The natural world is something that interests our entire family, so this year we are devoting more time to nature study. At first, nature study can seem a bit overwhelming. As adults, we feel the need to know everything as we set out. We often worry about being able to answer all of the many questions thrown our way. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
This post is sponsored by The Playful Learning Ecademy. They have an amazing Backyard Science Investigation eLesson that will reassure you that you don’t have to be an expert to help your children discover nature. In the eLesson, there is one video for the parent that describes the four stages of exploring nature and gives valuable tips that will help you learn with your child. There are also several videos for children that introduce various nature based activities. My son was captivated by the videos and he was excited to start right away! And as always, this eLesson also includes additional website links, book suggestions, and printables for further investigation.
All of the activities are fantastic, but there is one in particular that we are especially excited about. The “camera game” isn’t something I would have ever thought of, but I quickly fell in love with the concept and plan to do this activity with our nature club soon. This game was also the jumping point for the activity I’m sharing today. My son is 6 years old and he’s really started to take an interest in photography, so he was inspired to head out into nature with our camera.
This is such a simple activity, but it’s one that keeps his attention and interests us both. My son never tires of finding interesting objects to photograph so it was very easy to spend several hours outside traveling where his interests led him. And I’ve noticed that giving him a camera for our nature walks prompts him to look at the small stuff. When he is taking pictures of buildings and other man-made things, he captures “the big picture.” Whereas in nature, he really focuses on the details.
Not all of his pictures turn out, but some are quite good! These are some of the things that interested him on one particular day.
Flowers are some of the easiest things to take pictures of. They are eye catching and relatively immobile (aside from wind!).
Insects are far more tricky to capture in photographs. A lot of the photos he took were blurry, but he did get some gems! By far, the butterfly was the hardest to get. The dragonfly and spider were a bit easier because they weren’t scurrying around.
Photographing animals takes some practice, but is a worthwhile hobby. My son quickly learned that he needed to be as still and quiet as possible. And often, he needed to be quick!
He thoroughly enjoyed exploring nature behind the lens of a camera, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting a glimpse into the world as he sees it. He took hundreds of pictures, and had a ton of fun doing it. This activity really is about the process, and we have hundreds of blurry photos to prove it. But we also have a few beauties that we plan on adding to his very own nature scrapbook.
This activity also served as a perfect way to document our discoveries and remember the many questions that we needed to explore. It allowed him to tune into the world around him and really observe. I can see more nature photography in our future!