What can you do with your digital photos? You can do a lot. Print them professionally for traditional photo albums, dress them up with frames and save them in a scrapbook, or try a neat project that lets you go beyond what you’d normally see in a picture.
With all the websites online, there are resources galore to help you play with your photos. The tricky part is finding projects that you can do at home with the kids. There’s a lot to learn from photo projects – beyond spending some serious quality time with your kids, you can learn together about technology, photography, and a variety of other “subjects” that expand on what they learn in school.
Even if you don’t have any children, these are some neat projects to play with!
Five Best Photo Projects for Kids
1. Visual Dictionary
Provided by Adobe Digital Kids Club, this project is fun and creative. All that you’ll need is a good dictionary – you can even look up words for free at www.dictionary.com – and a digital camera. From there, you and your child work together to create a visual illustration of random words from the dictionary.
The project as it’s presented by Adobe suggests using an old dictionary that can be torn apart and images from free online sources, but it can be much more fun to look up a word online and take a walk to find images around your neighborhood, in the park, or in town that illustrate the word’s meaning.
Something that might be fun to do (depending on how many children you have and how much time you want to dedicate to the project) is create a “real” dictionary from the entries your kids make. This will help them learn alphabetical order, and ends up with a printed project that everyone can enjoy – and use! Print the entries right from your computer or place them in a Word document and have them printed from a low-cost Print-On-Demand publisher.
2. Make a Movie
The more that technology advances, the less we will see the traditional format of cartoon illustration. Most of the animated cartoons and films we see today were created on a computer – but how many adults have forgotten the cool flip-books that made a series of drawings come to life?
One thing about technology that’s great is that it lets the average-joe do things that weren’t easily possible before. It would have been laughable to think that someone was going to teach their child about animation using a frame-by-frame technique. Now, it’s not so laughable.
You can make a movie using still images taken from your digital camera. Sit down with your child and use something as simple as an action figure to create a series of images that will “move” when animated. Then, grab the free demo of Boinx iStopMotion to do the dirty work of taking a still image and making it come to life.
Check out their website for tips on making clay figures that can be animated using the same process – claymation made easy!
3. Jigsaw a Masterpiece
I don’t know of a single kid that doesn’t love a jigsaw puzzle … and most adults, too! With another you-couldn’t-do-this-without-technology product, Puzzle Clonzz has created blank jigsaw puzzles that you can print right from your computer.
Try taking a look at the jigsaw puzzles for sale at a local store and pick out a couple that you and your child like. Talk about what makes the photo on the puzzle so nice – and then decide how you might be able to take a photo that looks just as great. Go on a hike or take a walk at the lake or beach and start snapping digital shots.
To make a photo look even better, try checking out some Photoshop tutorials. Then print the puzzle out and have fun taking it apart … just to put it back together!
Portraits of your children make great gifts when printed on puzzles, too. Since Puzzle Clonzz sells their blank puzzles in packs of 8 or 24, it’s easy to create a quick gift for everyone on your holiday list.
4. Create a Family Tree
I recently saw a photo family tree and have been stuck on the idea ever since. Basically, this works like a traditional family tree – starting with the child, the first “branch” lists mom and dad … the next branch mom and dad’s parents, and so on.
Instead of just using text, though, this family tree was done up in pictures. Framed in a large format, the family tree branched from a newly born child all the way through great-great grandparents by using some old photos.
5. Photo Dolls
Have you noticed how hard it is to find paper dolls anymore? I’m not sure if it’s because the fashion doll is so popular or because kids can play “paper” dolls with magnets now, but it’s a nostalgic thing that I miss.
This idea is something my daughter has become a pro with. First, she takes a picture of a doll, a person, or an animal (hey, it’s her doll, I let her do what she wants). Then we print the “doll” out and carefully trim around its edges. Using a stick glue, we mount the cut-out on felt to keep it from tearing as easily. Using this under regular computer paper, my daughter then draws fashions that she can wrap around her photo doll.