The parent's view
Over the past nine years, since becoming a parent, I’ve often turned to photography as a means of both connection and escape. I’ve taken my camera to playgrounds and parks, holidays and hospitals, documenting the big milestones and the small details of my children’s lives to save and share. Amongst the busyness of work and parenting, I find photography a way of self-care: the mindfulness of choosing my subjects and shots, the quiet focus of editing, the joy of sharing my favourites with family and others with a similar passion.
It was a fellow member of my Facebook photography group who suggested a photo ‘scavenger hunt’ as an activity for kids during self-isolation. In that first week at home, when my nine-year-old daughter was sad that she was missing her timetabled art class, I jumped on the idea.
In the downloadable pdfs below, you will find four sample ‘scavenger hunt’ worksheets, that I’ve used with my kids, aged nine and six. In each of activity, I tried to find a balance between choosing themes that would allow the expression of emotions and reflection on the current situation, and ones that would allow for more creativity. Some of the themes include:
- Something I've made myself
- Something that is beautiful
- My silliest face
- My favourite place in the house
The pdfs below are, of course, only a starting point. Please adapt them to what works in your home – we’d also love to hear your ideas for future topics. Please email them to us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I sent my kids out into the backyard with a camera, a clipboard and a worksheet, and found that it took them about 20-30 minutes or so to come back with eight photos they were happy with and were keen to share. The downloadable PowerPoint documents below contain a basic framework for presenting these photos. Working individually with each child, I helped them add their photo to each slide, and then add clipart and apply a design theme to really personalise their presentation. At the end of the day, with much pride and laughter, they presented their picture galleries to each other as well as their grandparents, who were watching on Skype.
This is an activity that my children have asked me to do on a weekly basis – I hope it brings joy to your family too.
Mum and Marketing Manager at the Institute of Positive Education
The wellbeing benefits
Matthew Johnstone, author, illustrator, and Friend of our Institute, writes about the benefits of mindful photography.
Your typical day is neither beautiful not ugly, good nor bad. It’s purely as you see it.
Modern day society is generally about deadlines, ladder climbing, list ticking, friend and family wrangling, social networking, commuting and paying stuff off. All this ‘busy-ness’ can exact a hefty toll on our mental wellbeing and physical health.
Mindfulness, simply put, is a heightened awareness or an act of paying close attention to what we are doing, where we are and what we’re thinking; all without judgement or self-criticism, all with a slow and gentle intention.
In my mind, one of the most wonderful and createive conduits to this often-elusive mind state is photography.
Photography, after all, is all about focusing and capturing the moment.
Photopresent for me is an excited quiet; I am hyper-aware of all that is around me; time slows, my mind and eye sharpen and there is nothing going on other than what is directly in front of me.
Dad, author, illustrator, and Friend of our Institute
Adapted excerpt from Matthew Johnstone's book, Capturing Mindfulness