Capturing Signs of Spring With Cameras

I’m always looking for ways to get my kids outside to get in their 60 minutes a day, also known as a “Green Hour” by the National Wildlife Federation.

Last week, I let each kid use a digital camera to photograph signs of spring and get them walking outside and noticing nature. (6 year old, JJ, used a point and shoot while 9 year old, AJ, got to use my old SLR. As I’ve mentioned before, don’t bother with the kid cameras, they’re terrible!)

Teach Kids Photography

Kids & Cameras - Search for Signs of Spring

I had to laugh because AJ refused to participate saying, “I’m not going, it’s too cold.” When JJ and I left to explore the back yard, AJ followed us and announced, “I’m just going for a minute but only in the back yard. I am not going on the path.” When JJ and I jumped the fence and started exploring the path and surrounding green space, AJ soon followed despite her earlier proclamation. Before long, AJ was running ahead, shouting, “Come on, follow me!”

Truly, kids like AJ require more patience. I always remind myself that I must gently encourage and participate with the girls when we do activities. At least to get them started.

As we walked through the green space, I introduced some new photography concepts like close up, zoom in, and landscape.

Then, for JJ, I tried to make sure she stood still when taking photos. That didn’t always happen but, no biggie since she’s using a digital camera. Delete!

We enjoyed our time outside and even got some beautiful photos. Spring is barely here but we found a few little green plants here and there like this photo of the stream behind our house.

teach kids photography

The next week, I used iPhoto to make a photo book, saved it as a .pdf, and printed it out on plain paper for the girls to write captions or descriptions.

teach kids photography

We got out green hour, discovered signs of spring, and had a blast!

How do you get outside in the spring?

Here are some activity ideas from the NWF for your Green Hour.

Kids & Cameras - Search for Signs of Spring


  1. says

    I love it! I had no idea you were getting your green hour on, too. Yay! Both of my kiddos love using their cameras when we go outside, too. Right now, their favorite outdoor activity is bird watching. We even made a nest a few weeks’ back. I’s so happy spring is here!

  2. says

    Such a fantastic idea. We frequently go on nature walks, but I hadn’t thought to give the kids cameras (okay, they are only 4 and I couldn’t part with my good one). I’m going to rustle up a couple of point ‘n shoots and give this a go.

  3. says

    What a great idea and how nice it is to see signs of spring! I managed to get my daughter out hiking with our dog by bringing along the very same camera that you have on your shots. I had to carry it most of the way, but that’s ok. She had fun shooting our dog in a creek. I need to get a lighter and smaller camera to have on hand that still takes a decent picture.

    I also like the bird watching idea. I need to get a book on birds for NorthEast!! Thanks for the reminder Debi!

  4. says

    Our twins got a digital camera each for their 7th birthday last year…. since then they have been rampant photographers and always asking me for suggestions of what they can shoot. I LOVE this idea… will be sending them out to photograph ‘signs of autumn’ in our coming school holidays!

  5. says

    I found you from hands on as we grow link party. I love this idea and did something very similar with my son in the fall. Once our spring things start growing I hope to go out with the camera again. We made a nice collage with our photos for the playroom.

  6. says

    An awesome way to spend an hour outdoors! I cannot wait for Henry to be a little older to let him go at it with a camera. I can’t wait to see the world from his point of view. (I agree, I think the kid cameras are a waste… I always have an old camera lying around, just like an old phone… and old… whatever!)

    Thanks for linking up both your posts to It’s Playtime this week, I hope to see more of your ideas next Thursday too!

    Jamie @ hands on : as we grow


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