In today’s world getting kids away from video games, iPads, smartphones and a whole host of other things designed to essentially keep them sedentary is a very difficult thing to do. When we were kids if you wanted entertainment, you had to make it up yourself. You had to go outside and explore. You had to create your own adventure and that was usually done outdoors. We went outside when it was sunny, when it was cold and even when it was raining. Today there simply is no “app” that will substitute for actually going outdoors.
When I try to light a fire under my grandchildren and get them off of the computer or away from the TV, it’s usually met with disgruntled moans and groans. “Aw, Nana, can’t we just finish this game?” My answer is usually “No”. I want them to get outside and explore the things that a virtual world could never replicate. So that got me thinking. If we are in a battle with our kids to leave the technology behind, we might lose that battle. Why not bring a little technology outside with them in the form of a digital camera and win the war!
A camera is, essentially a gateway between technology and environment. I’ve heard the term “hybrid learning”, which is where technology and nature work together to create a new way of thinking. By using the digital camera, or even the camera of their phones it allows your kids to both engage with nature and “play” with the electronics and technology at the same time.
Next time you go RVing with the kids, or grandkids try getting them to explore the outdoors more by challenging them to a photo scavenger hunt. For example, make a list of things that are commonly found in a campsite, or RV park, like flowers, insects, rocks, colors, shapes, people, animals, etc…and have them take a photo of each of the “hunted” items. The the photo possibilities are endless.
Now the camera doesn’t have to be a $2,000 SLR, or anything professional. That’s obvious. A simple point and shoot with automatic focus is good enough. They can still get great pictures without having to be concerned about anything else other than taking the picture. Children will spend a good amount of time composing their pictures in order to get “just the right shot”. The time the spend looking through the viewfinder and the concentration it requires are the special moments that allow kids to experience the minute details of nature in an up-close and personal way.
After they take their pictures, you can sit down with them and help them make a scrapbook of their photos that they can then share with friends and family. Before you they know it, they will have all of their trips and adventures documented and can always revisit those memories by looking at their pictures. Don’t forget to have them put captions of “when, where and what” on them so they can always remember.
Digital photography is a great tool to get our increasingly technologically oriented kids outside to not only discover nature, but also preserve and share those discoveries with their family and friends. If your kids have taken any pictures your like to share, just head over to PPL Motorhomes Facebook page and post them! I know all of our fans would love to see the outdoors through a child’s eyes.