From a very young age, children seem to be fascinated by photographs. Starting from when my kids were babies and I carried them around the house, they both stopped me whenever we reached a photograph hanging on the wall. My 1 year old still does this every day and loves to point at the pictures and call out which ones are "mama" and "dada".
When we look at old vacation photos, my almost 3 year old daughter loves to call out everybody's names and describe what they are doing in the pictures. It helps with her memory, logic and language skills.
Since photographs can be so engaging for young children, I thought it would be fun to come up with some easy DIY activities with family photos that are also educational!
1. Photo Puzzle
You can use a photograph that you already have, or print one out from your computer. If printing out, laminate the photo for durability. Then, depending on your child's age and the size of your photograph, cut it into 6, 9, 12 or 24 pieces and have your child put it back together.
2. Family Photo Matching (Visual Discrimination)
It's so easy to make your own visual discrimination matching activity with family photos - your computer does it all for you! If you use Windows, all you have to do is open up your picture folder, select 9 pictures (you will see why I say 9) that you would like to use, then either right-click and press "print", or find the "print" button located in the folder's toolbar. Once you click "print" you will see various layout options that you can change. The default layout is one large picture per page. If you scroll down you will see more options. The one I used is the "wallet" size layout that prints 9 photos per page. Click "print" again and ta-da! you have a photo sheet with 9 pictures. Then, print a second copy of the same 9 pictures. Laminate both sheets, then cut one into 9 separate photos that your child will match to the first sheet.
If you use Mac OS or if my explanation for Windows was unclear, click here to read some better instructions on how to print the photo sheets and it also has screenshots. Note: There is an option for a page of thumbnails but I thought the pictures came out too small.
3. Photo Sorting Activities
Here are some ideas for sorting categories for family photos:
-sibling vs. sibling
-adult vs. child
-male vs. female
-mom's side vs. dad's side
-location: US vs. overseas, or NJ vs. FL
-events: Easter vs. Thanksgiving vs. Christmas
4. Photo Order Activities
-age: youngest to oldest
-chronological events: the order that events happened (good for vacation photos)
5. Emotion Recognition Activities
Take pictures of yourself or your child expressing different emotions. Print off the photos using the photo sheet method above (#2). You can then do a matching or sorting activity (#2,3) or simply ask the child to describe the emotion expressed in each picture.
6. Photo Labeling Activities
7. Family Tree
Here are some more great ideas from other bloggers:
8. Make your Kids into Interchangeable Blocks by Meaningful Mama
9. How to Make a Flip Book for your Toddler by MomDot
10. Photo Face Collage by Mosswood Connections