It’s not just about the pictures
It might feel like you’re just snapping and chatting, but the camera is a catalyst for some really fundamental skills that are valuable to all children. When you realise what can come from a simple photo walk, it’s actually a very powerful tool in the parental armoury
- Communications: Talking about what they’re seeing and explaining it using their speech and language skills.
- Social: Being able to take turns with the camera and sharing.
- Numeracy: Counting what you see and looking at shapes and colours.
- Observation: Noticing and talking about the things they discover, recognising differences.
“There’s a sense of power,” Georgina adds. “In feeling responsible for the camera. You put it around a child when they go for a walk and they feel massively empowered.” Photography can also support that empowerment in other ways. For example, if a child is feeling anxious about a journey – maybe they are returning to school or you’re planning a visit that’s out of their comfort zone – following the route together in advance with your camera can create a sense of familiarity and connection, which may in turn ease some fears.
It’s easy to forget when you’re in the middle of creeping up on a bird or snapping a fun poster you’ve seen on a wall, that you’re creating something that can take on a life of its own. The photos you take together can be shared with friends and family by email or printed off as extra special mementoes like calendars or mugs (what grandma doesn’t want to receive a home-made gift?). You can use them to tell stories or start a scrapbook. Again, this isn’t just frivolous fun (but there’s nothing wrong with that!), there are also aspects of extended activities that can again take in memory, language, literacy, social and communications skills. “I’ve got photobooks stacked on the bookshelf and there’s no reason why children can’t do the same. They can also take them into school for show and tell.”