overhead lights straight above them, then with a lamp that points directional at them.

Have them look at the photos to see if they can see difference in the color of the light hitting their face or their clothes. Which is their favorite lighting setup and why? Above the light is coming mostly from the window at the back, but if you look close enough you might also see the subtle glow from the TV screen lighting a bit of the front of the face.

dinosaur toys in yard

2. Mini Movie Sets

This one works a little better with a younger crew, in part because they have the perfect size toys for this one. In any case for this activity, have the kiddos gather action figures, small toy animals and/or cars, little lego people, etc., or have them make some little figures out of clay. Next they’ll want to prepare is a mini background. These can be drawn or cut out of a magazine, or just set up using objects or plants around the home. Then have the kids put together a mini scene and have them take a photo.

Take a look at the image together. Does it look right? Does there need to be more leaves in the background? A light on one of the characters? Do we need to tie a thin piece of thread to the action figure to make it look like it’s flying?

It might turn into a good conversation piece while watching your next family Netflix movie together of what elements make up the scenes in actual movies.

front of sunprint kit pack

3. Sun Print Art

This activity is the only one that really requires a purchase of some sort. I’m not sure how common this was for other people my age growing up, but I used to love making sun prints. A sun print uses special paper that is sensitive to light/the sun (just like photographic film is) to create fun art.

Basically you put different objects with interesting shadow patterns on the paper, expose it to the sun for a few minutes and then “fix” it in water. It’s super easy and definitely gets the creative juices going once kids start testing out the shadows made by different objects.

By doing a quick search, I found one type of sun print kit on Amazon but there a plenty of different kinds.

comparison of same spot in a yard two different times of day

4. Monet Time-of-Day Color Series

From 1892 through 1894, the painter Claude Monet rented a place across the Rouen Cathedral in France and painted more than 30 canvases depicting it at different times of day and different times of year. He did this series in part to explore how different types of light can influence the color of something. The color of the cathedral was different at noon from around sunset, as well as in summer months from winter months.

Luckily you and your kiddos don’t have to wait years to accomplish the same. Have you kids find something around the house or apartment that is lit by sunlight and take the same photo of it several times of day (like morning, noon, and evening). A photo out a window would work as well. Then once you have all the images, have them compare the differences. Can they see different colors in the shadows or in the bright spots? Do certain times of day wash out the color of the scene, while other times of day the colors are more vibrant? It’s a wonderfully easy mini study on light and color.

little girl dressed up at batman

5. Homemade Photo Booth

Who doesn’t love a photo booth?! No need to wait for someone to hire one for a party, make your own. Have the kids figure what kind of backdrop they want to use – a curtain with paper hearts on it, a sheet with stripes, a blanket with texture – and then have them find or make different props to use for the photos. The image above was just a piece of black fabric stretched out across a grey wall.

Once everything is made and put together, take turns striking a pose while someone else takes photos on a cellphone. At the end, compare photos to see who got the most creative!

shadow of the letter C

6. Letter or Word Hunt

For this activity, give the kiddos a letter or word and then have them go around the home with a cell phone looking for objects that look like the letters they are looking for.

portraits of father and son wearing same shirt

7. Family Resemblance

This activity might be my favorite so I saved the best for last. It is a really fun way of having siblings find similarities between each other or each other and their parents. Find a comfortable place to sit and each person in the family takes a turn getting their photo taken straight from the front, and then from the side.

What facial features can the kids find that are similar with each family member? Which ones are different? Try making different faces..smiling, frowning, silly face, laughing…and see if any more similarities show up. This ends up being even more fun if you get cousins or grandparents involved so one nice way to include them would be to have them email or text message or video call at some point and have them make the same faces for comparison.

Above are my brother (in his early 20s) and my dad (in his early 50s) replicating this activity some time ago with their “serious face.” Super crazy resemblance, right?! Wearing the same shirt for it for this one I think really made the similarities pop. It might be time for an update to see how their faces compare these days.

Hope you enjoyed these ideas. Comment below if you and your kiddos end up trying any of them out!