Next time you’re in a wildlife rich environment (a duck park, a zoo or in the bush), don’t be afraid to give your child a camera. When a child has control of their own camera, they focus on details of the animal you wouldn’t expect. It’s not only a great learning experience for your child, but also for you.
Before giving your child a camera:
- Show them the camera and discuss what it does
- Remind your child to be careful with the camera or it will break. The Fujifilm camera has a little bar so that we could tie a ribbon to it. To keep the camera safe, I secured the camera around Miss Possum’s neck.
- Point out some of the simple features that they will need to take photos. If they’ve grasped the simple points encourage them to try the zoom.
- Turn the flash off. Animals don’t generally like the flash and without the flash on, your child has more opportunity to get close without worrying about flashing animals in the eyes.
While they have the camera:
- Let your child have complete control of the camera’s use. Let them take photos of whatever they fancy, rather than trying to guide them towards particular objects.
- Ask them questions – why did you take that photo? What animal are you taking a photo of now?
- You can make suggestions based on your child’s interest. ‘If you like its fur maybe you could try and get a closer shot’.
- Be mindful about the behaviour of animals while your child is taking photos. If the animal is getting agitated, you will need to step in immediately.
It took Miss Possum a little bit to get use to the camera but it didn’t take long for her to become snap happy. She loves that it’s her very own.
All the photos on this post (except the picture of her taking photos) are hers. By looking at the photos she took, I could see the animals from her level and talk about the animals from her point of view.
As a parent, I loved looking back at her photos because I saw the animals she was really interested in. Just knowing that information led me to a heap of activities we could pursue at home like:
- Creating a poster with all the photos she took
- Looking at each photo together and discussing what was in it, what the animals were doing in the photo and why she took it
- Learning about professional wildlife photographers and looking at and discussing their photos of wildlife and nature.