If you are homeschooling a young child, one piece of equipment that can provide hours of fun as well as tremendous developmental and educational benefits, is a digital camera. This could be a camera that just takes still images or one that also has the facility to record video.
It is incredible what developments there have been in the field of digital photography since digital camera technology was first invented forty years ago (which in itself is a pretty amazing fact)!
Cameras for children are now available for little pre-schoolers as young as only two years of age. Of course, these might be regarded as purely an interactive toy but they do take quite good pictures even so and they definitely have developmental benefits for a little child.
Consider the actions needed to take a photograph and you will see that fine motor skills, hand – eye co-ordination and spatial awareness all need to be used in order to capture an image successfully.
For older children in a home school setting (I am talking here about children of the under ten years age group), using a digital camera can help in so many ways. Here is a brief run-down on some ideas.
1. Encourage observation.
In a nature study for example, you could get a child to take a daily image of a plant as it grows from seed sprouting to plant maturity. Use online editing software to arrange the images in a timeline and create captions for the images. This activity helps children to really look at the changes that have happened in the plant between one day and the next and to record their observations. The whole sequence can be played back as a captioned slide–show.
2. Encourage social skills.
Use photographs that a child has taken as part of a show and tell session. Encourage the child to talk about why they chose that picture, what do they feel when they look at it, what do they like most about it – and so on. This is a great way of developing vocabulary too. Asking a child to write about the pictures they have taken or using the images to illustrate a story is also a very valuable experience.
3. Create a movie!
A digital video camera can add another dimension entirely. A child can learn to organize toys, pets, siblings, friends and other family members to be the ‘cast’ of their movie. Creating or telling a story and afterwards learning simple editing techniques to create a finished project that can be shown to family and friends. Most video cameras for children are incredibly easy to use and can often be linked to the family TV so that playback can be enjoyed by everyone.
The three suggestions above are just a tiny fraction of the benefits you and a young child can gain from shared use of a children’s camera. These little gadgets really do enrich the learning experience and the possibilities are only limited by your (and your child’s) imagination.
If you would like to find out more about buying a suitable camera for a child of this age-group, Kids Digital Camera Reviews (.org) is a site which provides advice and information on all aspects of choosing a digital camera for children and the features to look for depending on the age of the child and the budget you have available.