Photo Safari

When my children were really small, I didn't have money to send them off to camp, but I felt like I really wanted to entertain them and introduce them to the world in a different way. So I took them on what I called "photographic safaris".

What I would do is buy disposable cameras which were pretty cheap and very available. I would write down a lot of different ideas of things to take pictures of and put them in a jar and everybody would pick from the jar. For example, one day you might just take pictures of sneakers, or of things that are red, or of church steeples with crosses, or trees that aren't green, just so they could look at the world in a different way. I took them to the aquarium once, and told them to take pictures only of birds, so they were really observing everything around them. The children loved it and thought it was so much fun.

I would tell them when we left the house that we were going to do this from noon until 4:00 or all day with an hour break for lunch. Then we would finish up about 4:00 and go somewhere that we could get the photographs developed right away at one of those one hour photo places. We would go home and it would be fun; we'd show dad; and we'd put the pictures in different books. Sometimes I would ask them to write a story about the things they took pictures of that day.

You could use this in so many ways to get a lot of different learning experiences out of it. We had lots of conversations and lots of fun. It was a really good way to have them be together and not get on each others nerves and for them to be with me and talking about things in different ways.